When you come to China, the water towns dotted around Suzhou and Shanghai must be good tourist resorts to visit. These water towns are often collectively referred to as the “Venice of the East” because of its tranquility , superb natural, the time-honored traditions and unique custom of rural life in the picturesque Jiangnan area , historic cobbled lanes, well-preserved historic buildings as well as the canal. Here I compile 9 most popular Chinese water town form for your reference.
- Zhouzhuang Water Town 周庄
Zhouzhuang is regarded as the “No.1 Water Town” in China.This ancient town has a history of more than 900 years old with many houses built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties and renowned for its profound Wu Culture, unique architectural tradition and unspoiled folk custom, etc. It was entitled one of the Famous Historical and Cultural Town of China in 2003. In 2004,In 2004, Zhouzhuang together with Tongli Water Town and Luzhi Water Town were listed in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Famous attractions inside the town: Former Residence of Wansan Shen, Fuan Bridge, Shen’s Mansion, Hounded House
- Wuzhen Water Town 乌镇
Wuzhen Water Town is known as “a land flowing with milk and honey, House of Silk”. It is a national 5A level scenic spot and is one of the 4 grand Ancient Towns of Yangtze, which still well preserved its late Qing Dynasty style layout and water system – the whole town is built along the rivers. Wuzhen is a place where people called “the land of fish and rice”due to its superb climate and geographical conditions. Also, visitors can watch folk performances such as printing and dyeing, making cloth shoes, and tobacco planting, getting hands-on with old equipment to see what life used to be like in this area hundreds of years ago.
Famous attractions inside the town: Former Residence of Mao Dun, Old Street of the West Gate, Wenchang Pagoda
- Tongli Water Town 同里
Tongli is separated by 15 rivers into seven islets, which are connected through 49 ancient bridges.
It is reputed for its well-preserved Ming and Qing style architectures, varied shaped old stone bridges and bountiful rivers, while all of which, made it a decent, quiet and picturesque watery town. In 2004, it was listed in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Famous attractions inside the town: Tuisi Garden, Huancui Resort, Gengletang Garden, Woyun Temple
- Xitang Water Town 西塘
Rich in historical and natural resources, Xitang Water Town is one of the cradles of Wu and Yue Culture. It is well-known for its numerous bridges, lanes, and covered corridors, separated by 9 river courses into 8 islets, but 24 time-honored stone bridges connected and reunited all the pieces together. Many old-fashioned bridges link this water town together (anciently called as “nine dragon old pearl” and “wind from 8 sides”). Also there are many well-preserved architectural groups constructed during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
- Zhujiajiao Water Town 朱家角
Zhujiajiao, endowed with another elegant name – ‘Pearl Stream’, is regarded as Shanghai’s Venice. With a history of more than 1,700 years as a bustling commercial centre due to its convenient water transport. Meanwhile, its superb natural scenery makes it a famous tourist site since ancient times. “One Hill, One Lake” is the outlay of its beauty. Stone bridges, bluestone paved paths, old temples, delicate gardens, narrow lanes, etc. are the features of this town. There are 36 ancient stone bridges, among these there’s a first 5 stone-arched bridge in shanghai called “Fangsheng Bridge” or “Setting-free Bridge”.
Famous attractions inside the town: Dianshan Hill, Dianshan Lake, Fangsheng Bridge, Grand North Street, Baoguo Temple
- Luzhi Water Town 甪直
Luzhi Water Town is renowned for its old folk houses, Arhat Statues of Baosheng Temple and ancient business street, etc. Its nickname was “Museum of Ancient Chinese Bridges”. Luzhi also enjoys a reputation of “land of bridges”, as it well preserved over 41 varied shaped stone bridges, dating back from Song Dynasty to Qing Dynasty. In 2004, Luzhi together with Tongli and Zhouzhuang were listed in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites and was also awarded a Township Preservation Award by UNESCO.
Famous attractions inside the town: Baosheng Temple, Ancient Business Street, Chenghu Lake Unearthed Cultural Relics Museum
- Nanxun Water Town 南浔
Nanxun Water Town enjoys superb natural environment, and is rich in historical relics, which bestow this town with profound cultural connotation, like time-honored silk industry, delicate gardens and well-preserved folk houses, etc.The architecture in Nanxun is a fascinating combination of traditional Chinese elements and 18th century European elements, making it great for history buffs.
Famous attractions inside the town: Bai Jian Lou Building (A Hundred Buildings), Little Lotus Manor, Former Residence of Zhang Juming
- Jinze Water Town 金泽镇
Jinze Water Town is renowned for its crisscross waterways, but mostly for its bridges, not on the number but for time-honored bridges with different shapes and varied usage, thus it is entitled the “No.1 Bridge Town” of the southern Yangtze area. Jinze Water Town is also a famous Buddhist site that owns the grandest Yihao Temple of the area. The best way to experience Jinze is to attend some worship activities and special festival ceremonies.
Famous attractions inside the town: Yihao Temple, Tianhuang Pavilion, Puji Bridge, Yingxiang Bridge, Puqing Bridge
- Mudu Water Town 木渎
More than 10 outstanding well-preserved private gardens make this watery town the unique Garden-like town in China. Some hundreds of years ago, it was the most bustling trading port of west Suzhou. Years gone by, Mudu still kept its manner and features.
Famous attractions inside the town: Yan’s Garden, Hongyin Mountain House, Shantang Street, Lingyan Mountain, Tianping Hill.
Hope our post about Chinese water towns will give you some help.