A boat is almost an essential piece of exploration gear in China. There are just too many navigable waterways in this country for a traveler to ignore.
Eastern China is a patchwork of canals and rivers. Waterways once made up the prime transport network of this country, and they go just about everywhere. The old cities of China are a grid of canals which connect to river systems and beyond. You can readily go from a backstreet to a river and out to the ocean without leaving the water. Even today these canals are still there and they are still in use. Unlike in the United States, China still relies heavily on canal and river transport, and the waterways of this country are full of life, culture, and commerce.
When I first arrived in Jiangsu Taizhou over a year ago I looked at a map of the city and found a canal system that was so complex that it rivaled the street grid. It was clear that I could get just about anywhere by water — I just needed a boat. This problem was solved when I picked up an inflatable boat for $50, and from that point on the canals of that city were opened for travel.
The following video is of a day of canal exploration in the north of Taizhou.
Editor’s note: I left Taizhou some months ago but I did not bring this boat with me. It served me well for a year, but it was a little too big and heavy to carry to my next base of operations. If anybody in Taizhou wants this boat, let me know. For the record, I will definitely be getting inflatable boats wherever I set up camp for a while — the perspective of a place that a boat provides cannot be had any other way.
Get your own inflatable boat
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