Located in the north of Tongxiang City, Zhejiang Province, 13km from the city center, Wuzhen, or Wuzhen Water Town is one of the top six ancient towns in South China. It has been praised as a land of abundance since the ancient time. The town was established over 1300 years ago, it’s a typical water town of Jiangna Style (Jiangnan: the region south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River). Wuzhen fully preserves the water town’s style and pattern in the late Qing Dynasty and the Republican period. Little rivers, houses on the two banks, little bridges connecting streets, stone paved alleys, all these compose the most typical Jiangnan stle water town. Wuzhen can be divided into four parts, and the eastern part and the western part are the scenic zones requiring a ticket to visit; while the southern part and northern part is the living quarters for the locals.
East Scenic Zone is located to the east of Shi River. Opened to public as scenic spot in 2001, and now covers an area of 0.9km2. There are six bridges across the river, and the wooden architectures in the north bank compose the main scenery of East Scenic Zone, while south bank only has several architectures. East Scenic Zone is the first developed scenic zone; yet, there are still many local people living here, and most of them change their houses into home inns or restaurants. To explore East Scenic Zone is to enjoy all kinds of traditional folk customs. It is the Famous attractions and performances includes:
Visiting Time: 2 ~ 3 hours
Best Time: morning is the most beautiful time for East Scenic Zone. In the morning, the whole river will be surrounded in a thin mist, local people burn the honeycomb briquette for the day, and everything is just like scenery from the tranquil and poetic Chinese painting. A living ancient town will be awaken in front you.
Compared with East Scenic Zone, the West Scenic Zone is less crowded, more tranquil, more spacious and more beautifully-decorated. It is the paradise combined with water town features as well as relaxation needs. Located to the west of Shi River and the east of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, West Scenic Zone covers an area of 3.4 km2 and the rivers crossing the area reaches over 9km. There are 72 ancient bridges in total in West Scenic Zone, and numerous delicate architectures from Ming and Qing Dynasties spread along the two sides of the 1.8km old street. Different from the east part, West Scenic Zone perfectly combines the sightseeing with relaxing vacation. Except for all kinds of historical sites, manual workshop, exhibition halls, and relaxing places, there are various resort hotels of different prices, too. Famous attractions & performances include:
Visiting Time: 3 ~ 5 hours
Best Time: except for the day view, the night view in here is extremely beautiful. After a delicate arrangement for the lights, night view is more romantic than day view, and it’s great time for photography, and many tourists come to Wuzhen just to see the night view of West Scenic Zone. Take a rowing boat to travel is a great idea. After the sightseeing, order a drink in the small bars along the river and enjoy a leisure time is definitely quite a beautiful time.
The southern part of Wuzhen is not scenic zone but the local living quarter. There are full of all kinds little shops (mainly opened for the local people) and you can experience the original old street life in here. Though it looks clutter comparing the east and west zones, and it’s only composed of a little and narrow alley, the southern part is still a good place to see the original face of Wuzhen and to experience the civil life.
Visiting Time: 0.5 ~ 1 hour
>> 3 Days Best Hangzhou Tour with Wuzhen Water Town (Hangzhou / Wuzhen / Hangzhou)
Feature in subtropical monsoon climate, Wuzhen has a moderate humid climate with a clear distinction among four seasons. Average temperature of the whole year is around 16℃, with 3℃ in January, and the temperature in July is often below 30℃. The most beautiful time of Wuzhen is spring and autumn, and the most beautiful time of the day is morning and dusk. In the morning, there is a thin mist over the river and the scenery at this time is just like a dream. In the dusk, most of the tourists leave, a tranquil town under the sunset glow will appear in front of you.
The busiest time for the local people is after the Tomb Sweeping Day (the 108th day after Winter Solstice in Chinese Lunar Year, normally, it’s April 4th or 5th or 6th in Gregorian calendar). Half to one month after the Tomb Sweeping Day, people will gather at the Incense Bazaar to pray for good fortune and bumper harvest by burning incense, and diverse celebratory activities will also be held during this time.
