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Here's What's Going On With That Big Navy Ship On the South Bund

We took a tour on that big retired ship you pass by when running on the Huangpu Riverside Bike Trail.
2024-03-15 12:00:00

You've probably passed by that large navy ship while running or cycling along the Huangpu Riverside Bike Trail wondered what that it. It's called "Yuanwang Yihao" (远望一号)), a retired research ship that was used for space research and satellite tracking until it retired a decade ago in that dock on the South Bund. It's now open to the public, and you can join a guided group tour on the boat and a submarine next to it, which makes for a decent half-day activity with kids or for everyone who's into large ships.

The Story

Yuanwang Yihao was born on August 31, 1977 at the Jiangnan Shipyard here in Shanghai. It was part of China's first-generation of ships built to track and support satellites and later even China's spaceship program. Wikipedia tells us that Yuanwang has a displacement tonnage of around 21,000 tons when fully loaded, with a crew of about 470 and a length of about 190 meters. During its life, it has conducted 30 ocean expeditions and completed 34 major scientific research missions before retiring in November 2011, returning to the original site of the Jiangnan Shipyard's No. 2 dock.

Taking The Tour

Yuanwang Yihao is open to the public for visits from 9am to 5pm daily. Each visit lasts for 1 hour and is guided by a tour guide, in Chinese.

There are 6 sessions available each day, starting at 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 3:00 PM, and 4:00 PM, respectively. 80rmb per ticket, unfortunately there are no discounts for kids.

Is It Worth It?

Sort of. Shanghai lacks weekend activities for families with kids, so a retired research ship isn't the worst way of spending half a day, but it's also not the most interesting way either. It probably really depends on how much you or your kids are into ships.

It's definitely not as interesting as the Aircraft Carrier Out by Zhujiajiao. But there's also worse ways of spending 80 kuai in Shanghai.

You do get decent views of the river, though.

Or You Can Visit A Submarine

Right next to Yuanwang Yihao is a retired submarine, Changcheng 191 Hao, which also can be visited with a separate ticket, also 80rmb. There are seven sessions available for visiting the submarine daily: 9:45am, 10:45am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, and 5pm.

How To Purchase Tickets

Tickets cannot be purchased on-site and must be purchased online in advance.

To visit the Yuanwang Yihao, you can purchase tickets on the WeChat Mini Program "远望1号," while tickets for the Changcheng 191 Hao submarine and the combined ticket can be purchased on the WeChat Mini Program "上海潜艇展览馆."

Additionally, there are two combined ticket options available for both places priced at 120rmb, but only one session is available each day at 10:20am

There's no age limit for kids. You have to enter your passport number when purchasing tickets, but no one checked our passports.

Address and details here.