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Free day in Shanghai - want to see village life

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We (my husband and 2 teenagers) are visiting Shanghai in April. We will have a guide to visit the Jade Buddha Temple, Yu Garden, Old town and Zhujiajiao Water Village. We will be visiting Xian for 2 days and Beijing for 5 nights. Almost all of this is city sightseeing. Is there anywhere we could travel to outside of Shanghai on our own by train that might give us a better understanding what village life is? My guide recommended Hanghzou but thought we would really struggle with the language getting around. Ideas? Thoughts?

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