It takes only 2 hours to travel to Tongli Water Town by bus from Shanghai. You can take buses from Shanghai to Tongli at the Eighty Thousand People Stadium (No.666, Tianyaoqiao Road), Hongkou Stadium (No.444, Dongjiangwan Road), Shanghai Long-Distance Bus Station (No.1662, Zhongxi Road) or Qingpu Bus Station (No. 2043, Yinggang Road). Please note the bus timetables and prices are changeable during local festivals or national holidays, you can only check out the up-to-date schedule at the bus stations.
The return buses from Tongli to Shanghai usually depart around 16:00.
There is no entrance fee needed for the Tongli Water Town, but if you want to visit the attractions in the town, you need to pay a ticket priced 100 RMB, which covers the single-entry entrance fee to nine attractions in the town.
The open hours for attractions in Tongli are between 7:30 and 17:30. The town is still open after 17:30, but the most attractions are closed, except the Tuisi Garden, where is also open between 18:45 and 20:30. But you need to pay 50 RMB for a night tour to the garden, no matter you have bought the 100-RMB entrance tickets or not.
The Tongli Water Town is abundant in gardens, bridges and ancient buildings. If you only have one day in Tongli, you can spend all your time for one garden, two halls and three bridges.
Time for Visit: 40 Minutes
If you do not have enough time to visit both Tongli Water Town and the gardens in the city of Suzhou, the Tuisi Garden is a good place to learn the culture of ancient gardens. It is the only out-of-Suzhou garden listed as World Heritage by the UNCESCO. The bridges, corridors, pools and plants in the Tuisi Garden are never second to the gardens in Suzhou city.
Time for Visit: 30 Minutes for each hall
The two halls were respectively owned by two rich merchants. The original owner of Jiaying Hall designed the hall according to the principles of Chinese Fengshui. He believed the large courtyard with high roof could bring him enormous wealth. The Chongben Hall is renowned for its brick and wood carvings, which show you the scenes in ancient Chinese dramas.
Time for Visit: 30 Minutes for the three bridges
Taiping, Jili and Changqing respectively mean peace, good luck and celebration in Chinese language. The three bridges are next to each other. Local people like to pray for fortune or good health by going through the three bridges and chorusing Taiping, Jili and Changqing.
Fried eels with sauce, sticky rice pudding with vegetables and gorgon fruit cake are must-eats in Tongli Water Town. They are delicious and good to your health.