Do you think the water towns near Shanghai are the same with each other and want to ask us what the differences are? Our answer is “yes, they are the same!” But we have labelled the water towns for you. The most attractive parts of these water towns can be found from the labels. Let’s see if they can help you make a choice.
Tongli consists of 7 islands, which are divided by 15 rivers and connected by 49 bridges. There are hundreds of ancient gardens in different water towns near Shanghai, but only the Tuisi Garden in Tongli was listed as one of World Cultural Relics by the UNESCO. Besides, the area consists of the Tuisi Garden, the Chongben and Jiaying Halls and the Taiping, Jili and Changqing Bridges enjoys a reputation of natural film base. Countless films or television series about water towns and other parts of the South Yangtze River area used Tongli as their filming location. So only Tongli can be described as the MOST authentic water town.
Tuisi Garden Tongli
Xitang’s 600 years’ history makes it one of the youngest water towns in China. The ancient houses and mansions built in Ming (1368-1644 AD) and Qing (1636-1912 AD) dynasties are preserved so well that thousands of tourists can’t help staying in Xitang for one night of two. Xitang is indeed more charming at night. When the lanterns are lighted after the sunset, the ancient houses are reflected clearly on the peaceful surface of the rivers. Tourists will forget the time and enjoy the night like ancient people did hundreds of years ago. The night also offers you a best atmosphere to express your love to the person whom you want to stay with forever!
Xitang at Night
In ancient China, students had to pass an exam first to qualify as successful candidates for the imperial exam. If the candidates succeeded in the imperial examination, they got the opportunity to become rich and powerful government officials. There were over 200 successful candidates for the imperial examination in the history of Wuzhen. There might be at least one successful candidate ever lived in every house you visit in Wuzhen. It is said that the more you visit these houses, the higher score you will get for your own exam. Wuzhen was initially built over 6000 years ago. Most other water towns are much younger than it. We believe the oldest water town will offer you the most unforgettable experience.
Ancient Private School in Wuzhen
Zhouzhuang is one of the earliest water towns opened for tourism in China, so it is also one of the most popular water towns. Especially during the national holidays, China Central Television (CCTV) use Zhouzhuang as an example to report the number of tourists in major tourist attractions. Zhouzhuang become even more popular and crowded due to CCTV’s report. However, if you go to Zhouzhuang during weekdays, you can still feel the deep culture of an ancient water town. Zhouzhuang is renowned for its local activities, such as sculling boat race, river lantern festival, temple fairs and Kun Opera show. Please note there is not a set agenda for these activities.
Zhouzhuang Local Festival
The silk was one of a few star products in the history of China, so lots of rich merchants were running silk factories in ancient time. The mild climate and plentiful rainfall in Nanxun make the water town a perfect place to produce silk. At the end of the 19th century, all the top 4 rich merchants in the South Yangtze River Area were all from Nanxun. Lots of ancient tools to produce silk are now collected in the Silk Museum in Nanxun.
Ancient Silk-Weaving Tool
The Chinese characters of Luzhi are “甪直”. Even most Chinese people do not know the pronunciation of “甪”. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why there are much less tourists in Luzhi than other water towns. Luzhi is as quiet as an introvert girl during most time of a year, but no one can ignore the beauty of the girl, oppositely, the quietness make tourists to understand water town culture easily.
Compared with the water towns listed above, these 3 water towns are less commercialized. If you go there now, you will get a relaxing atmosphere, which will enable you understand the water towns better.