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Zhouzhuang
Avg.Score:
 
3.0
Dining:
 
2.9
Entertainment:
 
2.7
Hotels:
 
2.9
Scenery:
 
3.0
Shopping:
 
3.4
Transportation:
 
3.1

One of the finest of the water towns within easy day-trip range of Shanghai or Suzhou, Zhouzhuang (Zhōuzhuāng, 周庄) boasts a stock of Ming, Qing and even Yuan Dynasty buildings that comprise some 60% of its total architectural heritage. Willow-lined canals flow past houses with whitewashed walls shaded by grey-slated roofs and carved, curving wooden eaves. From the right vantage points, the view isn't all that different from what Marco Polo might have seen on his visits to this part of China.

A small place, Zhouzhuang is worth a leisurely day of strolling over its historic arched bridges like the Twin Bridges, its cobbled lanes, taking a boat tour of the canals (RMB 100 or RMB 150 for the Shen Wansan boat tour) and visiting centuries-old treasures like the merchant villas the Zhang Residence and Shen Residence; Quanfu Buddhist Temple; South Lake Garden (Nán Hú Yuán, 南湖园); and Chengxu Temple. There's also a fine museum featuring examples of traditional regional crafts and fishing implements.

Note that entry to the town, including most attractions, is RMB 100 for the day (or RMB 80 after 4pm). If you plan to spend a couple of days make sure to tell the ticket vendor who will direct you to an office to get a scan. They'll sit you down and take your picture, which will be printed on the ticket for verification the next day.

Zhouzhuang map (English version)

Zhouzhuang map (Chinese version)

Tour Zhouzhuang
Jiangsu guide | Zhouzhuang attractions
Zhouzhuang flights (Shanghai) | Zhouzhuang hotels
Zhouzhuang on the China Travel Blog

History

Zhouzhuang grew wealthy during the Ming Dynasty, profiting from its position on the Jinghang Canal. As the area prospered, the town became a favorite spot for merchants, scholars and officials to build extensive garden residences, several excellent examples of which can be toured today: the sprawling Zhang and Sheng Residences make it clear that the Ming aristocracy had it pretty good. In the late 1980s, the town was opened up to tourism, and it was declared a UN World Heritage site in 1998.

Climate

Spring and fall are the best times to visit Zhouzhuang, with moderate rains and temperatures making for pleasant outdoor weather. April and May see high temperatures in the mid-teens and 20sºC (60s and 70sºF ) and moderate precipitation. September is nice and October is brilliant, with little rain and highs ranging from the about 15-24ºC (70-84ºF). Summers are hot and muggy, with August highs reaching well into the 30sºC (90sºF), and winters chilly and damp, with lows occasionally dipping below freezing.

Tour Zhouzhuang
Jiangsu guide | Zhouzhuang attractions
Zhouzhuang flights (Shanghai) | Zhouzhuang hotels
Zhouzhuang on the China Travel Blog