Wuzhen Ancient Water Town is sited in Tongxiang, Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province, China. It is only 1.5 hours driving from Hangzhou, or 2 hours driving from Shanghai. Very convenient. Since its foundation in thousand years ago, Wuzhen has never changed its name, location, waterways, or way of life. Traditional buildings remain intact today even after hundreds years of weathering. The numerous canals that flow across Wuzhen divide the ancient water town into four main scenic sections, which are respectively known as Dongzha(东栅), Nanzha(南栅), Xizha(西栅), and Beizha(北栅) by the locals. But usually tourists visit to Dongzha(东栅) or Xizha(西栅) Scenic Area only. Nanzha(南栅) and Beizha(北栅) still belong to residential area of local people. They has not been developed into a tourist attraction yet, and there are quite limited things to see there.
Those who have come to Wuzhen Ancient Water Town know that the entrance ticket of Dongzha and Xizha Scenic Area in Wuzhen is charged separately. You can also buy a combination ticket to visit both of them. Then which part should you visit? Dongzha or Xizha? Please kindly find the difference of Dongzha vs Xizha in Wuzhen Ancient Water Town, which may help with your Wuzhen trip plan.
Dongzha VS Xizha in Opening Hour
Dongzha Scenic Area is open to tourists in 2001, while Xizha Scenic Area is open to tourists in October, 2006.
Dongzha still contains its authentic village style and rich cultural heritage after although being developed into a tourist site. Xizha Sceni Area was developed as the Wuzhen protection Project Phase II. It covers an area of three square kilometers and is adjacent to the ancient Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Tourists need to take a ferry to enter Xizha.
Usually, tourists who book Wuzhen tour through travel agencies would be arranged to visit Dongzha Scenic Area only. It is possible to visit both Dongzha and Xizha in a day, but you need to arrange reasonable your stay in each one.
Dongzha VS Xizha in Wuzhen on Accommodation
If you have enough time, it is suggested to stay one night in Wuzhen, to admire the charming night view of this ancient town decorated with traditional Chinese red lanterns. Wuzhen looks quite attractive at night when all the red lanterns are lighted on. Both Dongzha and Xizha offer hotel accommodation for tourists.
Xizha has few local residents and has instead given over to accommodation for tourists. The homestay or guest houses are managed by Wuzhen Tourism Development Company, not by the owners of houses. The price is unified and a little expensive. But the facilities in homestay or guest houses may be more considerate and comfortable.
Dongzha maintains the basic original layout while Xizha has been reconstructed to reproduce the ancient appearance of the water town. There are some local residents living in Dongzha. And the homestay or guest houses are owned by the local residents themselves, not by the tourism company. The price is much cheaper, and you can even do bargaining with the owner.
Dongzha VS Xizha in Wuzhen on Sightseeing
Dongzha is more suitable for visit to get to know the local fold customs and culture. Most of historic and cultural sites of Wuzhen Water Town is in Dongzha Scenic Area, including Ancient Bed Museum, Folk Customs Museum, Wine Distillery Workshop, Shadow Play,Indigo Fabric Workshop(Wuzhen East Scenic Zone), etc.. The biggest highlight of Dongzha is the folk performances, such as shadow plays, martial arts performances, Huagu Opera on boats, and bamboo pole climbing.
Xizha Scenic Area is more like Lijiang Ancient Town in Yunnan. There are a lot of hotels, bars, souvenir shops, etc.. But there are some historic sites for you to explore, such as Water Market, Wedding Museum, Chinese Footbinding Culture Museuum, Heal Town Pharmacy, Yida Silk Workshop, Indigo Fabric Workshop (Wuzhen West Scenic Zone), Chinese Footbinding Culture Museum, etc..
You will find the Dongzha is intereting, but Xizha is positive charming with modern entertainment.