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Water Town – Wuzhen

Wuzhen is located 11 miles north of the city of Tongxiang, its 1,300-year history, natural beauty, ancient lanes, centuries-old stone houses, arched bridges, and central location within the Golden Triangle make it one of China’s top ancient water towns south of the Yangtze River. The Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) is 90 miles from Wuzhen, and Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) is 47 miles; Wuzhen is then accessible by car or bus from either airport. The bullet train from Hangzhou or Shanghai (going to Tongxiang) plus a short 20-minute cab ride to Wuzhen is another popular way to reach the town.

Canals run through the city in lieu of larger roads, keeping the pace of Wuzhen charming. Wuzhen is divided into the West Area and East Area. The East Area (or Dong Zha) has many visitor attractions including shops, restaurants, and various museums. Distinct arts including indigo-dye printing, loom weaving, and wine distillery delight visitors. There are also many folk performances offered in the East Area, including shadow puppet plays, the Huagu Opera, bamboo pole climbing, and even martial arts performances on boats. The waterways there are vibrant with small skiffs carrying passengers up and down the watery routes.

Wuzhen’s West Area (or Xi Zha) is the location of many boutique hotels. Here you can leisurely stroll along the ancient lanes with less tourist traffic, passing centuries-old wooden houses, and taking in the scenery of arched bridges and waterside pavilions, most of which have been restored to look as they did during Wuzhen’s original establishment in 872 AD. The West Area is especially lovely at night when the buildings are lit, casting a soft glow onto the waterways between them. Visitors will find many restaurants, bars, artisans and shops here to explore. The Water Market is a must-see, where you can buy fresh produce, tea, and goods from boats that line the bridges.

Photo Credit: www.wuzhen.com.cn