Venice in China

Wuzhen ancient watertown

Wuzhen ancient watertown

Shanghai is surrounded by many ancient watertowns and so after talking to some locals, I decided this morning to visit Wuzhen & Hangzhou.  I took the train in Shanghai HongQiao Railway station to TongXiang (50Y – 40 minutes) than the bus K282 to Wuzhen (5Y – 20 minutes)  Finally a free shuttle from the new town of Wuzhen (No. 350 – 5 minutes) to the West Scenic Gate where the entrance fee was 120Y.

Wuzhen ancient watertown

Wuzhen ancient watertown

Wuzhen is a 1300 year old water town on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, located in the centre of six ancient towns & right in the center of the triangle Shanghai, Hangzhou & Suzhou. The watertown displays its history in its ancient stone bridges floating on mild water, its stone pathways between the mottled walls and its delicate wood carvings.  The ancient Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal flows through the town, which is divided by waterways into four areas… Dongzha, Xizha, Nanzha and Beizha.

Lee @ Wu Shan night market

Lee @ Wu Shan night market

Since its foundation in 872 A.D., Wuzhen has never changed its name, location, waterways or way of life. Its traditional buildings have survived hundreds of years of weathering but remain intact today.  The only ‘sad’ thing is that it’s presented as an attraction now with entrance fees, hawkers, souvenir shops, … losing quite of it’s authenticity.

Lee's place in Zhijiang

Lee’s place in Zhijiang

I strolled around for a few hours before I went back to the bus station in the new town to catch the bus to Hangzhou (50 Y – 1h15) where I met my host the same evening.  Lee, a young science teacher in the primary school of Hangzhou, took me right away to the Wu Shan night market, where we walked around and had some nice street food.  Afterwards we drove to Zhijiang, a small rural village in the outskirts of Hangzhou.  Lee lived here in a lovely house with her parents, her younger brother & her 2 dogs Wowo & Xiao Er.

Liying temple

Liying temple

The next morning,  Lee made me some Zong Zi as breakfast, drove along the Tianzhu mountain, the village of Meijiawu – famous for it’s tea – & dropped me off at Liying before she went to her students.  Lingyin is known as ‘Buddhist Kingdom in the Southeast’  with pretty hills, clear springs & streams as well as green trees.  In this natural scenic area nestles the oldest temple in Hangzhou, the Lingyin Temple & is today still the most important spot for Buddhist activities in the Southeastern coastal areas of China.  Other landmarks in the area are The Monastery, the Statues of Feilaifeng Peak, the carvings of Eminent Monks, …

Lanvin @ West lake

Lanvin @ West lake

When I left Lingyin, I met Lanvin, a Chinese/French guy who lived in France but was here in holiday as well.  We decided to rent some bikes and cruise around the West Lake, snapping shots and enjoying the lake & mountain views.  Lee joined us later after her classes.  In the evening, they introduced me to another local dish, Xiao Long Bao being some small kind of ‘ravioli’.

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Comments
4 Responses to “Venice in China”
  1. stephsoul says:

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