Zhouzhuang Water Town
Zhouzhuang Water Town
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1,047 reviews
Very good

Tubby Panda
Portsmouth, UK418 contributions
Mar 2021
China rates this as number 1 water town, it is good but I feel they are pretty much all the same.
As a photographer I have visited many and they seem to blend together, seen one, seen them all. The difference here is they charge you 100 rmb for the privilege.
We had to get a train to Kunshan, then its a bus to a bus station where you change to a smaller bus and on to the watertown.
I suggest you take your own food and drink as once inside it is lacking in choice and terribly expensive.
The area is clean and tidy, it is easy to navigate your way around, don't worry about getting lost as it is not that big. It has a main entrance and several exits, should you reach a smaller exit just turn around and wander a different lane.
Like with all Chinese tourist places it has been modernised yet it still has some of the past and old areas if you can find them.
I found it interesting, 350 photos in my day there and clocked up 15k steps, all of it flat with the odd arched bridge. Worth at least a half day there to walk around and see everything.
Written March 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bangkok, Thailand621 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
We took a private tour to this charming water town. The buildings along two sides of the entrance are replicas of old style houses. This water town is not that big but filled with its charming small old houses, narrow pavements and alleys, canals and stone bridges. Out of 14 stone bridges, the oldest is Fu’an Bridge while the most famous is the Double Bridge.

Zhang Residence, Zhouzhuang’s oldest mansion, is very well preserved. It helps us understand how the wealthy family in those days lived. A must to visit.

There are lots to see and do there—strolling the narrow alleyways to appreciate the old style houses along the canals, crossing stone arch bridges , learning about how people live there, visiting two mansions of Shen and Zhuang families, eating local food at a restaurant by canal or sipping a cup of coffee at a famous café where Sanmao, a Taiwanese writer used to sit and write about, stopping by at the Chinese opera house just to see its grand stage or to even view the performance, or taking a gondola ride along the canal.
Written January 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Martin A
Dalian, China2,758 contributions
Nov 2022
Zhouzhuang calls itself the #1 water town in China and millions agree with them but what about Tongl, another water town, not far away? Zhouzhuang is more developed, has more decorations, more shops, perhaps, but Tongli has more local people living right there, so it feels more real. The point is, really, there are several amazingly beautiful water cities in this region. Which one is number one? Explore them and decide for yourself. We took a gondola ride in both places, found great little hotels in both of them, and I took 1,000 pictures in each of them.
Written November 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Shanghai, China1 contribution
Sep 2021 • Couples
We was very disappointed with this place! If u coming from shanghai and use subway to arrive to nearest station., than u need to pay 70-80 rmb to get there( 1 way ) You need to pay at the entrance 100 rmb per person. We went to a restaurant to eat, we order 3 small tiny dishes all vegetables and we pay for that 165 rmb, taxi from. If you fist time in china maybe it is good place to go. Otherwise u can find hundreds streets and towns like this almost in any city and it’s free.
Written September 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Singapore, Singapore7,488 contributions
Jun 2017 • Solo
How to get there:
There are many long distance bus departing from Shanghai, Suzhou or Hangzhou. Even in Shanghai there are a few departure points. Almost all will bring one to the Zhouzhuang bus station, located north of Zhouzhuang.

I took the exception and departed from Shanghai Hongqiao bus station and arrive at final stop Jiangze (江泽) station, which is located west of Zhouzhuang. Reason is my hotel is much nearer to Jiangze than Zhouzhuang bus station.

Interesting the forward journey is 32rmb, but return trip is 30rmb, wonder why the disparity. Journey takes 70 mins. At Jiangze station, it is a 10 mins walk to the Zhouzhuang ticket office. Entrance fee is 100rmb, valid for 1 day.

Where to stay:
One can do a day trip from Shanghai, ie leave in early morning and return in late afternoon or early evening. I decided to stay 1 night inside Zhouzhuang as I can enjoy the night scenery leisurely. There are many hotels & inns which you can decide on the spot, especially during weekdays & off peak season. Alternatively, you can book through travel websites to be sure of room availability.

Exploring Zhouzhuang:
According to website, Zhouzhuang has a history of more than 900 years, with houses and bridges built in the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing dynasties (1644–1911). These ancient houses are excellent examples of traditional Chinese architecture.

Being a water town, there are no vehicles in this area. Most of these attractions are accessible by boat or walking on paved walkways and crossing small stone arch bridges. The entire area is commercialised, as majority of these ancient houses are either hostels/inns, restaurants, shops selling traditional snacks/food, tea, souvenirs, handicrafts such as combs, fans, bamboo weavings, engravings, etc.

There are various exhibitions showing the old way of life in this water town. Major attractions not to be missed are the Twin Bridges (双桥), Shen Residence (沈厅) and Zhang Residence (张厅).

As for food, pork knuckles are famous in this region, with many stores selling them. Seafood is also widely available in many restaurants. Suggest to have seafood dinner here before enjoying the night scenes.

