Xitang Water Town Tours
Found in northern Jiashan County in the Zhejiang province, Xitang is an ideal daytrip from Hangzhou and Shanghai almost equally. It is a town steeped in history with a beautiful setting to complete its allure. With a flat terrain and numerous rivers allowing for picturesque old bridges to connect the pieces of land, Xitang makes for a stunning place for photography and gazing.
On the human side, visitors are most drawn to Xitang for the ceilinged corridors not found in many other places in China. They were originally constructed for the convenience of traders that maneuvered on the edges of their boats and the river. Each trader would have a shop with a ceiling over the stone road in front of their homes, with the ceilings each connected to the others, forming a long corridor on the whole. The longest compilation of these ceilings runs a total of about 1,300 impressive meters.
Another element that makes Xitang a unique destination is the well-preserved Ming and Qing Dynasty constructions. For example are the ancient lanes of all sizes and measurements, with Shipi Lane the most known of them all.
Highlights in Xitang Water Town
The old Chinese architecture contrasted with the natural beauty of its surroundings is what makes Xitang a pleasure of a place. The quaint family-owned boats that float peacefully in the rivers add a touch of life to the otherwise tranquil landscape, and the homes that sit right along the waters will make you want to own one of your own. Life continues on as it has for generations in Xitang, a nice place to soak in the ancient energies of China.
The covered corridors of Xitang are the most well known scenes in the town and host a particular history. The various lanes are further reason to come to this water town, to admire the dark, wide, narrow, long, short, and all other types of walkways that have survived history so far. Finally, the old houses and building styles are very unique, seen alongside beautiful bridges that connect both sides of the waterways.
Ancient time-worn streets crisscross Xitang town. In total, there are about 122 small lanes in Xitang town, all of which were paved with stone slats. Line along these lanes are these hundreds-years-old house which still home to the locals. Of all the 122 lanes, the Shipi Lane is the best preserved. It is situated at the west side of Zhongfu hall in the west street, with a total length of 68 meters. the lane is about 1 meter at the widest but the narrowest point is only 80 centimeters. It is paved with 166 stone planks which are only 3 centimeters thick, which is really hard to be chisel from the granite. That is why it is called Shipi (the skin of the stone) lane. Walking through the long quiet lane with stained tall walls is just like traveling through the town's long history in a Spatio-Temporal Tunnel.
Xitang’s Narrowest Alley
Actually, the narrowest alley is being honored by two major alleys. The first one is a bit narrow where only person has the ability to pass at a time and can be found at the so-called Li House. The second is Ca and can be found at the west side of Huanxiu Bridge and it is considered the narrower of the two because it is scarcely 30 cm wide and no one can pass through it.
Xitang Water town preserved most of their historical properties and collections like the residence of the famous families during ancient times. Xue's house is a typical wooden building of the rich merchant of that region in the later Qing Dynasty.
Their ancient bridges are remarkably amazing especially, those that have stories behind them. Wangxian Bridge was one of the famous among them. It was built in Song Dynasty more than a thousand years ago. The name of bridge is associated with a interesting legend that one taoist once stood on the bridge to watch immortal spirits. Wangxian means to watch immortal spirits in English.
Water Channel in Xitang
Xitang is about 90 kilometers from Shanghai, 80 kilometers from Suzhou, and 100 kilometers from Hangzhou. This makes the town very accessible from all 3 major nearby cities. It is also easily reached by bus or train from the larger hubs. Jiashan is the easiest hub to first reach, then from there access Xitang. Buses depart from Jiashan Bus Station, or hail a private or shared taxi to take you to Xitang.
Coming from Hangzhou, there are frequent trains to Jiashan and the high-speed trains departing from Hangzhou station or Hangzhou East station takes 35 minutes only to Jiashan and 30 minutes only from Shanghai Hongqiao station.
In Shanghai, you can take a bus from Gate 5 by the Shanghai gym of Xuhui District departing timely at 9am every Saturday and Sunday. There are also special buses found at the Travel Collecting and Distributing Center of Shanghai that depart at 8:35am every weekday returning at 4:30pm, or departing 9am on the weekends and return at 4pm.
The local food adds just one more dimension to Xitang’s attractiveness. Since the town is found in the fertile Yangtze Delta and consistently supplied with the life of many rivers, visitors Argentina eabel to enjoy many fresh foods such as fish and vegetables. The area around Fengqiao Bridge has many eateries to discover such as Qiantang Restaurant. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors!