Listed as one of the Top 10 Beautiful Towns in the World by CNN and among the first towns to be rated as National 5A Scenic Areas in China, Zhouzhuang is an ancient town crisscrossed by a network of rivers, where boats are a must for living. Fourteen well-preserved bridges dating back to the Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1636-1912) Dynasties arch over the waterways that resemble a hash tag or the Chinese character 井 (jǐng). The river banks are lined with about 1,000 antique houses, more than 60 percent of which were built in the Ming or Qing Dynasties, occupying a total area of approximately 800,000 square meters. Over 800 residents here still keep the traditional lifestyle of a typical Chinese southern water town.
The Chunluzhisi Water Town Resort Community is the town’s most serene place, with the Guzheng Club House, Quanfu Temple and Autumn Moon Garden strewn around the Nanhu Lake.
Three Tour Routes:
The best way to tour around a water town is by boat. You can choose from three different routes to enjoy the charm of China’s most beautiful water town.
A Pleasure Boat Tour Around the Town
Take a luxurious Chinese pleasure boat to enjoy Zhouzhuang’s captivating water sceneries.
A Rowing Boat Tour Wandering Through Canals
Drift down the canals in a blue-roof boat while listening to melodic ditties sung by the rower.
A Boat Tour Following Shen Wansan’s Way to Wealth
Take a boat tour to discover the legendary stories of Shen Wansan, the richest man in Jiangnan, or south of the Yangtze River, about 600 years ago.
Four Tourist Street Blocks:
“Bridges, Waterways, and Households” Sightseeing Street
Misty drizzles, rows upon rows of grey tiled-roof houses, and leisurely drifting hand-cranked boats…The beauty of the ancient town unfolds like a Chinese landscape scroll painting drawn by the most outstanding artist.
Route: Twin-Bridge – Fu’an Bridge – Zhujia Bridge
Twin-Bridge, also known as Key Bridge because the two T-connected bridges resemble the ancient Chinese latch key, is the most intriguing sight in Zhouzhuang, which inspired the world famous oil painting “Memory of My Hometown” by Chen Yifei.
Zhangs’ Residence: The couplet “Sedan came in the front gate; Boats berthed in the house” is a perfect depiction of the interior structure of the residence.
Shens’ Residence: The most grandiose residential construction in Jiangnan and the former residence of the wealthy ShenWansan.
Themed Cultural Street
Here you will surely get impressed by the unique craftsmanship developed through by years of practice and generations of inheritance: wine brewing, Kesi silk tapestry, Suzhou embroidery, carpentry, dough figurine, bamboo weaving, ironwork, nut-carving, homespun cloth weaving…
Route: Carton King Creative Park – Qinglong Bridge – Zhenfeng Cultural Street
1086 Slow Life District
Indulge yourself in the poetic lifestyle of the water town with the company of great wine, local delicacies, music and the Kunqu opera.
Location: two streets along the Beishi River
Unique Homestay Street
Enjoy the local homestay to taste the authentic water town life in Jiangnan.
Location: Fuhong Street
Ten Sites for a Taste of Real Local Life
Enjoy the truly authentic local life in any of the ten sites located in local communities, including:
Zhouzhuang Tea House: have a nice cup of tea in the morning or afternoon, and enjoy chatting with local people over the tea aroma;
Grandpa Wu’s Yard: listen to the old man telling stories about Zhouzhuang in his flower blossoming yard;
Sanmao Tea House: get to know the affection of Sanmao, a famous contemporary Taiwanese writer, and other celebrities for Zhouzhuang;
Fish Hawk Restaurant: witness the fish hawk catching fish on a fishing-boat before having a feast of fish dishes in the restaurant.
Ten Themed Art Stores
Have a cup of coffee and appreciate a profusion of photos at the Left Hand’s Back Yard Salon; see the new year’s woodcarving paintings, an intangible cultural heritage at the Peach Flower House; enjoy enchanting performance of Gu Zheng, a Chinese ancient musical instrument at the Guzheng Club House named A Moonlit Night on the Spring River; Listen to Pingtan, a Chinese folk art of singing and talking at Jubin Building; and experience the charm of Yifei’s Cheongsam Workshop, Ma Xiaohui’s Culture Salon, the Nanhu Lake Guqin Workshop, and the Carton King Creative Park…
Ten Leisure Spaces
Come and visit the Momicafe, a book bar where you can send a postcard; the Starbucks, an integration of classic and modern elements; the Z2, a snack bar named after the initials of Zhouzhuang; the Centenary Academy of the South Society, the former residence of Ye Chucang, a famous poet of the South Society; and other unique leisure places such as the Springside Impression Coffee House, the Boat Bar, the Huajiantang Tea House and the Hongqiao Music bar.
Ten Entertainment Bars
Visit the entertainment bars, MAPHOUSE, Red Courtyard, Chinese Olive, Spring Again, Carton King, Horizon, Drunken Jiangnan, Zhuangchun, or Huajiantang Red Bar, adding joy to your night’s stay in Zhouzhuang.