Grand Canal Travel Guide
The Grand Canal starts near Beijing and runs south right the way down to Hangzhou in East China. It was started in 486 BC under the Wu Dynasty, spanned two other dynasties of expansion, and can be compared to the Great Wall in its dimensions and splendor.
Such is the Grand Canal’s size; it is as massive as the Panama and Suez canals put together - the world’s second and third largest canals respectively. In addition, as well as passing many provinces and cities in eastern China, the Grand Canal also takes on the Yangtze and the Yellow River. It crosses the Yangtze at Yangzhou.
Traveling on the Grand Canal between cities is a great way to view the landscape and many tourists do just this. Tours on the canal are available between all towns on the maintained sections, where you can see nice scenery and old stone villages at a leisurely pace.
Getting There & Away
If you want to see the northern part, Beijing Capital International Airport is the main gateway, with flights from all over the world. Taxis take an hour to reach the city center. Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport serves the southern part of the canal and receives domestic flights only.