Zhouzhuang Water Town

Zhouzhuang, one of the most famous water townships in China, is situated in Kunshan City which is only 18 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of Suzhou. It is noted for its profound cultural background, the well-preserved ancient residential houses, the elegant watery views and the strong local colored traditions and customs. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), the smalle town was a part of the fief Yaocheng and called Zhenfengli. After being donated to Full Fortune (Quanfu) Temple by Zhou Digong, a very devout Buddhist, in 1086 during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), it got its present name as a memorial of the donor.

In an area of 124 acres (half a square kilometer), 60 percent of the existing structures here were built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, which is from 1368 to 1911. Taking the most convenient form of transport here, a gondola, we will admire some of the breathtaking sights one by one.
Zhouzhuang Water Town in Spring
The Water Town in Spring
Zhouzhuang Ancient Town
 More Pictures

Twin Bridges (Shuang qiao)

Zhouzhuang is surrounded and divided by lakes and rivers. 14 stone bridges cross the rivers, showing distinctive views of the water town. Twin Bridges which comprise Shide Bridge and Yong'an Bridge are the most famous and considered the symbol of the peaceful town. Built in Wanli era (1573-1619) of the Ming Dynasty, Twin Bridges is in the northeast of the town. Shide Bridge is east-west and has a curving arch, while Yong'an Bridge is north-south and the bridge beam is straight. Crossing the two crisscross rivers (Yinzi Creek and Nanbeishi River) and connecting at the middle, Twin Bridges look like an old-style Chinese key. In 1984, 38 canvases of the notable painter, Chen Yifei, were exhibited in a New York gallery named after Armand Hammer, chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation. 'Memory of Hometown' which depicts Twin Bridges was one of the items on display and has gained the world's attention for Zhouzhuang. The painting was chosen to be the first-day cover of the United Nations' postage stamp in 1985.
Twin Bridges in Zhouzhuang
Ancient Bridge
Zhouzhuang Ancient Town
Local Women

Fu'an Bridge

Located at the eastern end of Zhongshijie Street, Fu'an Bridge was built in 1355 during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The unique trait of Fu'an Bridge is the consummate combination of the single-arch bridge and the bridge towers which have no inside stairs to link the ground floor and the second floor. People have to make a detour and go up to the second floor via the bridge stairs. The towers are used as tearooms, restaurants and stores, providing good places to appreciate the views while taking a rest.
 

Shen House

Built in 1742 and located at the southeast side of Fu'an Bridge, Shen House was the private property of the descendant of Shen Wansan, the richest man in Jiangnan (South of Yangtze River) in the early Ming Dynasty. The whole architectural complex is of the Ming's style and occupies an area of more than 0.7 acre (2,900 square meters). Over 100 rooms are divided into three sections connected by arcades and aisles. The first is the water gate and the wharf, where Shen's family moored boats and washed clothes. The middle part includes the gate tower, the tearoom and the main hall. Bricky gate tower carved with lively and ingenious figures which tell the historic stories or show the good wishes, make it a rare artwork. Tearoom and main hall are places for serving guests, and the furnishings here are all very elegant. The last section is the two-storied dwelling which consists of several buildings which are quite different from the main hall, more comfortable and refined in pattern and atmosphere. Datang Tower was where the womenfolk in the family lived. In Xiaotang Tower stands a painted sculpture of legendary Shen Wansan. Cultural relics including ancient folk instruments are exhibited in this tower and Back Hall.
 

Zhang House

The house was built by Xu's family in the Zhengtong era (1436-1449) of the Ming Dynasty and bought by Zhang's family in the early Qing Dynasty. Located to the south of the Twin Bridges, Zhang House has more than 60 rooms and takes up about 0.44 acre (1,800 square meters). With Zhujing River flowing through, Zhang House is a dapper and graceful residential house with a tranquil courtyard and pond. Deep halls all indicate the secluded life of the quondam owner.
Songmao Hall, Shen House
Songmao Hall of Shen House
Zhang House in Zhouzhuang
Zhang House

Milou Tower

Once called the De's Tavern, Milou Tower perches next to Zhenfeng Bridge which is at the southwest corner of Zhouzhuang. It is famous for being a rallying place of the literators in old times. Numerous poets, songs and stories about Milou Tower are wide spread and make it more charming.
 

