Tours & Tickets
Tongxiang (桐乡) is in northern Zhejiang Province in the Hangjiahu (杭嘉湖) Plain hinterland at the intersection of Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. Tongxiang has a flat terrain, many rivers, and a first-rate natural environment. The historically and culturally renowned town of Wuzhen (乌镇) is in Tongxiang. The residences along the streets of Wuzhen date primarily from the Qing era and are well preserved. Also in Tongxiang are the Former Residence of Mao Dun, the Luojiajiao (罗家角) archaeological site, and other Major Historical and Cultural Sites Protected at the National Level.
Wuzhen is an ancient town with over 1300 years of history. It was the filming location for the popular television drama Si Shui Nianhua starring Huang Lei and Liu Ruoying. The town is full of classic bridges, canals, and many elegant residences in the Jiangnan style particular to the region south of the Yangtze River. Here, a rich variety of culinary specialties abounds in a laid-back setting. This is a prime location for experiencing classic Jiangnan water scenery. Today, Wuzhen has two major scenic areas: East Gate and West Gate, where you can soak in the small-town atmosphere and sample local snacks like stinky tofu, “victory cake” (dingsheng bing), or “sister-in-law cake” (gusao bing). You can visit the historic Zhaoming Library or old post office. Of course, you have to see the town from one of the traditional canal boats, and you can't miss seeing the night-time beauty of West Gate.
More refined and tranquil than East Gate, West Gate contains the essence of Wuzhen. Here, elegant old buildings stand next to the water, creating the classic scenery of a Jiangnan water town with its small bridges and canals. The cafes and small shops dotting its streets and lanes are infused with a cultural and artistic sensibility. A night-time cruise of West Gate on a canal boat is highly recommended. Viewing the Jiangnan water scene in lantern light with the soft sound of the oar in the water is especially enchanting and will keep you enthralled.
Seeing West Gate by night is an entirely different experience from seeing it during the day. Each evening, as the curtains of night descend, the ancient buildings on the riverbank show a new side under the light of multicolored lanterns. The effect of the interchange of old and new makes the experience like entering two different ancient towns simultaneously: one of the motley appearance of days gone by, and the other of modern splendor. The warm lantern light reflects on the water, lending a special beauty to the photographs you take. Floating through the town in a traditional canal boat in the evening is one of the classic experiences of visiting West Gate.
East Gate was the main filming location for the television drama Si Shui Nianhua. Simple ancient residences are spread along the riverbank. Many locals still live here, so it is a great place to experience the local flavor. Stroll the streets, catch a shadow play, and listen to the sounds of flower drums. Experience the atmosphere of life in an ancient town in Jiangnan, the famous region south of the Yangtze River. Experience more of the tranquil life of the water villagers by taking a ride in a traditional covered canal boat after you visit the former home of famous PRC novelist Mao Dun or the tenth-century Taoist temple Xiuzhenguan.