Not far from its bustling centre, Shanghai’s suburbs are dotted with tranquil water towns. Set along the canals that were once used to carry goods all over imperial China, they offer an idyllic and tranquil break from the commotion of the city. Whilst there are many water towns to choose from, we would particularly recommend; Zhujiajiao, Wuzhen and Tongli.
Zhujiajiao is just 30 kilometres from the centre. Built during the Ming Dynasty, a visit to the town is little a step back in time, full as it is with old world charm, red lanterns and drifting wooden boats. Wuzhen is a much smaller water town, dating back to the Tang Dynasty. As a gateway to the Grand Canal, which stretches from Hangzhou to Beijing, Wuzhen was a vital part of the canal network. Tongli, just 18 kilometres south of the city of Suzhou, has existed since the 9th century and is considered one of the most beautiful and authentic of them all. The canalside atmosphere is particularly infectious and there are plenty of sights, including the Retreat and Reflection Garden, Loxing Zhou Lake and the Pearl Tower.
What better way to experience it than on a Wendy Wu tour?