Overall, highly recommend to visit this ancient water town to experience its charm and history. If you find this post helpful in planning your trip, kindly click "Helpful". Thanks so much.
Written June 21, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Apr 2013 • Family
Zhouzhuang possibly the largest watertown in China and proudly named as the no.1 watertown or the Venice of the East is located about 30kms from Suzhou in Kunshan.
This watertown will propel you back to the Ming and Qing dynasties with tranquil water canals and ancient architecture.Dating back to more than 900 years ago,it still retain the style and pattern of an ancient village.
Its most famous attractions are the Fu an bridge,Double bridge and the Shens hall of Residence.The Shens residence is built during the Qing period .There are Quanfu temple and the Chengxu temple.There is a central courtyard a rectangular stage where popular Kungqu opera are staged.It has a very high quality accoustics and chess competitions,calligraphy,homespun cloth weaving,bamboo crafts,tea culture are among the many highlights here.
SNACKs & Food are a popular item at Zhouzhuang.one can also partake in local delicacies while watching kungqu opera .
Crunchy sesame candy,dried bean curd with soy sauce,squirrel shaped mandarin fish.,river syrimos and biluochun tea,
The Mandarin fish is characterised by lack of bones and softness of its meat.The head of the fish its mouth wide opened and the tail bent upwards makes it looks like squirrel.It is finished with syrimps,dried bamboo shoots and sweet and sour sauce.
Dragon head sweet potatoes with sugar juice ,Gorgon fruits,Plum blossum cakes and boiled lotus roots with osmanthus are among the nice street food.
Zhouzhuang is about 38km from Suzhou,60km from Shanghai and 30km from Kunshan.
From Shanghai you can travel direct by car/bus or taxi.However the most relaxed way is by the G train to Kunshan or Suzhou,thereafter travel to Zhouzhuang by taxi.Taxi from Suzhou takes about 1 hour plus and costs about 120 yuan.
By Bus direct from Shanghai go to:
1)Shanghai Tour Bus Center just outside Caoxi road subway station.You can reach this station by line 3.Exit gate no.3 and turn to the Shanghai Tour Bus Center building.The price is 150yuan (75yuan for senior citizens above 70)which includes round trip fees and entrance tickets.
2)Hongkou football stadium.Daily departure at 0815 and trip back at 1615 at a cost of 240yuan including entrance fees.
3)Long distance bus station next to Shanghai main railway station which is a normal regular bus and not a tourist bus.The last bus by this line back to Shanghai is at 1630.
If travel from Suzhou by bus:
Wuxian bus station departure time at 0715,0940,1415,1420
North bus station which is a tourist bus at 0645 almost halfhourly and last bus back to Suzhou is at 1800.
Hotels at Zhouzhuang are:
1)Huajiangtang hotel
2)Wanjiashuang hotel
3)Zhengu hotel
4)Zhen Feng hotel
5)Zhouzhuang renjia hotel
6)Zhenshui hotel

Entrance fees to the watertown is 100yuan/person.late evening from 1600 is 80yuan.After 9pm is free.
Note of advice is do not plan to go during the golden weeks holidays and school holidays.The massive crowd may rob you off the fun in this otherwise wonderful watertown.
.Best time to go in March to June and September to November.
Written July 5, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Calgary, Canada2,719 contributions
Jul 2014 • Solo
I visited a few years back and fell in love with this enigmatic and awe inspiring water towship in Kunshan City.

The well preserved ancient houses and the exqusite water ways were picture perfect. Some refer to this township as the Venice of the East but it has its own distinctive charm and characteristics The beautiful old bridges add to the romantic feel of the waterways.

A must see place!
Written June 30, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hyderabad, India6 contributions
I am from India but im in china since 4yrs & i know chinese language. I want to share a worst experience before ever had in my whole stay in china since 4yrs.
Recently I and my friend went to shanghai for a 4 day holiday on 26th Jan. 2010. We inquired about the places to visit and we have been told to go SIGHTSEEING BUS CENTER, SHANGHAI.
Before approaching there we called to the call center of this center & they encouraged us to go to ZHOU ZHANG water village.
We were excited and approached the bus center and took tickets(155 RMB/person for whole 1day trip), where about 15-20 chinese people with us in the same bus including a chinese guide.
Its 1hr journey and we reached there.
Its obviously like a village but very dirty ,compact and unhygienic in the entrance area. We thought "Ok its a historic place inside something we may see" like that. After entering, we saw village localites are washing their cloths, cleaning vessels on the way its self, & we have to cross them and go inside.
From our guide we came to know that this is one of the famous Chinese writer's place and have more than 100's of different rooms.
As we saw all the rooms are fully occupied by chinese locals of that village.
All the rooms are used as shops, hotels etc. After seeing that we thought we came to some shopping market but not a historic place.( exactly saying fish market)
We hurt more with the behavior and mentality of money making from each visitor.
Not only for foreigners but also for the chinese who came with us also felt the same.
As we by pass the rooms sorry shops, all shop keepers try/force to sell things in cheating manner.
After some time we went for lunch. And we ordered 2 egg rice(10 RMB each), and they gave the same with tea.
As we know, tea is free in all china hotels like water is free in Indian hotels.
At last they billed us 50 RMB, and we shocked what we had, Later we came to know that 30 RMB for only tea(tea leaves in hot water) and remaining for egg rice. They dint mention the tea cost in menu.
We asked our guide she told that tea is free .(but here the horrible thing is the guide has an illegal commission from the hotel which she forcefully took all the bus members to same hotel)
The chinese who came with us also been cheated in the same manner. They too felt a lot and shared those feelings with us.
The behavior of the hotel people is only to make money but not to serve, and have very cheap mentality.
While coming to the historic point of view, excluding the 100 rooms, the main 3 rooms which is the residence of the writer. We saw only chairs, tables and kitchen things used at that time...thats all! Nothing else to see, and Entry ticket 100 RMB is not worth to watch such terrible thing.
As they mentioned zhou zhuang water village, the water is very dirty, smelly & black.
The guide told us to roam the village for 4 hrs, but we ran and came out of the village with in 20 mins.
Bottom line: Nothing is there to see except chairs and tables. and the people inside are all cheater(this feeling not only from us and also all the visitors who came with us).
Written January 31, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Singapore, Singapore10 contributions
Aug 2015 • Couples
I've always been fascinated with these water towns. Zhouzhuang is gorgeous. I visited in August and travelled from Shanghai. That day, typhoon landed in Shanghai. The city was flooded and flights out of Shanghai were delayed. But the rain was a blessing.

The unrelenting rain on the bus en-route eventually turned into light drizzle and it gave the water town a magical feel. Imagine the freshness of rain fall on a water village.

My interest was the water way. I skipped the museums and other sights. The rain may perhaps have deterred some travellers. Casual strolling and photo snapping was a lot easier than I expected.

Zhouhuang can feel very commercialised with its numerous restaurants and shops lining the water way. Its the same for Venice. In this day and age, we can't expect otherwise. Just block these off if it is not your interest and focus on the historical water ways, buildings etc. There's so much to enjoy. So many Kodak moments. Gorgeous.

How to get there from Shanghai? I took the advise from past reviewers and enquired also with Tien (one of recent reviewers.) I went by bus. Here's how I did it:

The Shanghai Tour Bus Centre is situated right next to Caoxi Metro Station on Line 3. I booked my ticket a day (Sunday) before my departure (Monday).

At Caoxi Stn, Exit 2, Turn Left. The Centre is there. Caoxi Metro Station is small. On one side are apartments and shops and on the other side is the Bus Centre. You can't miss it. So don't go wandering far.

At Bus Centre, Ticketing is at basement.1st Floor (ground level) are departure gates. It should be Gate 5. Ask if unsure. Friendly folks will advise.

Ticket cost is RMB 150 for return trip + entrance to Zhouzuang and all the sites within it. A tour from the hotel is nothing less than US$100.

The first bus departs 8:45. You should take this. The return is now 3:15. No longer 4:45 as mentioned in earlier review. The journey there took 2hrs. There is still a good 3.1/2 hrs for sightseeing . More than sufficient time.

The bus I boarded was clean and well maintained. A proper tour bus. Forty seater filled only to half capacity. Majority were local tourist. Apart from two of us, we had a Japanese gentleman and a wonderful family of three from Hong Kong.

At Zhouzuang, the bus arrives at an official designated parking lot. From here, you are very close to one of the entrance into the Water Village. Bus driver may suggest, as mine did, to take everyone to a ferry terminal to enter the park via another entrance. That's another RMB 50 per person for the ferry ride. No harm taking this. But there's nothing of interest on the ride.

If you prefer otherwise, just alight from the bus. Remember, you still have to return to this parking lot for the return trip at 3:15.

Walk out of the parking lot and there is immediately a clear road sign in English pointing to the village entrance. Can't miss. No more than 5 mins walk.

Food - There are lots of restaurants selling local delicacies. There's also a Starbucks where I had my cuppa. Friendly staff. I pack a light lunch to save time. Works for me.

I do have to caution that the ancient streets in this water town is narrow and cobbled.

Hope this helps for those intending to visit.
Written August 28, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Malaysia49 contributions
Apr 2015 • Couples
We took the Shanghai Tourism Bus. You need to go to Shanghai Indoor Stadium (Line 1 Red and Line 4 Purple) . Once you reach Shanghai Indoor Stadium go to Exit 6 to Caoxi walk across the road, and go left where you can see all the buses. Walk further down to look for Shanghai Tourism Bus. Our bus departed at 8:45am. We were there at 8:15am. Go to Gate 5 (1st level ) where the bus is. We went to buy the bus ticket in Basement 1 one day earlier. Each person cost 150 RMB included the Zhouzhuang entrance fee. Take note if you are Senior Citizen you will entitle a discount for the entrance fee in Zhouzhuang. Show your ticket to the man in red jacket ( the person in charged) they will tell you when to board the bus. The journey took us 1.5 hours. The Tourism bus will drop tourists at Zhouzhuang followed by Tongli. The bus can accomodate 50 people but only 20 people in the bus ride. Besides ourselves the rest were local Chinese tourist from other part of China. Starbucks is there enjoy your coffee after a long walk. we had a wonderful time in Zhouzhuang, its beautiful.
Written April 25, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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