The Qiantang River Tidal Bore – Hangzhou's Silver Dragon
Qiantang River (钱塘江) is the largest river in Zhejiang Province and is known worldwide for its remarkable natural phenomenon – the Qiantang River Tidal Bore. The north and south margins of Qiantang River is respectively 589 km and 522 km long and passes through Hangzhou Bay (杭州湾) before flowing into the East China Sea (东海). Under the combined effects of the gravitational forces and the rotation of the Earth the tides rush from Hangzhou Bay to the funnel-shaped mouth of Qiantang River and form the majestic tidal bore, the largest of its kind in the world.
The custom of watching the Qiantang River Tidal Bore dates back to as early as the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 8 BC; 25AD - 220 AD) where it flourished well into the Tang and Song Dynasties (618–1279). After two thousand years it has become a significant annual event and renowned as the mighty silver dragon, the Qiantang River Tidal Bore is now as popular with tourists as it is with locals. The best time to view Qiantang River Tidal Bore is around Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival which falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month with the 18th witnessing the largest tidal bore. At this time, the tidal bore can reach up to several meters high where it will thunder past you like a herd of horses. In addition, every month from the first to the fifth day and fifteenth to twentieth day in Chinese lunar calendar, one can also view this spectacular.
There are three types of tidal bore in the Qiantang River: returning tidal bore (回头潮), criss-cross tidal bore (交叉潮) and one-line tidal bore (一线潮).
Returning tidal bore: When high-speed tides are met with an obstacle, the tide crashes against the obstacle and bounces back onto incoming water, composing an almighty scene.
Criss-cross tidal bore: This type of tidal bore is rare and only occurs on calm water with two tidal bores of different directions intersecting. It is also called a south-north tidal bore.
One-line tidal bore: Seen from a distance this tidal bore is like a white line, however when it gets closer the white line turns into a crested-wall of water that can be several meters high and around five kilometers wide.
To get a glimpse of this autumn’s silver dragon then head to the 2015 China International Qiantang River Tidal Bore Watching Festival (Xiaoshan) which will last until late October.
Where to go:
Qiantang River Guanchaocheng (钱塘江观潮城)
Add: Zheshan, Nanyang Town, Xiaoshan District, Hangzhou (杭州市萧山区南阳镇赭山)
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