Home > Focus > Top Shanghai Water Towns

Top Shanghai Water Towns

Among a great many ancient water towns near Shanghai, travelers usually only choose one or two to visit, mainly based on their crowdedness, sightseeing features, air quality and levels of commercialization. Among local people, Nanxun and Tongli near Suzhou, and Zhujiajiao near Shanghai, are the most popular.

An ancient Chinese saying goes: “In heaven there is paradise, on earth there are Suzhou and Hangzhou”. Water towns are indispensable parts of the enchanting scenery of Suzhou and Hangzhou. They are all easily accessible from the biggest metropolis in China, Shanghai.

The towns share hundreds of years of history, scenery typical of Chinese ink-paintings, traditional houses built on waterways, ancient stone-paved arched bridges and interesting folk customs; while each retains its own unique attributes.

The 3 Best Water Town Tours

Water Towns Briefing

People would confusing which water town is the best to go if they are first time visit, here we list water towns sort by its identification, which would help you make a good plan.

Water Towns Distinctive Features - How to Decide Which One to Visit?

Water town Raking Different Visiting time Cost of entrance tickets Transport from
Well-preserved, lots to see, our top town in 2016, 360 customers booked with us. 4 hours CNY100/person Shanghai: 2h
Suzhou: 35min
The most affluent town in the past, featuring Chinese and western architecture. 4 hours CNY100/person Shanghai: 2h
Suzhou: 1h
Hangzhou: 1 1/2h
Mission Impossible III was filmed here 4 hours CNY100/person Shanghai: 2h
Suzhou: 50min
Hangzhou: 2h
Large –scale Qing dynasty architecture is well-preserved 7 hours/2 days CNY100-120/person Shanghai: 2h
Hangzhou: 1h
Foodies paradise 4 hours Free (but it costs extra for the sites in the town) Shanghai: 50min
Wide array of museum and temples 4 hours CNY78 (but it costs extra for the sites and gondolas in the town) Shanghai: 1 1/2h
Suzhou: 50min
Local wealthy and influential family-Zhang and Shen family 7 hours or 2 days CNY100 Shanghai: 2h
Suzhou: 1h
A collection of private gardens 4 hours Free (but it costs extra for the sites in the town) Shanghai: 2 1/2h
Suzhou: 30min
Historical sites and relics 4 hours Free (but it costs extra for the sites in the town) Shanghai: 3h
Suzhou: 1 1/2h
Little old street with not much to see 1 hour Free (but it costs extra for the sites in the town) Shanghai: 30min

Water Town Culture Experience

Zhujiaojiao water town

Gondola ride

Must-do in water towns

The boat ride on the canal was a highlight of your water town trip, you can find out in most if the water towns, it was great to sit and relax as you went past the town going about its everyday life, along with ancient arch bridges, teahouses, and stop for a cormorant fishing demonstration.

Tongli water town

Visit a local family

Get to know the real life in water town

To acknowledge a city, the most efficient way is to meet locals, if you visit Tongli, your guide will arrange a visit to Ruanamei family, listen hosts singing the folk songs for welcome guests, sit sown have a cup of tea, chatting with the host about their life and the town in the past.

nanxun water town

Classical private gardens

Icons of cities in South Yangtze Dealta

Chinese private garden is the simple of power and fortune, and also the good taste of its owner. It was built for the demanded of high quality of life, A mix of pleasant Chinese gardens and tranquil water and pavilions, very pretty peonies, peach blossom trees, bonsai, wisteria, & shrubbery.

Travel Tips

1. Distance if travel from Shanghai

2. Best Time to Go

March to October is the best time to visit the water towns, for the weather is quite comfortable. Winter is also fine, for there are fewer tourists, the towns are less crowded and you can expect some tranquility. It’s great to escape the big city and see a little of the ancient architecture and local culture.

3. Gondola Rides
4. Food
5. Weather
6. Transport
7. Scenic Sites in the Towns