With an upsurge in the popularity of cruising and the rise of cruise lines in and around China there are more and more tourists visiting cities that were previously considered to be more “off the beaten track,” such as Tianjin and Xiamen. We have gathered all the “must know” information about the various ports of China e.g. the main regulations and what you should be prepared for when you visit:
Tianjin – The Port of Beijing
Contrary to popular belief the city of Beijing has never had its own port, as it sits in the mainland. The port in Tianjin actually services Beijing and has provided that access for more than 400 years. There are a few ways to get from Tianjin to Beijing, but if you are short of time why not stay in Tianjin and explore this interesting city instead? Tianjin has a rich and vibrant history and a colonial past, and offers the opportunity to see a side of China you might know little about.
Top Tip: Tianjin offers the visa-free service for transient passengers (remember only certain nationalities can apply).
If you decide to visit Beijing is a must then you can choose to take a private transfer or go by bullet train. Please note:
Cars with Tianjin plates are not allowed to drive into Beijing, hence if you book a private transfer, the car will have to come all the way from Beijing to pick you up. Therefore, this option is going to be more costly.
There are three train stations in Tianjin, each with bullet trains going to Beijing. But none of these (not even the cruise terminal station), are close to the port. This means you will need to take a taxi or a private transfer.
Top Tip: It is advised to book your train tickets in advance, otherwise you might find yourself waiting for more than an hour at the train station.
There are three terminals in Shanghai, and it’s crucial you check which one you will arrive in – as two of the terminals are a 1.5-2 hours’ drive from down town. The third one is actually on the Bund, which is very convenient for exploring the city without booking a hotel.
Baoshan port – the furthest one of the three is also the largest and most of the 500+ passenger ships will dock there. Commute time to the city will be about 2 hours (dependent on traffic).
Wusongkou port (near Baoshan) – not used quite as much by the cruise lines, but ships might be directed there if Baoshan port is overly busy. Commute time to the city is about 2 hours (dependent on traffic).
International Cruise Terminal – this port is in the downtown area, at the North Bund, facing Shanghai’s skyline. Smaller ships tend to dock here, as the water level in the Huangpu river isn’t as high as in the other ports. If you arrive at the International Cruise Terminal you won’t have to book a hotel in the down town area.
Top Tip: All three ports in Shanghai offer the visa-free services for applicable nationalities.
The International Cruise Terminal in Xiamen is about ten minutes-drive to downtown, but the main destination to visit when in Xiamen is Gulangyu island.
Our Tip: You can travel to Gulangyu by ferry from the same terminal, but you will need to book your tickets in advance.
Travel Tip: If you have more than one day in Xiamen, make sure to visit the Tulous – the Hakka Minority erath houses
Dalian and Guangzhou
Both Dalian and Guangzhou are rarely visited by the cruise liners, but if your itinerary indicates you are making a stop in either one of these cities, make sure you have your China Travel visa prepared in advance. Most ships won’t stop over for more than a day, so no in-land arrangements will be required.
If your cruise stops at Hong Kong you are in luck as no special visas are required. There is so much to see and do in Hong Kong that you will probably want to dedicate two or three full days to check out this wonderful city.
Travel Tip: Need some inspiration on what to see and do in Hong Kong? Read more HERE.
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