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Taking a Day Trip: Exploring Ancient Water Towns near Shanghai

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Taking a Day Trip: Exploring Ancient Water Towns near Shanghai

Shanghai, the bustling metropolis known for its modern skyscrapers and vibrant nightlife, is also a gateway to some charming ancient water towns that are nestled in the picturesque outskirts of the city. These water towns, with their preserved centuries-old architecture and tranquil canals, provide a delightful escape from Shanghai’s urban chaos. In this blog post, we will explore some of the must-visit ancient water towns near Shanghai for a perfect day trip.

1. Zhujiajiao Water Town:
Situated just 50 kilometers west of Shanghai, Zhujiajiao is one of the most well-preserved ancient water towns in the area. Known as the “Venice of Shanghai,” Zhujiajiao boasts beautiful stone bridges, narrow cobblestone streets, and traditional houses dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Take a boat ride along the canals to truly immerse yourself in the town’s serenity. Don’t miss the impressive Kezhi Garden, a classic Chinese garden featuring elegant pavilions, meandering walkways, and tranquil ponds.

2. Wuzhen Water Town:
Wuzhen, located 130 kilometers southwest of Shanghai, is another gem waiting to be discovered. Divided by the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, it is famous for its arched stone bridges, black tiled roofs, and white-walled houses. Stroll along the ancient East Street, lined with shops selling traditional crafts and snacks, or visit Wuzhen’s Indigo Fabric Workshop to witness the traditional process of making indigo-dyed fabrics. At the end of the day, head to the renowned Hongyuantai Dye House to see captivating dyeing demonstrations.

3. Zhouzhuang Water Town:
Dubbed as the “Venice of the East,” Zhouzhuang is the oldest water town near Shanghai. Located around 60 kilometers to the southeast, it showcases beautifully preserved houses dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Twin Bridges, Shide Bridge, and Yongan Bridge are iconic landmarks that must be admired during your visit. Take a gondola ride along the canals, indulge in local delicacies, and visit the Shen House and Zhang House, two well-preserved residences that highlight the traditional way of life during ancient times.

4. Tongli Water Town:
Tongli, situated roughly 80 kilometers to the west of Shanghai, is a delightful water town renowned for its classical gardens, ancient temples, and stone bridges. Visit the retreats of famous poets and scholars, such as Tuisi Garden and Jiayin Hall, to witness their cultural significance. Walk through the scenic canals, explore the numerous museums and art galleries, and try the local Wansan cake, which is a must-try delicacy unique to Tongli.

5. Xitang Water Town:
Located approximately 90 kilometers to the southwest of Shanghai, Xitang is a charming water town famous for its well-preserved Ming and Qing dynasty architecture. This town is particularly mesmerizing during sunset, when the old houses and stone bridges are illuminated by warm golden hues. Take a leisurely stroll along the narrow lanes, visit the various temples and gardens, and be sure to try the famous Xitang fermented tofu, known for its strong flavor.

Visiting these ancient water towns near Shanghai is like stepping into a time capsule, transporting you back to the ancient China of yesteryears. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture, observe the traditional way of life, and savor the tranquility offered by these hidden gems. Plan your day trip from Shanghai to experience the charm of these ancient water towns and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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