Jining Grand Canal Guide: Boat Tours

Enjoy a boat ride on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, “The Grand Canal of Bejing-Hangzhou”, aka the Grand JingHang Canal. Shandong has the oldest section of the canal with 1000 years of history and the views at Weishan Lake and Nanyang Township are matchless 

Cruise along the Weishan Lake with an abundance of lotus flowers surrounding you and you can hear them singing especially in the Spring/Summer time. Grab a seat at the front the boat and pick up a lotus seed if that taste bitter. Funnily, that resembles much like the taste in life.  

If you’re lucky enough, you may just catch a barge (large boat that is tugged by a tiny boat) pass by. This is the magic of the business here. The fact that a barge can connect so many random people together for a common goal in their trade is a real surprise. All helping hands will be stretched when one of their men have an emergency. 

Nanyang Old Town is an ancient town with 2000 years of history. At its peak, during the Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368-1911), the town was ranked among the top 4 along the entire Canal route to make a stop and visit. Historical footprints from the past can be found anywhere here. Today, the town has been preserved and continues to operate as the top “water-town” north of Yangtze River. 

Many historical and cultural treasures developed here. An old saying, “One Nanyang is half a canal’s history” – meaning half of the canal transportation history highlights that from Nanyang. Till today, an estimate of 30 historical landmarks still remain intact in the town. They may appear to have blended with the town architecture, but its unique with sculptures so detailed and beautiful, usually reminds you of the previous prosperous era. Nanyang is also close to nature’s beauty. Large farms, acres of reeds, clear lakes and wild geese, and a water theme park!  

You can practically spend a week and not be tired of it. Just the right kind of break you could use. 

Route: From Jining city center to Nanyang old town. 

Highlight 1: Lotus Flower show 

Spring/Summer is great for canal cruising. The beginning of summer is the best time to watch lotus flowers at Weishan Lake. In the middle of the lake you can hear birds singing in the middle of fully blossomed lotus flowers. If you sit at the front of the boat, pick up a lotus seed to see if it still tastes bitter. If so, it resembles much of the taste in life 


Highlight 2: Barge 

With luck, you will be able to watch a barge passing by. A barge can be as long as a few hundred meters long. The tug boat is usually in the front. 

A barge is connected by random, to our surprise.  Even owners of these boats may not necessarily know each other, but they work together seamlessly within and across different teams. At any emergency, all hands are on deck to assist one another.  


Highlight 3: Nanyang Old Town, a taste of its charms from the best town north of Yangtze River. 

Nanyang Old Town is located in Weishan County with more than 2000 years of history. During the Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368-1911), this town was among the top four along the entire Canal route to visit. See more



Local favorite dishes to try:

An All-Fish Feast

An all-fish banquet is a cannot-miss food in Nanyang. All ingredients are of local produce. Our top choice is the carp with four nostrils. Our local delicacy. Local chefs are quite innovative with a fish feast.

Fish Meatball

Fish meatball is also another treat. Using the silver carp fish, a carp or whitefish, to make the balls. You will find fish balls floating in the soup, a technique requiring lots of practice.

Salted Duck Egg

Duck egg is a popular souvenir. You can find it everywhere. Local ducks are fed fishes from the lake. Find out how it tastes.

Imperial Cake of Emperor Qianlong

Qianlong (Ming Emperor) Cake aka “Nanyang Roasted Cake”. It is a local’s daily food.  No time to complete the fish banquet? Try a pack of roasted cakes to bring home. Do not forget to include a few duck eggs to complement the roast cakes.

Fish Clay Pot

The pot is sealed with mud and broken up to dig the fish out. The fish is fresh and tender and known as top-notch in the Province.  You can find the locals often eating fish with roasted pancakes. What a treat! 

Dried Fish

Aside from duck eggs, dried fish can be found everywhere too, all prepared at dusk. This is a souvenir that people bring home after a visit here. Salted and dried fish are by far the most popular souvenirs that will make your trip unforgettable.

Travel Info 
  • Address: Nanyang township, Weishan County, Jining City, Shandong Province.  
  • Local Cruise: From Jining – Nanyang.   
  • Return trip: Nanyang – Jining. 
  • Departure: Tue, Thur, Sat, Sun.  
  • Ticket: CNY138/person.  Children: CNY118/person  
  • Bus: 102, 303, 25 
  • Tel booking: +13953731251 

Plan Your Trip!

Fill out the following form for a personal recommendation based on your interests.

E-Mail: tours@travelshandong.com

山东省文化和旅游厅 Shandong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism

美国友康科技有限公司 U-Combination Technology (USA) Inc.

Authorized agency for Shandong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism in the U.S.

150 E Swedesford Rd, Suite 101,
Wayne, PA 19087