Chengxu Taoist Temple

Standing on Zhongshi Street which is opposite to Puqing Bridge, Chengxu Taoist Temple was built during 1086 - 1093 of the Song Dynasty and also known as Sanctity Hall (Shengtang Hall). After several periods of expansion, it is one of the most famous Taoist temples in Wuzhong District. Covering an area of 1,800 square yards (1,500 square meters), simple but majestic Shengdi and Doumu halls, Yuhuang, Wenchang and Shengdi pavilions are really elaborate works and masterpieces of Taoist architctures.

The preceding sight-seeing sites are just a little part of the pretty attractions of this water town. Besides these historic sights, the local folklore, traditions and legends of this water township, such as the dragon boat race, the granny tea or the Wansan home-style banquet which are formed from the immemorial civilization and history are also the indispensable elements for an unforgettable tour.
 

How to get to Zhouzhuang from Shanghai, Suzhou or Hangzhou

 From Suzhou: 
1. Take a bus from Suzhou North Bus Station to Zhouzhuang Bus Station. The bus departs about every 40 minutes from 7:00 to 18:05, at a fare of CNY 16.
2. Take a bus from the north square of Suzhou Railway Station. The bus departs about every 30 to 40 minutes from 6:45 to 17:50, at a fare of CNY 16.
Suzhou Bus Search

 From Shanghai:
1. Take a bus from Shanghai South Long-Distance Bus Station to the town. The bus departs at 8:11 and 13:21, at a fare of CNY 29.
2. Take a bus from Shanghai Long-Distance General Bus Station. The bus departs at 7:05, 8:00, 10:10, 12:00, 14:20 and 16:20, at a fare of CNY 29.
3. Take a bus from Shanghai Hongqiao Long-Distance Bus Station to Jiangze, and then walk around 5 minutes to the west gate of the water town.
3. Take a tourist bus from the General Station of the Shanghai Tour Bus Center or Hongkou Branch to the town.
4. Take Shanghai Subway Line 11, get off at Huaqiao Station and then change Kunshan tourism bus no. 7 to Zhouzhuang Bus Station.

 From Hangzhou:
Take a bus from Hangzhou North Bus Station located at No. 766 Moganshan Road to Kunshan New Bus Station. Then take bus no. 130 or tourism bus. no 1 and get off at the town.
 
Admission Fees

Daytime Ticket: CNY 100 (for entry to the town and seeing 15 scenic spots)


Night Ticket: CNY 80 (for entry after 16:00 and seeing only two scenic spots - Shen House and Zhang House)


Free of charge for children below 4.6 feet (1.4 meters).

 Note:
1. One can enter the town without a ticket from 20:00 to 7:00 the next morning, but can not visit any of the scenic spots inside without a ticket.
2. If a daytime ticket holder wants to stay overnight in the town, he/she should have his/her picture taken and printed on the ticket at the ticket office, so that the validity of the ticket can be extended to three days. During the three days, one can enter and exit freely.

Opening Hours The town is open all day long.
The scenic spots inside are open from 8:00 to 16:30, except Zhang House and Shen House are open for the whole day.
Performance Four Seasons of Zhouzhuang: CNY 150 (ordinary seat)
Boat CNY 120 for a rowboat
A boat allows six people at most and a cruise takes about half an hour.

 Other water towns around Suzhou:
 Guangfu Ancient Town
 Mudu Ancient Town
 Tongli Town
 Luzhi Town
 Shaxi Ancient Town  

Recommended Tour Itineraries

Suzhou Classical Gardens: 5 Days Shanghai-Suzhou-Zhouzhuang-Shanghai
Ancient Water Towns: 4 Days Shanghai-Water Town–Shanghai

- Last modified on May. 05, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Zhouzhuang Water Town
Asked by Jack from USA | Jul. 17, 2019 11:37Reply
Can I take bus from Zhouzhuang to Wuzhen?
Answers (1)
Answered by Sara from USA | Jul. 17, 2019 18:13
00Reply


