Known as the “No. 1 Water Town in China”, Zhouzhuang Water Town, with a history of more than 900 years, has become a treasure of Eastern culture with its graceful water town style, unique cultural landscape, and plain folk customs. After arriving at Zhouzhuang Town from Hangzhou by high-speed train, your guide will show you around the famous scenic spots including Twin Bridges, Shen House, and Zhang House. Besides, you can take a boat ride through the bridges while admiring the elegant residences on both sides of the river.
1. Take a leisure stroll along the old stone-paved streets and over the Twin Bridges and immerse yourself in a quiet atmosphere.
2. Pay a visit to the Shen House to appreciate its layout and learn about the legend of Shen Wansan, a wealthy businessman.
3. Enjoy a leisurely boat trip winding along elegant rivers to admire white-walled, dark-tiled houses on both sides.
In the morning, our Hangzhou local driver will pick you up from the downtown hotel, and transfer to Hangzhou train station for your high-speed train to Suzhou. The train rides around 2 hours, you can enjoy the high-speed train journey on the way!
Upon arrival at Suzhou station, our local English speaking tour guide and driver will be waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name. Driving around 50 minutes, you will arrive at the amazing Zhouzhuang Water Town.
With a history of over 900 years, Zhouzhuang Water Town is one of the most famous water towns in China. It is located in Kunshan City and quite close to Suzhou and Shanghai. It is very popular with travelers at home and abroad. Some go there for its charming ancient residential houses, and some even stay there for several days to soak in the picturesque scenery and recover themselves from the hectic city life. Your tour guide will take you to explore the following highlights of this fascinating old water town, and you will have lots of fun there.
Twin Bridges refers to Shide Bridge and Yongan Bridge located in the center of Zhouzhuang and is considered as the symbol of the water town. Built in the Ming Dynasty, the two bridges look like an old-style Chinese key (one with round opening and the other with square opening). 30 years ago, the bridges were famous in the world for appearing in the oil painting “Memory of Hometown” by the famed painter Chen Yifei. It is a perfect location to shoot amazing photos and watch local people go about their business.
Old Drama Stage with an area of 4600 square meters is an ancient architectural complex composed of an opera stage, a roundabout building for audience and an exhibition hall. It is amazing that there are 420 carved wooden phoenixes on the vaulted roof of the stage (hence the name “phoenix caisson”), and it serves as an advanced stereo which makes singing more pleasant and helps leave a lingering sound in the audience’s ears. There are Kunqu opera performances every day. You may have chance to experience this ancient Chinese opera.
Shen House was built by Shen Benren, a descendant of the rich businessman Shen Wansan, in the seventh year of Emperor Qianlong (1742) of the Qing Dynasty. This spacious mansion has more than 100 rooms for various purposes, among which Songmaotang Hall is the biggest occupying an area of 170 square meters. This hall was used for receiving guests, and one highlight of it is the two small windows through which young ladies once picked their husbands. You will wander around to appreciate its layout and imagine what the life was like in the past.
Zhang House was built in the Ming Dynasty and originally called Yishuntang. Although it has experienced more than 500 years of vicissitudes, it still retained its splendid look. Different from Shen House, it is a typical ancient official’s home. Its 7 courtyards cover an area of over 1800 square meters with more than 70 rooms richly decorated with carved beams and painted rafters. There’s even a river flowing through the house just like what is described in the couplet in the main hall.
Finishing the relaxing sightseeing, you will be dropped off at Suzhou train station for departure.