There are more than 10 water towns in total surrounding Shanghai and Suzhou, though some are not open for tourism.
If you are trying to figure out which one of the “Venice of the east” to visit, you have come to the right place.
In terms of welcoming tourism, reachability, and things to see we recommend you visit Zhouzhuang, Zhujiajiao, and Tongli.
A lot of what there is to see in these small towns are the bridges and the man-made canals they run over. There are also plenty of hidden gems within the cities such as ancient gardens, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, local temples and of course – lots of shops.
Your local tour guide will be happy to explain more about the history and significance of the places, taking you back in time to a different world and a different China
The town originally was founded around 770 BC and has continued to grow over the past nearly 1,700 years. Its picturesque canals, local foods and will take you back in time to another era
The bridges are what you need to come here to see! There are 36, with the largest of them being nearly 450 years old! The city is also known for its famous gardens, especially Kezhi Garden, dating back about 650 years ago
This one is that farthest outside of Shanghai city proper, and can also be reached easily from Suzhou. Its most famous attraction is the Retreat and Reflection Garden which recently became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are other options for water towns near by Shanghai, some will be less touristy, some better preserved; if you have more than a day to spend, try maybe visit a few!
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