Top 1 Zhouzhuang
Location: 60KM from Shanghai to the east; 40KM from Suzhou to the west;
Zhouzhuang is located within Kunshan county-level city, 30 km southeast of Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Zhouzhuang is a cluster of ancient towns dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, where narrow flagstones lead to shady, tranquil lanes, and bridges constructed in various styles bestraddle the rivers running though these towns.
The town is surrounded and divided by lakes and rivers, 14 stone bridges cross the rivers, showing distinctive views of the water town. Twin Bridges are the most famous as considered the symbol of the town. Along the rivers are local-style houses, fields and twisting lanes, which adding a further touch of charm to this ancient town.
Top 2 Xitang
Location: 11 kilometers from scenic spots to downtown Jiaxing city
In the north of Jiashan County, zhejiang province, Xitang is an ancient town with peaceful and beautiful environment. It features flat terrain, crisscrossed rivers, numerous, bridges, lanes and ceiling corridors.
Ceiling corridors are the most special scene in Xitang construction. These corridors were originally built to make convenience for the residents trading on boats by the side of the rivers. Each shop has a ceiling over the stone-slate road in front of its own house, and the ceilings connect with one another to form corridors. The longest ceiling stretches 1,300 meters, like a silk belt winding along the river.
Another feature of Xitang is the ancient architecture which was well-preserved from the Ming and Qing dynasty. There are a total of 122 lanes, long and short, wide and narrow. Five of them are longer than 100 meters. Among all the lanes, Shipi lane is the most famous.
Top 3 Tongli
Location: 27 Km from Szuhou
Tongli is an aged town located a short drive from Suzhou. Tongli is over 1000 years old and has only recently been changed into a tourist attraction. The town is characterized by stone bridges and well preserved ancient architecture including private gardens, temples and houses.
15 small river lanes crisscrossed the town, over which spans around 49 stone bridges in variety of styles. Bridges are important parts of the town. The most famous bridges among the 49 bridges in Tongli are the three bridges called Taiping (peace), Jili (luck) and Changqing (celebration) bridges. Whenever there is an important occasion, such as wedding, people would like to walk through the three bridges, which is supposed to bring peace, fortune and happiness in their lives.
Buildings well preserved from the Ming and Qing dynasties standing by the rivers fill the town. The traditional gardens are well worth seeing. The Tuisi garden makes a good example. In the garden, pavilions, terraces, halls, rockeries, ponds and other elements of the garden were harmoniously integrated together.
Top 4 Wuzhen
Location: located in Tongxiang City (county) north, 17 kilometers away from the urban area
Wuzhen, located in the north of zhejiang province, is embraced by the Beijing-Hangzhou grand canal with rivers and canals crisscrossing the whole town. For hundreds of years, its residents have been building houses along the rivers and trading near the bridges. The ancient docks, waterside pavilions, and corridors stretch out for miles and erect a romantic atmosphere that is typical to Jiangnan water towns.
Wuzhen boasts its prosperous past and simple lifestyle. Tongxiang's unique folk custom, such as boxing boat, shadow play and gathering pilgrim, show the rich tradition of the locality. Wuzhen is famous for its natural beauty and many talented people in history. If boating around the water network, or lingering in the lanes one can always feel the serenity, peacefulness, and subtle beauty of the Jiangnan water town.
Top 5 Luzhi
Location: in Kunshan city, about 25 kilometers away from Suzhou
Luzhi ancient town is in Kunshan city, about 25 kilometers away from Suzhou. The town is around 1 square kilometer. It has a long history of more than 2,500 years.
The town is characterized by small water lanes, stone bridges and the riverside ancient buildings. There are in all about 41 well preserved ancient stone bridges of different styles and size. These highly distinctive bridges include multi-arched big bridges, solo-arched bridges, well-ornamented and twin bridges with the two bridges look almost the same.
Top 6 Nanxun
Location: about 120 kilometers to the west of shanghai, 65 kilometers to the south of Suzhou and 125kilometers to the north of Hangzhou
Nanxun is about 120 kilometers to the west of shanghai, 65 kilometers to the south of Suzhou and 125kilometers to the north of Hangzhou. For centuries, Nanxun has been home to many famous Chinese scholars. The rich cultural atmosphere in the town has nourished generations of Nanxun’s literates.
Nanxun is soaked in ancient culture. It has been home to the locals for more than 700 hundreds years. People in Nanxun have created a unique lifestyle and culture in this fertile land. Amazingly, Nanxun people still live in their centuries-old houses, practice ancient custom. It seems modern lifestyle touch little in this ancient town. Nanxun is beautiful in natural scenery. Beautiful gardens scatter around everywhere in the town.
Top 7 Mudu
Location: west of Suzhou
Mudu differs from standard waterside towns in this region of the Yangtze Delta in that it is the only ancient garden town in the region. These gardens are well restored and include the Yan-Family Garden, the Old Pine Tree Garden, and Bangyan Villa. They are great for wandering around with their river setting, bridges and lush vegetation.
Mudu is near to the huge Lake Tai and Grand Canal, providing an option for getting here by boat. The Grand Canal goes from Beijing to Hangzhou (1,800kms), slicing through gorgeous countryside and is good for boating. Visitors can spend days exploring Lake Tai, with its islands, wildlife, and surrounding villages.
Top 8 Zhujiajiao
Location: Zhujiajiao Town, Qingpu District, Shanghai
Zhujiajiao Town is the best preserved town in the suburbs of Shanghai. Villages and fairs first sprung up during the Three Kingdoms period, 1,700 years ago, and during the Wanli Reign of the Ming Dynasty, it developed into this flourishing town, with a sizable population and booming businesses.
In Zhujiajiao Town, traditional-style streets, markets and architecture of the Ming and Qing dynasties are well preserved, and certain traditional crafts have been restored. Aboard the black-awning skiffs floating along the canal, fishermen ply their hauls, while country girls dressed in bright colors pick water chestnuts.
There are many small eateries in the town selling local specialties such as chestnut-and-pork Zongzi (a pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice, wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves), smoked green soy beans, and pickled vegetables, all cooked in the accustomed, centuries-long manner.