Boating on Houhai

Lap up the willow-lined charms of the Houhai Lakes

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With all the bars, cafes and restaurants that have sprung up here in recent years, sometimes the most peaceful place to be around Houhai is on the lakes themselves.

If you don’t fancy swimming, fear not; there are plenty of boating opportunities too. Four or five boat-rental docks are dotted around the two more southerly located of this trio of lakes. They’re easy enough to find, and all run by the same company so prices are uniformed, and clearly marked.

You can get pedal boats, electric boats or even be serenaded around the lakes in a traditional Chinese wooden boat with a musician plucking away at a guzhen (Chinese harp) at one end, while another person rows you across the water from the other. Most people just go for the pedal boats.

Pedal boats are for four to six people and cost ¥80-¥120 per hour. Electric boats are for six to 10 people and cost ¥180-200 per hour. Deposits are ¥300 and ¥600 respectively.

Top Tip: Head first to the Underground Supermarket or Si Huan Food Market and stock up on drinks and snacks for your very own “floating picnic”.

If you fancy something more active, try Golden Sail Boathouse, where you can try your hand at kayaking, or even dragon boating.

There are also a couple of small lakeside parks where you can join the locals for a spot of dancing, some taichi or a game of table tennis.

Qianhai Dongyan

Nearest subway:
Gulou Dajie (1km)

At A Glance

Qianhai Dongyan
pedal ¥80-120 per boat per hr; electric ¥180-200, traditional rowing ¥180
9am-9pm (to midnight in summer)

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