Zhouzhuang is a quaint and historic water town located a couple hours from Shanghai. Trying to find the bus station to take the bus itself was an adventure, as most things are in non-English speaking China. Knowing Mandarin is a must here, and life gets pretty frustrating without it. But with sign language and a LOT of patience, a couple of friends and I found the bus and headed to this pretty little town for the day.
Water towns are all over China and are a very popular tourist destination (for locals as well). It’s great to get away from the pollution of the city and just take in the sights of another time in these water towns. Zhouzhuang is nicknamed ‘Venice of the East’ due to its many canals and the entrance ticket (100 Yuan) includes a gondola ride, along with numerous little museums across the little town. You can explore it all on foot in a couple of hours and then just take a break and relax by the canals. There are numerous bridges that are historic and beautiful.
The town also has loads of eating options where you can try the local cuisine which is of mainly fish. Again, most places in China are not English friendly but luckily most menus have pictures on it so you can sort of guess what you are eating.
After a boat ride on the lake, we spent the day walking through the town and taking pictures of almost everything. This was my first dose of historic China since I arrived in Shanghai and it was a stark contrast to urban life. It was striking to see such a beautiful place that was well preserved.