8 Best Water Towns near Shanghai

There are a lot of great water towns scattered near Shanghai, which are well worth a visit. However, how to choose one or two beautiful and historic towns to stroll through is not easy. This article recommends you 8 best water towns near Shanghai and you can choose anyone you like according to distance, travel convenience and scenic highlights.

Map of 8 Best Water Towns near Shanghai

 

Zhujiajiao Water Town
Rating:
Location: Qingpu District, Shanghai City; about 50 km (31 mi) southwest from downtown
Transportation: Metro Line 17 to Zhujiajiao Station, 1.5 hours
Visiting time: 3 - 4 hours
Ticket Price: Free for entrance, CNY60 for 8 sites inside

Highlights: It is the best Shanghai water town to travel if you don't have much time to go far. This is not a large town but full of narrow lanes, crossing water ways and traditional style architecture. The most prosperous street is North Street, where many snack shops are located. You cannot miss the tasty snacks like the Apo Zongzi, Glutinous Rice Balls and Sauce Trotters. What's more, on the North Street located the largest five-arch stone bridge in Shanghai, Fangsheng Bridge, about 70.8 meters (232 ft.) long and 5.8 meters (19 ft.) wide over the river. Crossing over the bridge, you can appreciate the delicate and well designed Kezhi Garden.  

 Recommended Tour:  Half Day Shanghai Tour to Zhujiajiao Water Town from $109
 Book a Zhujiajiao Water Town ticket
Wuzhen Water Town
Rating:
Location: Tongxiang City, Zhejiang Province; 160 km (100 mi) from Shanghai
Transportation: Take a bus from South Long-Distance Bus Station, 2 hours
Visiting time: 1 - 2 days
Ticket Price: Dongzha CNY 110; Xizha CNY 150; Combo Ticket CNY 190    

Highlights: Referring to the top water towns near Shanghai, you cannot miss Wuzhen. The 1,300-year historical town consists of Dongzha and Xizha. The Dongzha features primitive beauty and deep local culture. A lot of local residents still live there and you can enjoy folk arts like shadow play, climbing bamboo on a boat and traditional tea ceremony. The Xizha tends to be more touristy and prosperous. You can visit sites such as Xuchang Sauce and Pickle Workshop, Matchmaker's Temple and Zhaoming Academy. Take a boat to enjoy the gorgeous night view is definitely impressive.

 Recommended Tour:  Explore Wuzhen Water Town from Shanghai from $129
Zhouzhuang Water Town
Rating:
Location: Kunshan City, southeast of Suzhou; 70 km (44 mi) from Shanghai
Transportation: A direct bus from Long-Distance Bus Terminal, 1.5 hours
Visiting time: 1 - 2 days
Ticket Price: CNY 100, valid for 3 days    

Features: Dubbed No.1 water town in China, Zhouzhuang can be the most advanced and busiest water town. The appealing scenery, crisscross water lanes, 14 ancient bridges and historical residences can catch your eyes undoubtedly. The Shen House and Zhang House are the typical residences to show the life of celebrities in the past time. It is also a good place for photographers to record the black tiles, white walls and stone bridges with a camera.

 Recommended Tour:  5 Days Shanghai Tour with Suzhou & Zhouzhuang from $649
Qibao Ancient Town
Rating:
Location: Minhang District, 20 km (12 mi) southwest of Shanghai downtown area
Transportation: Metro Line 9 to Qibao Station, 0.5 hour
Visiting time: 1 - 2 hours
Ticket Price: Free for entrance; CNY5-10 for each site inside

Features: Qibao Water Town is a small water town Shanghai downtown area and the short distance makes it the easiest accessed water town near Shanghai, also the most crowded one. It may not be as picturesque as other water towns like Zhouzhuang and Wuzhen. But a couple of ancient streets like Qibao Old Street teeming with local snacks can leave you a deep impression. In addition, you can enjoy a lot of fun in a tiny Qibao Temple, a special cricket museum and a shadow play theater. 
Fengjing Water Town
Rating:
Location: Jinshan District, 75 km (47 mi) southwest of Shanghai downtown area
Transportation: Take a bus from Meilong Bus Station and then transfer to Fengjing Bus Line1/2, 1.5-2hours
Visiting time: 3 - 4 hours
Ticket Price: Free for entrance; CNY50 for combo ticket of all sites inside

Highlights: It is a less crowded water town compared with others like Qibao, Zhouzhuang and Wuzhen, which means you can enjoy the beautiful scenery more leisurely. There are 52 old bridges in the town and the oldest one Zhihe Bridge has a history of 700 years. As one of the most famous water towns near Shanghai, Fengjing is also the birthplace of Jinshan peasant paintings. You can enjoy some works at the peasant painting exhibition center. At the port of the South Street, embarking a traditional cruise boat to sightsee is also a good option.
Tongli Water Town
Rating:
Location: Wujiang District, Suzhou City, 90 km (56 mi) southwest of Shanghai
Transportation: A direct bus from Long-Distance Bus Terminal, 2 hours
Visiting time: 1 - 2 days
Ticket Price: CNY100, valid for 2 days

Features: Tongli Water Town is surrounded by several rivers and a network of canals, dividing the town into 7 isles, which are connected by various bridges. The little quiet town attracts travelers not only because of the ancient bridges and old buildings but also the exquisite classic gardens. The most impressive one is Retreat and Reflection Garden, whose elaborate design is representative of Chinese classic gardens. What’s more, you can enjoy Pingtan performance there, a traditional folk opera popular in the Suzhou area.

 Recommended Tour:  One Day Suzhou Tour from Shanghai with Tongli Water Town from $117
Xinchang Ancient Town
Rating:
Location: Pudong New Area, 35 km (22 mi) southeast of Shanghai downtown area
Transportation: Metro Line 16 to Xinchang Station and then take Long-Gang/ Long-Dong Special Bus Line, 1 hour
Visiting time: 1 - 2 hours
Ticket Price: Free for entrance, but it costs to enter sites in town

Features: Xinchang is undoubtedly one of the best water towns near Shanghai as it is less bustling and quiet. A narrow old street paved with flagstones runs through the town and the carved Stone Archway leaves hints of time. The Historical and Cultural Exhibition Hall just introduces the town’s history. You cannot miss the sites like Jiangnan First Teahouse, Chinese Drum Museum, and Dongyue Temple. The local snacks and handicrafts are also worth a try.
8 

Liantang Water Town

Liantang Water Town
Rating:
Location: Qingpu District, 60 km (37 mi) southwest of Shanghai downtown area
Transportation: Metro Line 17 to Zhujiajiao Station and then take Qing-Xiao/Qing-Song/Qing-Zheng Bus Line to Liantang, 2 hours
Visiting time: 1 - 2 hours
Ticket Price: Free for entrance, CNY5 for Chenyun Residential House inside

Highlights: This is a small town near Zhujiajiao Water Town and home to Chenyun, one of the former Chinese national leaders. There are not too many shops there and it keeps the most primitive beauty. The houses along the two banks are very different. In Shangtang Street, mostly are two-storey buildings which used to be shops. One the other side, Xiatang Street is full of residential houses. Several bridges across the river link the town together.
 Read more:
Places of Interests in Shanghai: 12 Historical Sites to Explore
15 Free Things to Do in Shanghai
10 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Shanghai
 8 Fun Things to Do in Shanghai with Family
- Last modified on Jul. 29, 2020 -
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