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Qiantang Tide Watching

Haining attracts the attention of travelers, owing to the spectacular annual tides that rush up the Qiantang River. Each year, thousands of tourists from around the world flock to Haining to watch the famous tide bore.

When the tide approaches, the sight of its mighty surge has been compared to the sight of ten thousand horses racing side by side across an open plain. The height of this special tidal wave can reach 9 meters. Its earthshaking sound rumbles across the water like muffled thunder, its crushing force eerily reminiscent of that of an avalanche which gains speed as the momentum of its cumulative weight propels it forward.

The scene of the Qiantang River is ever-changing, as is the height of its waters where they empty into Hangzhou Bay. When the frothy tide appears in the distance, it initially looks like a white rainbow, given its natural curvature, rising from a plain. As it surges forward, the tidal bore gains speed. Some of the local observers of this regularly recurring phenomenon even race it in their automobiles during the final stages to see if they can keep abreast of it as it gains speed.

As the tidal bore proceeds up the Qiantang River, the aftermath of the surge remaining in Hangzhou bay continues to make its presence felt. The "boiling waters" underneath the surface of the bay, depending on the strength of the tidal bore, can sometimes form a huge circular "ribbon" on the surface of Hangzhou Bay, a sight that is particularly majestic to behold at nighttime.

Best Times to Watch the Tidal Bore

The eighth month of the Chinese lunar year (September in 2014) is the ideal time to watch the tidal bore. You are not recommended to watch the tidal bore in other months as it is not that spectacular. These are estimated times of the tidal bore in 2014:

Sep. 6 Sep. 7 Sep. 8 Sep. 9 Sep. 10 Sep. 11 Sep. 12 Sep. 13 Sep. 14 Sep. 15
10:20 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:30 15:00

You are not recommended to watch the tidal bore on September 11, 2014. Though the 18th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar year (September 11, 2014) is renowned as the best day to watch the tidal bore, it is by far the most popular day with Chinese tourists. Thus you may meet traffic jams and spend 3 hours to get there (it only takes 1 hour ordinarily from Hangzhou).

On days around the 11th the bore will be of a similar height and you will get a better view of it. Arrive early for the best vantage points.

Best Places to Watch the Tidal Bore

Yanguan Town

Yanguan Town, Zheijiang Province, just north of Hangzhou Bay (and some 50 kilometers northeast of the city of Hangzhou), into which the Qiantang River empties, has long been regarded as the best place to watch the Qiantang River Tidal Bore. The annual International Qiantang River Tidal Bore Watching Festival is held in Yanguan Town on the 18th day of the eighth lunar month.

Best viewing spot: Tide Viewing Park (观潮胜地公园 Guanchao Shengdi Gongyuan), 8 km (5 mi) south of Yanguan Town.