Zhouzhang is known as the most authentic water town in China and there are many things to do in Zhouzhang. Just 40 kilometers from Suzhou and 60 kilometers from Shanghai, makes a visit to Zhouzhang water town perfect as a one day trip.
What are best things to do in Zhouzhang water town in one day?
Admiring the craftsmen at Zhengguan Street
Zhouzhang was known as the trading center in China for several centuries. This amazing water town has a rich history as it is more than 900 years old and since 2004 also under Unesco world heritage protection. The narrow streets along the water canals still are home of several craftsmen, who can easily swing you back in time. Well sure, they are here because of us, visitors, but if that is the tax for preservation, than be it. You will find most of them at the Zhegguan Street.
Have a cup of tea in a teahouse
Wandering around the old streets, you will be able to see several traditional tea houses, so make sure to indulge yourself with a cup or two and enjoy in one of the oldest traditions in China.
Take a photo of the double bridge
One of the must things to do in Zhouzhuang is stopping at the Double Bridge as it is the symbol of the water town. It is not hard to find the bridge, as the water town is small and when you will be visiting its sight, you will for sure cross it several times.
Get to know the history in town’s museum
The local town museum is a small one, but it is still very interesting to visit and get to know more about town’s history. Unfortunately the descriptions are only in Chinese.
See the wealth of ancient residential houses
The old water town of Zhouzhuang has many ancient houses from the Ming and Qing dynasty – 100 houses have gardens and two of them are open to the public. The Shen’s house is amazing and spreads over 2000 square meters, boosting with more than 100 rooms. You could never tell how large it is, when passing it from the street, so walking into it, to see its glory, is for sure one of the most amazing things to do in Zhouzhang.
Climb the tower at Quanfu temple
Most visitors come to Zhouzhuang for few hours, but if you will spend one day in Zhouzhuang, make sure to walk all the way to the Quanfu temple. It is mostly popular due to its tower, which offers great views over the town. The tower has 5 stores and is 33 meters high. It was built in 1987, so it is actually one of the newest tourist attractions in Zhouzhuang water town.
Be inspired by the Chenxu Taoist temple
Zhouzhuang has a rich history and you can find that in the amazing Taoist temple too. The temple was extended several times, but originally built between 1086 and 1093. It is now one of the most known Taoist temples in Wuzhong region.
Take the boat ride around the water canals
Zhouzhuang is full of life during the day, as most tourists visit it for just few hours and one of the must things to do in Zhouzhuang for many of them is taking the boat ride around its water canals. If you are lucky with a rower, you will also be able to listen to his/her singing of traditional Chinese songs.
Tasting local dishes
One of the things to do in Zhouzhuang is tasting some of its traditional dishes, but from what you can see from the street vendors, the dumplings are always a popular choice. You will get them in different fillings and shapes.
Seeing Zhouzhang during the day and night
Most visitors stop in Zhouzhuang during the day, but if you ask me, this is the biggest mistake you can do. Zhouzhuang water town offers the most beautiful scenes in the evenings, when the lights turn on and the crowds leave the water town. Not many visitors decide to stay here overnight, so that is even one more reason you should.
Quick Zhouzhuang water town travel tips
How to reach Zhouzhuang?
Location of the water town Zhouzhuang is perfect as it is only 60 kilometers far from Shanghai and only 40 kilometers from Suzhou. You can reach Zhouzhuang by bus from Shanghai, but that will actually take you more time than traveling to Suzhou with a bullet train and taking a taxi to Zhouzhuang. But of course, taking the bus from Shanghai will cost you less.
Where to sleep in Zhouzhuang water town?
The old water town of Zhouzhuang has several boutique hotels. We stayed in Zhouzhuang Showyear Hotel, right at the water canal and to the entrance into the old town. Hotel has clean, modest rooms and a traditional Chinese breakfast included in the room rate. Most people probably won’t be keen about the traditional breakfast, but hey, you are in China, right? We enjoy trying local food, so we did not mind the breakfast and if you don’t have prejudices it is actually quite good. You can read more about the hotel here.
Entrance fee to Zhouzhuang water town
You will need a ticket to enter the old Zhouzhuang water town. If you will be visiting Zhouzhuang only as a daily visitor, you can purchase the ticket at any entrance to the old town. If you will be staying in Zhouzhuang overnight and walk around the old town next day too, you have to buy the ticket at the main entrance gate, where the tourist information center is. In that case, your ticket will also include your photo (photo is taken at the gate office and printed on the ticket). Keep your ticket with you all the time, as every time you will leave the old water town, you will need to show it when coming back in. The fee for the entrance ticket depends of the length of your stay – daily ticket, evening ticket (after 4 pm) and overnight ticket, which is valid 3 days. The daily and combined ticket includes fee for all the tourist attractions in Zhouzhuang water town. The evening ticket only includes entrance to 2 sights.
Best time to visit Zhouzhuang water town
Most people visit Zhouzhuang water town during spring and autumn, so the town and all the narrow streets really get crowded – even more during Chinese New Year and other national holidays. If you are not keen on crowds, the best time to visit Zhouzhuang is December. December is great, as there are no crowds and you will easily walk around the old town and admire all the amazing sights and attractions in Zhouzhuang.
The amazing things to do in Zhouzhuang water town were more than we ever hopped for and to be honest, Zhouzhuang was the nicest surprise on our short trip to China. We like best that the town managed to keep its traditional look and authentic, even though it gets numerous visitors each day.