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Visiting the "water towns" near Shanghai

Visiting the "water towns" near Shanghai

Feb 23rd, 2007, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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withkids - I hope someone else can give you more detailed answers, as information I'm giving you are 2nd hand stuff from my parents (who went to the area twice in the last 3 years), and from reading my maps and timetables.

But in general, you shouldn't have problem arranging a car and driver(with help from your hotel in Hangzhou or a nearby travel agent) to drive you to Shanghai. I don't know the cost - it'll be more than public transportation, of course, but not prohibitive so. The added flexibility, comfort and time saved may be worth it.
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 09:09 PM
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Thanks for your help. We will contact the hotels on the website and see if we can figure it out.

Thanks for your help!
withkids is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 08:31 AM
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I am bringing this up again in advance of my trip to see if anyone else has opinions about these 3 towns which appear to be the least commercialized of the "water towns."


I would like to do a day trip from Shanghai and am willing to hire a car.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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After consulting my parents, they say either Xitang or Nanxun. Don't go to Tongli, which is too crowded. Nanxun has lots of big houses and estates of silk merchants, and is a favorite of my mom.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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We have been researching this subject as well. I think the two best towns to visit, right now, are Nanxun and Xitang.

As we are flying into Hangzhou, we can take the train to Jiashan and then visit Xitang. We can store our luggage at Jiashan but will probably spend the night in Xitang.

If you are starting in Suzhou, it is easier to get to Nanxun as it is closer to Suzhou.

If you are coming from Shanghai, you can get to either one pretty easily.

As far as which one is nicer, I would love to hear what everyone has to say. It sounds like Rkkwan's mom preferred Nanxun but I would love to hear more about it.
withkids is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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Thanks so much, both of you. Would it be reasonable to visit both on a day trip from Shanghai by car? I would be willing to leave Shanghai early in the morning..would not mind working around the onslaught of tour buses.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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After looking at several maps, we have found Nanxun and Xitang. Nanxun is furthest. One of the tour books say it is 2 - 2 1/2 hours from Shanghai by car although it is only 74 miles away. You could certainly visit both in one day but would need to get an early start.

I am a little confused why it takes so long to get to Nanxun. There may be problems with the roads or you may have to detour. I was wondering if it would make more sense to take the 1 hour train to Suzhou and pick up a car, there. It is only 31 miles south of Suzhou and there may be better roads, although it may end up costing about the same in time, when all is said and done.

We are planning to visit Xitang and possibly spend the night. However, if you come back and prefer Nanxun, we might change our minds. Please give us a trip report on your return.

In the meantime, experts will hopefully respond to these questions. We have done quite a bit of research on Xitang and can see what else we can find for you about Nanxun. The website that Rkkwan provided on Xitang was also very helpful.
withkids is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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By the way, Nanxun, Zhouzhuang, Tongli, Luzhi, Wuzhen and Xitang have applied to be World Heritage sites.
withkids is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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It is very hard to not run into crowds at any of these water towns since they have become so popular. It was a Sunday and Luzhi was so crowded we had to skip it. Less crowded on weekdays.
Shanghainese is offline  
Jul 20th, 2008, 08:28 AM
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To ekscrunchy:

Which towns did you go to on day trips from Shanghai? Which do you recommend?

To ssteve: Where did you go?
CarolSKov is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2008, 11:13 AM
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Carolskov: you can check my web page to find out where we went.

sssteve is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2008, 06:24 PM
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My family and I just visited Xitang a couple of weeks ago. We booked a bus tour at a bus terminal next to Shanghai Stadium, about 9 hours total duration, for 140 yuan per person The bus departed from a station a short walk away. Our ticket included admission to Xitang and its attractions. Xitang is a mix of history museum and tourist town. We did not encounter large crowds, and found the scenery quite beautiful. I still get a pang of hunger for some of the marinated beans sold by street vendors there. There are many shops and restaurants; we had a delicious and inexpensive lunch overlooking the canals. A day trip is probably enough for most people.
Binthair is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Binthair, how long was the bus trip each way, and how long did you stay in the town? We're thinking of doing it by taxi, if the drive might leave enough time to quickly visit another town as well.

And, rkkwan, the website you referenced is out of date. The new site is:

EdEdwards is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2008, 09:55 AM
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The drive took about 1.5 hours each way. We stayed in Xitang about 5.5 hours. I can't imagine doing much more in one day as you will have plenty of walking in Xitang.
Binthair is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2008, 10:24 AM
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By the way, I had difficulty learning anything about dining in Xitang in advance. There appear to be primarily two restaurants that are popular with water views, Qian Tang Ren Jia and Ming Qing Shi Dai (I think this is correct!). We ate at the latter and enjoyed our meal. These restaurants are located across the canal from one another. Near the center of Xitang where two canals intersect like a large "T".
Binthair is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 01:24 AM
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Hi, if you want to go to the nearest town, recommended you to Zhujiajiao. That is very near to Shanghai. Only need to drive few hours from Shanghai city. And stay in one night is a best choice.
Here are the listing of water towns near Shanghai: http://www.shanghaihighlights.com/neighbours/
Sunny9988 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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Carol I went to Xitang and loved it. I ate outside the "old town" in a very low key local place; I went with my driver, who took me to the town from Shanghai..food was excellent and price was very inexpensive. I believe I wrote about it in my trip report....
ekscrunchy is offline  
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