For most tourists who only take Wuzhen as the side trip of Hangzhou or Shanghai, and only want to spend one day in Wuzhen and not stay overnight here, it’s suggested to travel the West Scenic Zone only. West Scenic Zone is the essence of Wuzhen, and you will need about five hours to visit. Besides, both West Scenic Zone and East Scenic Zone need entrance tickets, so if you have limited time, you can only travel one of them to save some ticket fees.
Normally, in-depth travel will require two days. There are several ways to travel according to your arriving time.
If you arrive at Wuzhen in the morning, visit West Scenic Zone first, and after watching the night view here, heading to East Scenic Zone to stay overnight here (you can only enter the East Scenic Zone after 21:00 for free). Next day, travel around the East section.
If you arrive at Wuzhen before 16:00, buy the combined ticket for the two zones. First visit southern part of Wuzhen (it’s optional, choose according to your preference), they visit East Scenic Zone, and then go to West Scenic Zone and stay overnight in here. Next day, continue to visit West Scenic Zone (notice: the ticket will be expired on the day, however, if you stay overnight in the West Scenic Zone, you don’t have to buy another ticket on the next day).
If you arrive at Wuzhen after 16:00, you can buy the night ticket (¥80) for West Scenic Zone and appreciate the night view here, then stay overnight at here. Next day, after you finish your trip in the West Scenic Zone, you can head to the East Scenic Zone.
80km from Hangzhou and Suzhou and 140km from Shanghai, while 13km from Tongxiang City, there is no airport or railway station in Wuzhen, so the only way to get there is by bus or private car. At present, there are direct coach line between Wuzhen and Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou.
If you take a flight, you can first arrive at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport or Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport or Shanghai Pudong International Airport, and then take coach to Wuzhen Bus Station, and then take local bus K350 to Wuzhen West Scenic Area.
If you catch a train, then you can take high speed train from Shanghai, Hanghzou or Suzhou to get to Tongxiang Railway Station, then take bus K282 to Wuzhen Bus Station, at last, take local bus K350 to get to Wuzhen West Scenic Area.
If you take a private car, it’s about an hour’s drive from Hangzhou and Suzhou to Wuzhen; while from Shanghai, it will take about 1.5 hours.
There are free buses and boats commuting between the East Scenic Zone and West Scenic Zone, though it’s only will take about 10 minutes to walk between the two scenic zones. The free boat is only taking you to the other scenic zone, if you want to take boat or sightseeing bus to travel in the scenic zones, you will pay for it.
Cruise boat in East Scenic Zone: ¥30 for adult, and ¥15 for children under 1.5m, 8 persons a boat, including children.
Cruise boat in West Scenic Zone: ¥60 for adult, and ¥30 for children under 1.5m, 6 persons a boat, including children.
Sightseeing bus in West Scenic Zone: ¥5/person and at most 10 persons a bus, including children.
If you plan to stay overnight in Wuzhen, it’s better to stay overnight in East Scenic Zone or West Scenic Zone, for you can keep touring in the next morning without buying another entrance ticket. There are diverse accommodations in Wuzhen, from 5-star hotels to home inn. Most of the hotels in Wuzhen are managed by Wuzhen Tourism Co., Ltd, especially in the West Scenic Zone, so the hotels have better facilities, and the price of them is higher than home inns. East Scenic Zone has many private hostels and home inns, it’s cheaper than hotels. Of course, it’s better to choose where to stay according to your itinerary.
There are many bars, cafes and even SPA in the West Scenic Zone, great to kill time. However, the most attracting entertainments are the local activities. Drinking a cup of tea and experience the local tea art and culture in Chashi Street; watch Huagu Opera (or Flower Drum Opera), Shadow Play, Martial Art Performance on Boat, and Bamboo Pole Performance on Boat in East Scenic Zone; or just listening to stories in Traditional Story-telling Theatre in Xizha’s West Street.
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