There is no direct bus between them. You can take bus from Zhouzhuang Coach Station to Suzhou North Coach Station, which departs from 6:45 to 17:15 with interval of 30 minutes. Then take bus from there to Wuzhen, which departs from 8:15 to 16:30 with interval of 2 hours.
Asked by Ang from MALAYSIA | May. 12, 2019 16:33Reply
Are luggage bags allowed in intercity (long distance) buses?
I plan to take the bus from Suzhou to Zhouzhuang and thereafter, to Kunshan Railway Station. Are luggage bags (26-inch) allowed inside the buses?
Answers (2)
Answered by Mandy from SINGAPORE | May. 13, 2019 19:12
00Reply


Yes, they are allowed to put in the boot of the buses.
Answered by Ang from MALAYSIA | May. 14, 2019 04:07
00Reply


Thanks a lot, Mandy.
Asked by Ang from MALAYSIA | Apr. 29, 2019 21:53Reply
Please advise on the bus line(s) to take from Zhouzhuang Water Town to Hangzhou.
Thank you.
Answers (2)
Answered by Lily from AUSTRALIA | May. 04, 2019 19:12
00Reply


Hi, there is no direct bus to Hangzhou. You are suggested to take Bus Line 133 from Zhouzhuang Bus Station to Kunshan South Railway Station. The bus departs from 6:00 to 18:00 every 30 mins. After that, take a bullet train to Hangzhou. It takes about 1.5 hours and ticket price is about CNY100.
Answered by Ang from MALAYSIA | May. 05, 2019 19:36
00Reply


Thanks a lot, Lily.
Asked by Nathania from INDONESIA | Apr. 27, 2019 20:05Reply
Zhouzhuang and Tongli water town in 1 day trip
Hi, if at first i go to water town in the early morning bus at the north square from Suzhou Railway station, the journey might take roughly 90 minutes and after that, where should i drop off from the bus to get to water town?

Do i need to book the bus ticket in advance or just come to the north square bus stop on the day of my visit to Zhouzhuang water town and purchase the bus ticket?

How long to spend in Zhouzhuang water town?

Is it do-able to visit Tongli water town after that?
Any alternative way to commute from Zhouzhuang to Tongli water town besides of taking taxi?

How long is adviseable to spend in Tongli water town?
Is it far walking distance from Tongli water town to Tongli station line 4?

Because after that, i plan to return to Suzhou railway station from Tongli station line 4. :)
Answers (3)
Answered by Emma from USA | Apr. 28, 2019 02:06
00Reply


1. Drop off at the terminal Station and then take Bus Line 216 to the water town.
2. No need to book tickets in advance, just get to the bus station early to purchase the ticket.
3. In fact, you need to spend at least 5-6 hours in Zhouzhuang.
4. Time is too tight to visit both towns. It is better to visit Tongli in the next day. You can take Bus Line 758 and then transfer to Bus Line 725 to the town.
5. It also takes about 4-5 hours.
6. It is not so close and you are suggested to take Bus Line 724 for 4 stops.
Answered by Nathania from INDONESIA | Jun. 08, 2019 03:55
00Reply


Hi, may i know does the bus going to water town is located at Suzhou north square passenger station(苏州北广场汽车客运站)?

if so, how long to take a walk from Suzhou railway station to reach the bus terminal?

And where is the bus actually located? Is it easily spotted?

Thanks.
Answered by Emma | Jun. 09, 2019 19:44
00Reply


Yes, it is located at Suzhou North Square station.

The distance is about 500m, 10 mins' walk is enough.

It is located on the north of the railway station and it is easily spotted.
Asked by yong kang chia from MALAYSIA | Apr. 04, 2019 20:43Reply
i would like to visit Suzhou tongli zhouzhuang in 3 full days
before travelling to Hangzhou on the night of day 3. can you advise the best travelling options please? thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by Jerry from NEW ZEALAND | Apr. 11, 2019 20:32
00Reply


Since the two towns are not far, taking about 1 hour by bus, you can stay in Zhouzhuang for two days and spend one day in Tongli.
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