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Reputed as the No. 1 Water Town in China, Zhouzhuang or Zhouzhuang Water Town is one of the “ten most beautiful towns in the globe” and “world charming water town”. Also, with appealing sightseeing and authentic flavor of regions south of Yangtze River in China, Zhouzhuang is given the title of “National AAAAA Tourist Attraction” and one of the “top ten tourist attractions in China favored by the European people”. Visiting Zhouzhuang Ancient Town, you can see 14 ancient particular stone bridges built in Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, multiple courtyards linking together on the winding water, more than 800 residents living by the river, etc. which is exactly the look of serene historic water town in east China. Besides the scenery, the special folk culture in Zhouzhuang will tell you about the real gem of culture in Wu area and the soul of this charming place.
From the legend, Zhouzhuang was anciently called Yao City (摇城) for it was the manor of Yao, the son of Helv (阖闾) who was the King of Wu Kingdom. In 1086 AD, Zhou Digong (周迪功) believing in Buddhism devoted a land of more than 13 hectares to Quanfu Temple (全福寺) as a temple place, and people there named the land Zhouzhuang (Zhou Village) to thank him. And then, Zhouzhuang was continuously expanding with more and more people coming and settling down. As Shen Wansan (沈万三), who was the rich people there, started doing commercial trade with foreigners, Zhouzhuang became a trading center of food, silk and many handicrafts, the ordinary people there gradually lived very prosperous life and built Zhouzhuang into a better ancient town.
Since Zhouzhuang is a historic water town of nearly 1000 years, you can visit many places here to feel its featured old flavor.
The Double Bridge (双桥) actually refers to Shide Bridge (世德桥) and Yongan Bridge (永安桥) at the center of Zhouzhuang. First built during 1573 AD and 1619 AD, these two bridges link together like a key in ancient China, so, the bridge is also called Key Bridge. Also, the Double Bridge is the best place to feel the ancient charm of Zhouzhuang. With the gem-like water and lush trees, you can take a boat to appreciate it and enjoy passing through under the bridge.
Moreover, the Double Bridge is well-known for the oil painting of Chen Yifei (陈逸飞) who is a famous painter. After his painting of Zhouzhuang exhibiting in the gallery of Armand Hamer the US, the American people were marveled at the idyllic land of China water town. And in 1985, the painting was chosen to be the pattern of the first-day cover of the United Nation, favored by people from all fields.
The Shen’s House (沈厅), in this residence of more than 2000 square meters, was built by the decedent of Shen Wansan in 1742. Nearly every visitor would go to Shen’s House to feel the life and history of the very wealthy person in Wu Kingdom. Going inside, you can see the wide and magnificent main hall, and raise you head, the hidden window is right there, and that was for the lady selecting her husband in ancient China. Also, you can find abundant fine decorations on the doors, windows, etc. like golden carving of animals and flowers hollow engraving of blossoms and figures, etc. Besides, the statue of Shen Wansan and a glittering treasure pot are there in al hall. It is said that the pot can bring luck of making money to people, so visitors usually throw a coin to the gold ingot to get the good amassing fortune. And you can walk or stand in the stone door of ancient Chinese coin to get more fun.
The Zhang’s House (张厅) was built in Qing dynasty and originally named Yishuntang (怡顺堂). It renamed Zhangting (Zhang’s House) after made over to a person whose family name was Zhang. Built within the 1800 square meters wide area and carved beams as well as painted rafters, Zhang’s House was regarded as luxurious at that moment. Moreover, it is very interesting to imagine the scene of boats passing by the door of the house in the past for the special location and featured design. In the backyard, there is a little garden with dancing bamboos and Chinese roses. You can stroll on the winding path to enjoy the scene of river, and also, you can wear the costume in Ming and Qing dynasty to play the historical role in the quiet garden and experience the daily life of ancient people in Zhouzhuang. In the ancient old-style private school, you can see very antique desks and seats, which shows the high pursuit of knowledge of the host who wanted to give advanced education to his children.
The former residence of Chen Yifei (逸飞之家) is one of the highlight in Zhouzhuang Town, where you can see the past living environment and introduction of the famous painter. Walking through the door, you can admire the historic simple courtyard with trees in the typical Chinese old style. However, you can see the photos, statue, clothes and historical material of this great person in the house.
