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Visit to Tongli Water Town

Tongli Ancient Town is located in Wujiang, Suzhou, 18 km from Suzhou and 80 km from Shanghai, surrounded by 5 lakes. The rivers divide this ancient town into 7 islands. It is said that there are 15 rivers like a mesh in the town with 49 bridges. Every house stands along side water. It is worthy of its name as a water town. Tongli is one of the top 6 ancient towns in area of Yangtze River Delta. There are many narrow lanes and ancient buildings of Ming and Qing Dynasty preserved in this small town. Since there aren’t too many tourists normally, it feels quiet and peaceful. The buildings are illuminated by the lights at night, it looks fairly wonderful.

Tongli Water Town

The sightseeing area in the ancient town is not very large, with about 3 km in perimeter. Therefore, tourists often choose to visit this town on foot. Besides, tourists can also take rickshaw tour, which may cost CNY15 per person for a round. Absolutely, there are boating tours in this water town. It includes the ancient town and Luoxingzhou Isle and costs about CNY70 per person.

The entrance of Tongli Water Town is on the south side of the scenic area. You can see the waterways and bridges everywhere when you walk into the town. The historic unique-shaped Three Bridge (三桥) is just in the center of the old town. The entrance fee of Tongli Water Town includes nine attractions. They are Retreat Garden, Congben Hall, Jiayin Hall, Wang Shaoao’s Former Residence, Pearl Tower, Pine & Stone Perception Garden, Gengle Hall, Chen Qubin’s Former Residence and Luoxingzhou Isle. The former 7 sites are all scattered in the ancient town. They are small beautiful gardens, celebrities’ former residence or featured exhibition halls, which can be visited when the tourists walk in the ancient town. Luoxingzhou is a small island in the lake on the east side of Tongli Ancient Town, where tourists can worship Buddha. Tourists need to walk the pier from the ancient town for about 20 minutes, then take a ferry to the isle. The boat fare has already been included in the entrance fee. Chen Qubin’s Former Residence is just situated outside the ancient town, opposite to People’s Bridge. It takes about 10 minutes to reach from the ancient town on foot.

Tongli Water Town

When you visit Tongli, we suggest you try the local snacks. There are many distinctive pastries in Tongli , such as sole-shaped shortcake, Gorgon fruit cake, malt cake, ect. Besides, the distinctive sweet-scented osmanthus small ball and braised pork leg also taste delicious. Except the snacks, there are bars, tea houses in the ancient town. In the tea house, tourists can drink tea, listening to Suzhou local opera (Pingtan) for relaxing.

In addition, tourists can watch a stage play “ Water-ink Tongli” at Retrat Garden every night, except Monday night which shows the history and customs of this area. The price is around CNY200-500 per person.

If you want to explore the water town thoroughly, you may choose to stay one night in the town. There are many homestay or characteristic inns in the town, which are at a price of CNY100-200 per room per night. Even though the accommodation in the ancient is distinctive, the facilities are not as good as those hotels outside the ancient town. Where to stay depends on your interests.

Tongli Water Town


1. Then entrance ticket for Tongli Ancient Town is valid for 2 days. If you plan to stay in Tongli for 2 days, tourists need to have the ticket stamped at the passenger center.

2. Tourists can visit each attraction once with the entrance tickets to Tongli. Therefore, it is better to consider whether you want to visit Retreat Garden in the day or at night.

Transportation tips

•Shanghai Departure
1.There is a bus from Shanghai Bus Terminal to Tongli at 9: 40,10: 20,11: 10,12: 00,15: 00,16: 20,17: 10 respectively every day. The bus fare is about CNY34 per person per way.

2.There is a bus from Shanghai Qingpu bus station to Tongli per hour between 06:00 and 15:00 every day. The bus fare is about CNY16.5 per person per way.

3.There are tourist bus lines at Shanghai Stadium and the Shanghai Hongkou Stadium. But bus departs at about 08:30 every day and back from Tongli at 16:30. The bus fare with admission for Tongli Ancient Town is around CNY120 per person. 

•Hangzhou Departure
There is a bus from Hangzhou North Bus Terminal to Tongli at 07:50, 11:20 and 13:20 respectively every day. The bus fare is around CNY55 per person per way. Hangzhou North Station 7 day: 50,11: 20,13: 20 each bus trip, the fare of about 55 yuan.

•Suzhou Departure
There is a bus from Suzhou North Bus Terminal to Tongli every 1-1.5 hours from 06:55 to 17:55 every day. The bus fare is about CNY8 per person per way. Besides, Suzhou day Qijubeizhan 6: 55-17: 55 at intervals of about 1-1.5 hour, the fare of about 8 yuan. A bus goes from Shanghai South Bus Station and Wuzhong District Bus Station to Tongli every 20 minutes. The bus fare is also CNY8 per person.

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