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Top Water Towns in China

What the Chinese call "water towns" generally refers to "water towns in the south of the Yangtze River" mainly including Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shaoxing, Suzhou, Yangzhou, Wuxi and other places. Because of its warm environment, abundant rainfall, and numerous rivers and lakes, the region of southern Yangtze River has always been the richest land of fish and rice in China which has formed a Southern Yangtze River Water Towns. Following the paces of Top China Trave to explore the  Top Water Towns in China.
Top Water Towns in China

Zhouzhuang Water Town

Located about 45km to the southeast of Suzhou, Zhouzhuang is considered to be the “No.1 Water Town” in China. As a typical water town, Zhouzhuang has a long history of over 900 years and renowned for its profound Wu Culture, unique architectural tradition and unspoiled folk custom, etc.  It was entitled one of the Famous Historical and Cultural Town of China in 2003. In 2004, it was listed in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.


Famous attractions inside the town: Former Residence of Wansan Shen, Fuan Bridge, Shen’s Mansion, Hounded House
Top Water Towns in China - Zhouzhuang Water Town

Wuzhen Water Town

Wuzhen Water Town is located at the north of Tongxiang City, Zhejiang Province, 80 kilometers away from Hangzhou and Suzhou, and 140 kilometers away from Shanghai. Wuzhen is an ancient town in the south of the Yangtze River with a history of 1300 years. The cross-shaped inland river system divides the town into four blocks in the southeast, northeast and northwest, which the locals call "Dongzha, Nanzha, Xizha, and Beizha" respectively. Dongzha Water Town has a complete landscape and a strong atmosphere of life. Handicraft workshops and traditional shops have their own characteristics, as well as a dazzling array of characteristic exhibition halls. There are a large number of ancient buildings in the Ming and Qing dynasties and old street lanes in Xizha Block.

Famous attractions inside the town: Former Residence of Mao Dun, Old Street of the West Gate, Wenchang Pagoda
Top Water Towns in China - Wuzhen Water Town

Tongli Water Town

Tongli, one of the six ancient towns in the south of the Yangtze River, was built in the Song Dynasty and has a history of more than 1,000 years. The whole water town is separated by 15 rivers into seven islets, which are connected through 49 ancient bridges. Tongli is reputed for its well-preserved Ming and Qing style architectures, varied shaped old stone bridges and bountiful rivers, while all of which, made it a decent, quiet and picturesque watery town. In 2004, it was listed in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Famous attractions inside the town: Tuisi Garden, Huancui Resort, Gengletang Garden, Woyun Temple
Top Water Towns in China - Tongli Water Town

Xitang Water Town

Rich in historical and natural resources, Xitang Water Town is one of the cradles of Wu and Yue Culture. Lies 85km to the southeast of Suzhou, Xitang is separated by 9 river courses into 8 islets, but 24 time-honored stone bridges connected and reunited all the pieces together.

Peaceful and severs, there are many well-preserved architectural groups constructed during the Ming and Qing dynasties, which boast a higher artistry and study value, thus being highlighted by the experts at home and abroad studying antique buildings. 

Famous attractions inside the town: Xiyuan Garden, Wolong Bridge, Temple of Sir Jin, Shipi Lane, Chinese Spirits Museum
Top Water Towns in China - Xitang Water Town

Zhujiajiao Water Town

Zhujiajiao is located on the southwest part of Shanghai, endowed with another elegant name - 'Pearl Stream' - the little town is the best-preserved among the four ancient towns in Shanghai. With a history of more than 1,700 years as a bustling commercial centre due to its convenient water transport. Meanwhile, its superb natural scenery makes it a famous tourist site since ancient times. “One Hill, One Lake” is the outlay of its beauty. 

Stone bridges, bluestone paved paths, old temples, delicate gardens, narrow lanes, etc. are words to outline the features of this town.

Famous attractions inside the town: Dianshan Hill, Dianshan Lake, Fangsheng Bridge, Grand North Street, Baoguo Temple
Top Water Towns in China - Zhujiajiao Water Town

Luzhi Water Town

Lies 23 km to the north of Suzhou, Luzhi Water Town is a typical ancient watery town renowned for its old folk houses, Arhat Statues of Baosheng Temple and ancient business street, etc. Luzhi also enjoys a reputation of “land of bridges” as it well preserved over 41 varied shaped stone bridges, dating back from Song Dynasty (960-1279) to Qing Dynasty (1636-1911).

Puli was the ancient name of Luzhi Water Town. An old poem 'Scene of Puli' is still an accurate description of the scenery in the ancient town Luzhi today. It reads, 'Long bridge short bridge with willows; Front stream rear stream with lotus; People watching banner over wine store risen; Seagulls escort boat to home of fishman.'

Famous attractions inside the town: Baosheng Temple, Ancient Business Street, Chenghu Lake Unearthed Cultural Relics Museum

Top Water Towns in China - Luzhi Water Town

Nanxun Water Town

Nanxun Water Town enjoys superb natural environment, and Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou three cities are apart from all about 100 km. With a history of more than 900 years, Nanxun Water Town is rich in historical relics, which bestow this peaceful water town with profound cultural connotation, like time-honored silk industry, delicate gardens and well-preserved folk houses, etc. Nanxun is not only a watery town, but more like a perfect combination with cultural core, business mind and water-like romantic gesture and manner. 

Nowadays, Nanxun becomes one of the tourist boom towns. With cultural and regional advantage, it is an ideal destination for leisure, vacationing and sightseeing.

Famous attractions inside the town: Bai Jian Lou Building (A Hundred Buildings), Little Lotus Manor, Former Residence of Zhang Juming
Nanxun water town

Jinze Water Town

Located in Qingpu District, Shanghai, Jinze Water Town is a unique water town with a history of over 1,300 years. It renowned for its crisscross waterways, but mostly for its bridges, not on the number but for time-honored bridges with different shapes and varied usage, thus it is entitled the “No.1 Bridge Town” of the southern Yangtze area.
Jinze Water Town is also a famous Buddhist site that owns the grandest Yihao Temple of the area. So differ with other water towns, it is a town with a little more dignity. The best way to experience Jinze is to attend some worship activities and special festival ceremonies.

Famous attractions inside the town: Yihao Temple, Tianhuang Pavilion, Puji Bridge, Yingxiang Bridge, Puqing Bridge
Top Water Towns in China - Jinze Water Town

Mudu Water Town

Mudu Water Town, an ancient town with a history of over 2,500 years, is located only 12km to the west of Suzhou, just next to famous Taihu Scenic Site. As one of the most famous ancient town of south Yangtze, Mudu water town enjoy superb geographical environment and rich in rich natural resources.

More than 10 outstanding well-preserved private gardens make this watery town the unique Garden-like town in China. Enjoys superb geographical environment, since some hundreds of years ago, it was the most bustling trading port of west Suzhou. Years gone by, Mudu still kept its manner and features.

Famous attractions inside the town: Yan’s Garden, Hongyin Mountain House, Shantang Street, Lingyan Mountain, Tianping Hill
Mudu -ancient town
Above water towns are the most famous water towns in China which can be easily reached from Shanghai, Suzhou or Hangzhou. You may visit one or two of them to witness how the local life in water town looks like, but no more. Almost all the water towns/water villages looks the same. There is no need to visit all of them, just one or two of them that you like the most.

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