Apart from the above attractions, you can go to other worth-seeing places, like Fu’an Qiao (富安桥) that stands for wealth and safety is the symbol of Zhouzhuang Ancient Town. What’s more, Shen Wansan’s Former Residence (沈万三故居) shows the copper statue, historic brief of Shen and other precious art works, etc.
Before dawn, you can hear the very pleasing chime of the bell of 1500 kg in Quanfu Temple at the west side of Zhouzhuang.
Jizhui Harbor is very wide and turbulent. From a distance, you can appreciate the scene of near 100 white boards competing on the water changing from calm to torrential.
Every late afternoon, all the fishing boats return with fruitful results, and you can enjoy the people sing the old fishing songs in the boat to celebrate the big harvest when the moon rising in Baixian River (白蚬江) at the west of Zhouzhuang, which is near the gate. Also, you can visit the “Fishing Singing on Xianjiang” Museum (蚬江渔唱) to see the relics and imitate scene of local fishing.
You can appreciate different beautiful sightseeing of Zhouzhuang in all seasons.
Quanfu Temple is in Nanhu Yuan in the south of Zhouzhuang and is called the “Buddhist Land on Water”. In spring, go to Zhigui Pavilion (指归阁) in the temple to overlook the full view of green mountains and the vast river nearer. With the new red peach blossoms and verdurous willows, Zhouzhuang is really a heaven on earth.
Summer is usually the rainy season, so you can admire the mysterious view of the water town that is like a young girl who is shy and hesitates to uncover her veil.
Nanhu Garden (南湖园) in the south of Zhouzhuang has fascinating view all year round, especially in autumn. So you can go there to see the bright moon hanging high and enjoy the cool wind blowing the green lake.
Dongzhuang (东庄) of 50 min’s driving distance from the east of zhouzhuang is very charming in winter. After snowing, the whole land suddenly changes into a silver costume and a very good place to take a walk and to admire the pure wonderland.
As the “Ancestor of Chinese Operas”, Kunqu Opera (昆曲) is the oldest type of drama in China. Sit in an opera house to feel the excellent art and know about the famous story for hundreds of years. The Old Stage at the north of the double bridge, and in there, professional actors and actress provide excellent Kunqu Opera performance with great live band, exact Chinese and English subtitles on both sides of the stage.
Show time: 10:30-11:30; 14:00-16:00 every day
Night of Kunqu Opera: 19:00-21:00, Friday & Saturday, April to October
During day, taking a sculling boat to appreciate the antique charm of Zhouzhuang is terrific. Watching the hundreds-year old houses passing by, verdant willow dancing in the wind and listening to the introduction of the boat woman, you may be lost in the relaxing ancient water town. Furthermore, Zhouzhuang at night is super splendid. Board on a boat, you can totally enjoy the sound of traditional stringed and woodwind instruments from the upper floor in Fuan Bridge and the Chinese Pipa (琵琶) sound from a residence. With the reflection of the multiple old bridges and the colorful lights, you will feel Zhouzhuang is so charming.
“Zhouzhuang in All Seasons” (四季周庄) is the first live-action performance of water town in China. The about 200 actors, actresses and local ordinary people show the traditional culture and rich folk costume of water town and tell the life and beauty of Zhouzhuang.
Show Time: 19:00-20:00, every day from April to November; 19:30-20:30 in Summer (Excluding bad weather day)
Place: No. 375, Quangong Road (全功路), Zhouzhuang Town
Fee: RMB 150 / person
Note: the above information is for reference only, for the detail and updated information about “Zhouzhuang in All Seasons” Show, please contact our Travel Consultant!
Enter Zhouzhuang to see the Double Bridge to appreciate the view of boats and residences along the river, and then walk to Zhang’s House to see the luxurious rooms and wander in the little garden. After that, move to Shen’s House where you can know about the life and story of the very wealthy Shen’ Wansan. Then, go to see Fuan Bridge that is the symbol of Zhouzhuang. Finally, you can enjoy the charming view of Zhouzhuang Water Town by taking the boat through many stone bridges and listen to the singing of the female sculler.
