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Qiantang River Tidal Bore in China

World's biggest tidal wave may easily sweep you into the river, and viewing platforms don't always guarantee your safety

Best time: September 20, 2024

Qiantang River Tidal Bore
Qiantang River Tidal Bore
Qiantang River Tidal Bore
Qiantang River Tidal Bore

The biggest bore tide in the world is 9 meters high, moves 40 km per hour, and crushes 50 meters high in the air. The so-called Silver Dragon appears at Qiantang River, the biggest one in Zhejiang Province, and obviously very sensitive to the Moon activity. It emerges in the Hangzhou Bay and rushes towards the mouth of the river.

For surfers, the Qiantang River Bore Tide must be a true jewel, when other people prefer to view that dramatic spectacle from the viewing platforms, at a safe distance.

Or relatively safe, since it rarely happens that the onlookers go home dry,—most often they are pretty drenched. In worse cases, some slower runners might get swept into the newly-formed turbulent ocean, some are rescued, while others might get lost forever. To prevent similar accidents it's strongly advisable to follow the police's instructions.

Nevertheless, the natural phenomenon draws thousands of people to the shores to watch the spectacle from behind the fences. Tide-viewing tradition has been over 2000 years old, which means people have always marvelled at this dramatic natural wonder.

The most powerful tidal bore occurs on the 18th day of the eighth lunar month, and it reaches its peak on the eighteenth day of that month, that's when Tide-Watching Festival takes place. Up to 170,000 people come to witness the spectacle.

Less tremendous bore tide may be also observed in every other lunar month, namely from its first to the fifth day, and then from the 15th to the 20th day of the lunar month. It all depends on the full moon.

The best locations to view the tidal bore include Lao Yan Cang, Da Que Kou, and Yanguan Tide Watching Scenic Area, all three located nearby.

Practical info

When is the Tide-Watching Festival held at Qiantang River?

The Tide-Watching Festival is held on the eighteenth day of the eighth lunar month, when the bore tide is at its peak. As the most powerful tidal bore of the year, it attracts up to 170,000 visitors who come to witness the natural wonder. Besides, the bore tide can be observed on other days, depending on the full moon, including from the first to the fifth day and the 15th to 20th day of the lunar month. Show more

What are the recommended places to view the tidal bore at Qiantang River?

Recommended viewing points for the tidal bore at Qiantang River include Lao Yan Cang, Da Que Kou, and Yanguan Tide Watching Scenic Area, which are nearby. Every year, thousands of people visit the viewing platforms to watch the largest tidal bore in the world that travels up to 40 km per hour and reaches nine meters high, colliding spectacularly against the river's mouth. Visitors must take precautions, listen to the police's instructions and keep a safe distance when observing the tidal bore. Show more

When can one witness the Qiantang River's bore tide in all its glory?

To witness the Qiantang River's powerful bore tide, the best time is on the eighteenth day of the eighth lunar month when the tidal bore is at its peak. However, the spectacle can be observed throughout the year, depending on the full moon, including from the first to the fifth day and 15th to the 20th day of the lunar month. To avoid accidents and keep safe, visitors need to follow safety guidelines provided by the police and officials and keep a safe distance from the tidal bore's path. Show more

How long have people been watching the tide at Qiantang River?

People have been watching the tide at Qiantang River for over two millennia. The tidal bore is a marvel of nature, and the bore tide, moving at a phenomenal speed of 40 km per hour, brings water up to nine meters high and eventually collides with the river's mouth, creating a spectacular view. To celebrate this natural wonder, the Tide-Watching Festival is held annually on the eighteenth day of the eighth lunar month, marking the peak of the bore tide's power. Show more

What is the primary risk of viewing the Qiantang River's bore tide from the viewing platforms?

The primary risk of viewing the Qiantang River's bore tide from the viewing platforms is getting swept away by the tidal bore's strong currents. The large crowds of visitors don't entirely guarantee safety when viewing the nine meters high tidal bore that rushes at a high speed of 40 km per hour towards the river's mouth, colliding spectacularly, sometimes generating splashes that can wet onlookers. For safety reasons, visitors must follow the instructions from the police and officials, and keep a safe distance when observing the tidal bore. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin