A crisscrossing waterway, which is part of the Beijing-Hangzhou Canal, the longest canal in the world, divides Wuzhen, one of the six famous ancient water towns south of the Yangtze River. For centuries, houses, shops, and markets have been built along the river’s edge, with stone railings, picturesque courtyards, and ancient bridges connecting traditional wood and stone structures. The town’s architecture, infrastructure, and way of life hasn’t changed much over the centuries, making the whole of Wuzhen something of a living, breathing museum, with some areas more aimed at tourists than others.
There’s plenty to see and do on a visit to Wuzhen Water Town, and it’s best enjoyed as a full day tour. A trip will include a ride on a traditional wooden boat, plus a visit to East Street, where many of the town’s attractions are based, such as the Hundred Bed Museum, the Sanbai Wine Workshop, and the Hongyuan Thai dye house. Taking in the traditional artform of shadow puppetry is also a must on a trip to Wuzhen Water Town, and the Huagu Opera, a local drama depicting rural life through lively music and traditional costume, is not to be missed either.
Although Wuzhen Water Town can be enjoyed at any time of the year, spring is a particularly good time to visit, with comfortable temperatures and the spring scenery making it all the more pleasant.
Wuzhen lies conveniently within the triangle formed by Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Shanghai. If not traveling as part of a day tour, take the bullet train to Tongxiang from either of these cities and then take a taxi to Wuzhen.