China Maritime Museum

  • Things to Do
  • Museums

197 Shengang Avenue
Centred around a spectacular recreation of one of famous Chinese explorer Zheng He’s ships, this towering museum is filled with model boats, historical shipping relics and even a pirate-themed 4D cinema.

The main route through the museum takes you the major nautical developments in China throughout history, from models of early rafts up to examples of the clothing warn by modern day deep sea explorers. Unsurprisingly, a significant portion of the museum is given over to Zheng He, the Muslim-Hui admiral who commanded voyages throughout southeast Asia and Africa and who was the subject of Gavin Menzies’ controversial 2002 book 1421: The Year China Discovered America, which posited that He visited the continent 70 years before Columbus.

Despite some impressive models and collections, the museum is fairly one way and children may well become bored by the procession of model ships in glass cases. The more ‘interactive’ elements are limited to learning how to tie various naval knots and clambering aboard the central model wooden boat. The 4D cinema, with its badly dubbed slapstick pirate film, also feels a bit tacked on. A 3D simulator, which is made to look like the cabin of a ship and takes you along the Huangpu, sailing past the former Expo site and up to The Bund, is a highlight though.

Overall, there is enough of interest here for a good couple of hours visit. Thankfully the museum, sat beside the man-made Dishui Lake in the Lingang development area of southern Pudong, is now much more accessible since the opening of Line 16. The metro makes the journey much more palatable and it's worth visiting the nearby Crowne Plaza Harbour City Hotel, housed in an impressive building from architecture firm Atkins (also behind Dubai’s Burj al Arab), whilst in the area.

Read Time Out's guide to other things to see and do along Line 16 for further inspiration.
Venue name: China Maritime Museum
Opening hours: 9.30am-4.30pm (last entry 4pm) Tue-Sun
Admission: 50RMB
Metro: Dishuihu
English address: 197 Shengang Avenue, near Huanhu Xi Er Lu, Pudong
Chinese address: 浦东申港大道197号, 近环湖西二路