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Boat services within China are limited, especially with the growth of high-speed rail and expressways. They’re most common in coastal areas, where you are likely to use a boat to reach offshore islands such as Pǔtuóshān or Hǎinán, or the islands off Hong Kong. The Yāntái–Dàlián ferry will probably survive because it saves hundreds of kilometres of overland travel, although a super-long undersea tunnel is in on the drawing board.

The best-known river trip is the three-day boat ride along the Yangzi (Cháng Jiāng) from Chóngqìng to Yíchāng. The Lí River (Lí Jiāng) boat trip from Guìlín to Yángshuò is a popular tourist ride.

Hong Kong employs an out-and-out navy of vessels that connects with the territory’s myriad islands, and a number of boats run between the territory and other parts of China, including Macau, Zhūhǎi, Shékǒu (for Shēnzhèn) and Zhōngshān.

Boat tickets can be purchased from passenger ferry terminals or through travel agents.