Enter Zhouzhuang to visit Zhouzhuang Museum to admire those precious relics and have a brief understanding of the development of Zhouzhuang. After that, go to see Fuan Bridge that is the symbol of Zhouzhuang. Next, visit Zhang’s House as well as Shen’s House to see the luxurious rooms know about the life and story of the very wealthy Shen’ Wansan. Then, walk to the Double Bridge to appreciate the view of boats and ancient houses along the river. And at night, enjoy the “Zhouzhuang in All Seasons” Show to know the culture of Zhouzhuang Water Town.
Take a boat (For fee) to wander along the river to appreciate the fascinating scenery of water, bridge and residences and listen to the old songs of the local sculler. Enjoy the Kun Opera and know the culture of Suzhou at the Old Stage. Then, go to Nanhu Garden to admire the pleasing view of lakes and old houses.
Zhouzhuang is only 38 km southwest from Kunshan city in Jiangsu Province, so you can reach there by various vehicles.
People usually get to Zhouzhuang by coach or take a bullet train to Kunshan first and transfer to the tourist attraction by a taxi.
From Suzhou – 38 km
There are many coaches starting (Running every 20-30 min) from Suzhou North Station and Suzhou Railway Station to Zhouzhuang, which need aboutabout 1 hour. Also, you can take a bullet train (many shifts every day) to Kunshan for less than 15 min and take a taxi to get to Zhouzhuang for about 50 min (36 km). If you drive, it will cost about 1 hour.
From Shanghai – 70 km
You can take a coach (Starting every 30 min) from Shanghai Long-Distance Bus Terminal or other bus stations to reach Zhouzhuang in about 1.5 hours. Bullet trains run very frequently every day from Shanghai to Kunshan, and it needs about 20 min and another near 50 min (36 km) to get to the tourist attraction by taxi. Only about 1 hour and 40 minutes is needed to driving there from the downtown.
From Hangzhou – 150 km
You can take a coach (Starting every 30 min) from Hangzhou Long-Distance Bus Terminal or other bus stations to reach Zhouzhuang in about 2 hours. Besides, you can choose to take a bullet train to reach Kunshan in about 1.5 hours and get on a taxi to go to Zhouzhuang for about 50 min (36 km). And if you drive from Hangzhou downtown, it takes about 2.5 hours.
If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Zhouzhuang with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.
Note: the above information is for reference only, for the detail time and other information of transportation to Zhouzhuang, please contact our Travel Consultant!
Entrance Fee: RMB 100 / person (8:00- 20:00) (Covering 14 spots including Zhang's House, Shen's House, Old Stage, Home of Yifei, Nanhu Garden, Former Residence of Shen Wansan, Former Residen of Ye Chucang, Shen Wansan Underwater Tomb, Culture Street, Chengxu Taoist Monastery, "Fishing Singing on Xianjiang” Museum, Tianfu Museum, and Zhouzhuang Museum)
Boat Tour Fee:
Water lane tour: RMB 150 / boat (1-6 people, single tour)
Wansan Fortune Cultural Tour: RMB 220 / boat (1-6 people; double tour)
Zhouzhuang Round Tour: RMB 50 / person
Jiangnan Pearl Tour: RMB 60 / boat (1-6 people)
Zhouzhuang in All Seasons Show + Zhouzhuang Night Tour: RMB 230 / person
Note: the above information is for your reference only, for the detail fee information in Zhouzhuang, please contact our Travel Consultant!
There are a series very comfortable and fancy hotels and hostels in and around Zhouzhuang town, from Luxurious villas, resort, four-star hotels, to comfort and economy hotels to special themed exquisite inns. You can choose your favorite one to stay and enjoy the distinct feeling of water town.
Zhouzhuang has abundant tasteful food, like the local featured cuisines of pork, beef and fish, chicken, sea food, desserts, and famous Apo Tea (Grandmother Tea), etc. Besides, you can enjoy coffee and western food in the hotels and special western restaurants there.
1. Take rain gears and some mosquito repel especially in summer and take enough clothes because it’s a little cold in the autumn morning and night.
2. Watch out while travel on the boat in case of falling in the water.
3. The ticket is valid for three days, and you can enter and exit the tourist attraction freely after the staff putting your image onto the ticket.
Top 3 Suzhou tours chosen by most customers to explore Suzhou in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Suzhou / Zhouzhuang
Suzhou / Zhouzhuang
Shanghai / Suzhou / Zhouzhuang / Shanghai
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >