We went out to Fengjing on a day trip from Shanghai in 2nd January. It was a holiday in China and the town was not jam packed with tourists, though i've heard it tends to be quieter than some of the better known water towns around Shanghai even at peak times. The sun was shining and the air was crisp. We drove out there ourselves and from downtown it was a quick 30 minute drive though it is also easy to get to by public transportation. I've been to many water towns and found Fengjing to be particularly charming with things to see that rang in above and beyond just the usual pretty stone bridges and canals (of which there were also plenty). The cartoonist Ding Cong's house and humor entertained us greatly, as did the Red Army photo ops in the old "People's Commune" and the old bomb shelter. We stopped for lunch in the sunshine by the river and munched on three varieties of the must-try local specialty Zong Zi (rice and meat steamed in lotus leaves - you can see them being made outside on the street) which were all delicious and very filling. I also enjoyed the colorful farmer paintings and picked up a few to send home as Chinese new year gifts for the family, although we didn't have time to go out to the Farmer Painting Village itself. Overall it was a really nice day, not too crowded with a much more local vibe and full of what seemed to be locals enjoying a day out rather than busloads of tourists shipped in. Definitely recommended. It's pretty easy to get there yourself though I saw Ctrip actually have a special offer one day only trip out there on March 17 2012 for just RMB 199 (http://activities.english.ctrip.com/activities/65588/) which is a great value way to enjoy a hassle free visit with an English speaking guide.
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