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Visiting the "water towns" near Shanghai

Visiting the "water towns" near Shanghai

Feb 18th, 2007, 04:01 AM
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Visiting the "water towns" near Shanghai

I'm planning a 2 week trip to China at the beginning of April. Included in the itinerary is a flight from Guilin to Shanghai and a couple of days in Shanghai. I would like to visit the area of the "water towns" near Shanghai (Suzhou, Zhouzhang, Luzhi, Hangzhou, etc.) and I have a couple of questions.

1. Which of these towns is most worth visiting and which ones are close enough together to visit in one day?
2. Is it best to do a day trip from Shanghai? Or, instead, would it be better to fly from Guilin into one of the larger towns (Zhouzhuang?), tour the area, stay overnight and drive to Shanghai the next day?

If necessary, I can add a day in the Shanghai area.

Thanks in advance for any help.
sssteve is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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Sorry about that - wrong forum !!!
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Feb 18th, 2007, 07:47 AM
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wrong again! right forum, wrong reply.
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Feb 18th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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I may be wrong but I doubt that Zhouzhuang has air services - it's not very big, and from others' reports there seem to be nicer, less touristy water towns anyway. Hangzhou and Suzhou are not usually classified among the "water villages" - Hangzhou in particular is a large city on West Lake. If you're determined on using one of your two (?) days in Shanghai I think Suzhou would be your best bet, but a day trip, though feasible, and cutting Shanghai back to just one day, sounds awfully rushed to me. Shanghai IMO deserves at least a couple of days.

If you use the 'search' box above you'll find quite a few past threads that should help.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 07:47 PM
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Thanks, Neil.

Actually, I have done lots of searches but didn't find an answer to my apecific question. As I said, From what I've read, Suzhou is a big city famous for its gardens and nearby is a smaller town called Tongli which is supposed to be a beautiful "water town" and which hasn't yet been overrun by tourists.
As for Shanghai, I'll probably add a day in order to do a day trip to the Suzhou area. I know there's plenty to see in Shanghai, but I'd rather spend more time in other places.
sssteve is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 07:55 PM
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Actually, we are planning to do something similar.

We are leaving from Guilin and flying into Hangzhou. We will stay in Hangzhou, visit water villages from Hangzhou and then move on to Shanghai. You might want to look at flights direct from Guilin to Hangzhou.

Thanks!
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Feb 18th, 2007, 10:30 PM
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Withkids:

How do you plan to get from Hangzhou to Shanghai? It's 200 KM, which is a long drive but too short for a flight.

I've come to the conclusion that it's best for us to do a day trip from Shanghai to the Suzhou area in order to visit Suzhou and Tongli.

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Feb 19th, 2007, 06:10 AM
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Sssteve, have you considered the "water town" of Nanxun? One of my guidebooks (Frommer's Shanghai) says that this town is less built up and commercialized than Tongli. Since I will be in China at the same time as you, I am wondering about a side trip as well and would like to her opinions of Nanxun from anyone who has been there.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 06:49 AM
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We haven't quite figured it out, yet. There are buses and trains, both of which seem to take about 2 hours.

It looks like a day trip can be done pretty easily from Shanghai to most of these places, if that's your preference. We heard that Hangzhou was a lovely city and thought we would spend a little time there.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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Excrunchy, When's your trip? When will you be in Shanghai?

I hadn't heard about Nanxun until your post, but now I'll look into it.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 10:27 AM
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I will be there in early April; take a look at the guide I mentioned; they also have a web site. It will be my first trip to China outside Hong Kong so I have many questions as well and have received some great advice here.

Let us know if you dig up anything on Nanxun!
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Feb 20th, 2007, 01:35 AM
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I have responded to another question you had in this forum but in relation to Suzhou from Shanghai - the train trip is an easy 45 mins from Shanghai - we did a day trip (we did it ourselves). It was a nice little town - great pagoda. I cannot comment on how it compares to Hangzhou.
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Feb 20th, 2007, 03:41 AM
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Me again -- i commented on your other question about your itinerary. Let me first say that there's no such thing as a place in China that isn't "overrun with tourists". Your best bet is to go on a week day to these places (especially Suzhou).

Hangzhou, and Suzhou are very accessible from SH by train -- recommended over bus or car as you don't have to worry about getting stuck in traffic. Many hotels do daytrips to Suzhou, but I'd recommend a full day in HZ (one overnight stay) so you can see everything. My personal opinion is that if you have the time, do HZ over SZ.

As for water towns, Zhouzhuang is lovely as is Tongly. I've also read really good things about Nanxun in the local press so that might be worth visiting.
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Feb 20th, 2007, 05:33 AM
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HZ vs SZ is a matter of what interests you. The gardens in SZ are just wonderful, but SZ itself is a typical modern Chinese town with little character. HZ is a nicer town, especially down by the lake, but is more about scenery, and the big temple, Lingyin Si.

While you can easily do SZ as a day trip by train, I stayed for a couple of nights, and so was able to visit the Master of Nets garden in the evening. It was lit up, with various Chinese musical performances going on. Touristy but magical.

If you want somewhere less visited by foreigners (but very popular with Chinese) in the Shanghai area, I loved Putuoshan island, but it takes longer to get there.
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Feb 21st, 2007, 05:52 PM
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We are quite interested in this topic, as well. We are planning to fly into Hangzhou and spend the night, the next day and the next night. Then, we would like to visit a water town on the way to Shanghai.

Is there a water town between Hangzhou and Shanghai that we can easily reach? ARe there accomodations anywhere near? Can you leave your luggage at the train station?

Thanks!
withkids is offline  
Feb 21st, 2007, 07:27 PM
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Xitong is between Shanghai and Hangzhou. Wuzhen is also not too far from the main road.
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 05:59 AM
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Thanks. Is there another name for Xitang? We are having trouble finding it on a map.

Also, are there any accomodations near either water town? Can we store luggage at a nearby train station?

Thanks!
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Feb 22nd, 2007, 06:05 AM
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Sorry, correct spelling is Xitang, with an "A". It's just about half-way between Shanghai and Hangzhou, in northeast Zhejiang province. A little to the NW side of the main highway.

Those towns are mostly day-trip material, and it's not convenient to use the train. Get a car/driver to bring you from Hangzhou to Shanghai, and stopped at those towns for a few hours. That's the easiest way to do it.
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Feb 22nd, 2007, 06:07 AM
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Here's the official website:

www.xitang.com.cn/eindexx1.htm
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 05:57 AM
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Thanks for the website. This will be very helpful!

Would it be easy to arrange transportation from Hangzhou to Xitang and onward to Shanghai? I guess we could always just go straight to Shanghai and double back.

I noticed there are hotels. Would it make sense to spend the night in Xitang? Alternatively, if we arrive with our luggage, would they watch our luggage for the day?

Thanks!
withkids is offline  

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