Just a 90-minute journey from the urban sprawl of Shanghai and not far from Suzhou, the traditional water town of Zhouzhuang offers a glimpse into ancient China. Today a popular spot among international tourists, Zhouzhuang is the oldest water township in the country, made up of scenic canals, ancient bridges, and well-preserved buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
The waterways that crisscross the town feature many stone bridges, all of which offer beautiful views of the area. The most famous of these are the Zhenfeng Bridge, Fu'an Bridge, and the Twin Bridges of Shide and Yongan. In addition, a number of houses of significance are still set in Zhouzhuang, namely the Shen House, which is an old private residence with seven courtyards, 100 rooms, and five archways, plus a wharf for mooring boats. The Zhang House is an important historical building built during the Ming Dynasty, while Ye Chucang's Residence is the former home of the poet and statesman who campaigned against gambling and opium in China. Milou Tower and the Chengxu Taoist Temple are other highlights that shouldn't be missed.
The town is a popular day trip destination from Shanghai, with some tour options also including a trip to see the sights and attractions of Suzhou.
Insider Tip: Don't miss out on the most famous of Zhouzhuang's local food—Wansan pork hock.
Admission into the town costs 100 yuan per person for the day. This ticket includes entry into all of the attractions, although organized boat rides down the town's narrow canal require an additional fee. The easiest way to reach Zhouzhuang is as part of an organized tour, but it can also be reached by bus by Suzhou and Shanghai.