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“Unique museum of China's maritime history”

China Maritime Museum
Ranked #120 of 1,304 things to do in Shanghai
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Fee: Yes
Reviewed 7 November 2017

This large museum is way out on the outskirts of the greater Shanghai metro area near the large artificial Dishui Lake. Fortunately, it is accessible via the city's subway system as the last stop on Line 16, but it'll be a hour long ride through some fairly uninteresting landscape from Shanghai proper. Even when you get to the station, it is another 20 min walk through a fairly mundane commercial district to finally get to the museum with it's distinctive twin sail roof. However, if you are interested in the maritime history of China, it is worth the trip.

Inside the museum there are several galleries covering everything from the basics of ship design (from various bow and stern shapes, props, engines, etc.) through Chinese maritime and naval history. All the items on display have both Chinese and English labels (although the English translations are on occasion somewhat curiously worded). The Hall of Chinese Navigation History on the first floor is perhaps the most interesting gallery as it covers the impact of the ships on the development of Chinese culture, trade, etc. Sadly, the conservation people seem to have won a major battle to keep light levels at the bare minimum to preserve the many fascinating artifacts on display with the result that many are really hard to see. A lot of early Chinese naval history is packed into the last section of this wing - the modern Chinese navy is covered in the Hall of Navy on the second floor through a series of impressive large scale models of various Chinese frigates,guided missile destroyers, etc. There is also a large gallery on what is effectively the Chinese Coast Guard, including its lifesaving/rescue mission, system of lighthouses, etc.

This fall the museum is enhanced by a temporary exhibit on China export artwork from the 18th and 19th century. This covers Chinese porcelain, lacquer work, ivory, silver, etc. made specifically for the export trade during this period. This exhibit is right next to the navigation hall mentioned above and complements it very nicely.

A 4D movie theater and planetarium are also available (although we didn't have time to partake of either of them) as is a small cafe and a couple of gift shops. Unfortunately, the latter is mainly stocked with trinkets with few books (even in Chinese) available to complement the museum's exhibits (e.g., we saw a catalog of the temporary export exhibit displayed at the end of the gallery, but sadly it does not appear to be for sale in either of the gift shops - unfortunately the staff's command of English and our poor command of Chinese prevented us from figuring out how and where a copy could be obtained).

Overall, you can spend an enjoyable couple of hours looking through the museum's collection.

Date of experience: November 2017
2  Thank interceptpubs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (27)
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"the crowne plaza hotel"
in 2 reviews
"beautiful lake"
in 2 reviews
"simulator"
in 2 reviews
"engine"
in 2 reviews
"ships"
in 5 reviews
"navigating"
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"china"
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4 - 8 of 27 reviews

Reviewed 17 May 2017

This museum is a long way from anywhere in Shanghai, but if you are interested in ships or naval history, this place is for you! The centerpiece is the large junk, but there are lots of other historical and contemporary marine/ship exhibits. The museum itself is another of Shanghai's architectural beauties. It's about a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute cab ride from the subway stop (last on the line) but no signs or markings, so keep your map or phone handy. There are some restaurants within a short walking distance towards the lake; not much in the museum itself.

Date of experience: May 2017
Thank Borden1951
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2017

Oh how I wish I had visited on a beautiful blue sky kinda day - but it was blustery and cool and overcast and I totally missed the water view of the building. Nonetheless despite the loss of pictures of the architecture of this building against a blue sky it is the inside exhibits worth the visit. The actual Chinese junk set right in the middle of the museum is a highlight of course - the carved wooden deck is a thing of beauty - but the whole place is full of good displays of all kinds of Chinese boats and shipping and maritime history in general. Plenty of English information including a very nice museum brochure. Lots to keep my 5 year old engaged and entertained. We arrived a little after 2 pm on a Saturday and there was already a sense of ushering people to leave before 4. We stayed the night at the Crowne Plaza hotel nearby (designed by the same architectural firm as the famous Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai), which was a good choice for us as it took about 2 hours from the center of old Shanghai (Portman Ritz Carlton) one way.

Date of experience: April 2017
1  Thank Tamara S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2016

The China Maritime Museum at Dishui Lake is very cool; Excellent actually. There are many exhibitions ranging from ancient relics to modern containerships. There are many, many scale models of ships to enjoy and there also is a full scale replica of a Ming Dynasty merchant junk boat which you can walk on the deck.

You can stroll around just looking or get an audio guided tour which lasts about 2-hours. English descriptions are all about and well done.

Date of experience: August 2016
Thank Billy_Whimwa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 31 July 2016

The Maritime Museum is really GOOD
- range of exhibitions... do not miss the temporary gallery it had nice stuff when I was there today - including Children's Space / Playground and many interactive stations throughout the museum
- FREE boat rides outside by Waterfront Promenade but it gets busy!
- excellent Chinese and English info... except for some computers
- good cheap food at the restaurant
- good (indoor) open space to eat your DYI food
- rates: 60 rmb for adults, 25 for kids, free for toddlers (under a certain height )

Entrance fees:
- 50 RMB for one entry for adults - fine but actually 160 rmb is there good value for year membership!
- ask about membership... if they say 'no' - get them to check / bring forward a English speaker... I asked re membership = they did not understand; I then paid entry; then tried to include my ticket in membership when I found out 'yes' they have it (!!) and misunderstood me; they only relented because I did not back down!
- think there was a baby change

Realities:
- films (2 theaters I think) are expensive and sell out; all in Chinese (normal for China)
- staff have limited English but stye wiling / happy to help you!
- not the easiest of museum layouts ... the 'guide' I found hard to follow but the signage is good and in both Chinese and English!
- keep asking if you cannot find something.. it might have been moved and some of the images in the guide a bit unreal / PR
- travel: We live in Pudong BUT the museum is RGHT at the end of Line 16, LAKE DISHUI, then a taxi or bus 1043 .... a LONG trip. Bring water and some snacks for the journey!

All round a GREAT museum - HIGHLY RECOMMEND yes for all

Date of experience: July 2016
Thank henricuspeters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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