China’s most famous boat journey is without doubt the three day cruise along the Yangtse River, passing through the spectacular Three Gorges. However if you are looking for a shorter journey on the water then there are plenty of options. Just an hour from the modern skyscrapers of Shanghai is the pretty city of Suzhou. Known as the Venice of China it is possible to follow the ancient canal ways to explore the city. Houses are built right on the waterside giving you the chance to get up close and personal with local life as you travel. Now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site the city of Lijiang is also home to a complex system of canals originally built by the Mu Family of the Southern Song Dynasty. The traditional houses viewed from the canals are a unique combination of ornate stone archways and decorative wooden carvings.
For stunning natural scenery catch the passenger ferry from Guilin to Yangshuo. The landscape is dominated by huge limestone peaks including Nine Horse Hill, where the limestone appears to show a cluster of horses galloping, and the village of Xingping, which is pictured on the Chinese 20 Yuan bank notes. If you fancy getting even closer to the water there is the option to hire a bamboo raft and spend an afternoon floating along the river at your own pace.
Visitors to Hong Kong can make use of the famous Star Ferry, transporting commuters and tourists alike between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.