A brief introduction of Xitang
Xitang Ancient Water Town, about one and half hours' drive from Hangzhou or Shanghai, is a beautiful town that seems like a completely different world from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai. The quiet water, handsome bridges, and the reflections in the early morning and the rosy sunset, fishing boats and the glistening lights in the evening, form an amazing picture full of a sense of poetry which can only be seen in the south lower reaches of the Yangtze River. People in Xitang, whether local residents or travelers, feel that this is fairyland. They even have no idea as to whether people are wandering in the picture or the picture is moving in their hearts. This is Xitang, a charming, ancient water town. Mornings in Xitang bring fresh air and light fog; during the evening, the setting sun casts a rosy glow on the old tiled roofs. It truly is a world away. Something that makes Xitang so special is the number of bridges. There are 104 in total, built in varying styles spanning the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Some looks like rainbows over the river and others like long flutes. Life for Xitang locals is calm and easy, full of comfort and peace, no difference from the lifestyle of their ancestors thousands of years ago. The elderly play with their grandchildren on the bridges and in the lanes, and women wash vegetables and clothes in the rivers running beside their houses. If you need a break from the stresses of Shanghai, there's really no better place to chill out and experience the quieter side of Chinese life.
History of Xitang
Old Town of Xitang is a famous town with thousands of years of history. As early as the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods (770 B.C. - 221 B.C.), it was a place of strategic importance on the boundary between Wu and Yue States, and it was thus known as the Bottom of Wu and the Corner of Yue. During the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), it developed into a prosperous town, and during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911), it was known as an important town for commerce and handicrafts in South China.
What to see
The Covered Corridor
The covered corridor is the most well-known scene in Xitang. It is also the most distinctive feature this historic town offers compared with other water towns. Consisting of many sections, the whole covered corridor is more than 1,000 meters (about 1094 yards) long, attracting visitors from all over the world with its particular charm. Mostly, it is tile-roofed and built along the riverside, providing shelter for people to avoid either the baking hot sun or the rain. So, while walking in Xitang, you can never be caught in the rain or exposed to the searing sun. One section of the corridor is the most elegant, with its carved decorative patterns that are praised by tourists as being the height of artistic perfection. High-back davenports are situated on one side of the covered corridor, along the river, where passersby can rest. Walking along the corridor, watching the boats in the river, you will feel drawn into the meditation of the past.
Besides the covered corridors, the lanes here are a must-see. There are many lanes here, long and short, wide and narrow. Some are dark all the year round; some are simply the drain of two families; most of them were the main artery of the town in the old days. Among all the different lanes, the narrowest is about 80cm (about 31 inches) wide and provides space for only one person to pass through at a time. The lanes are like ropes connecting the whole town into an organic net and no matter from which point you start, you can find any other place in the town. Amazing, isn't it?
The bridges to the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River are like the hyperlink to the internet. They are indispensable not only in terms of convenience but also in terms of beauty. Waterways are interwoven in Xitang, so it is not surprising that many bridges cross over the rivers. Here the creative shapes of bridges are very different from each other. What's more, beautiful legends about these bridges are still spread among the people. The craftsmanship of these well-preserved bridges is so masterly that they are indeed a feast for your eyes. Exquisite bridges dot the mirror-like rivers one after another, like flaring clusters of diamonds on the neck of the old town.
In the old town of Xitang, people who live there are not rich, so no newer modern houses have been built there. That's maybe one of the reasons why the old constructions are preserved as a whole almost without damage. In those archaic houses, besides the culture and value of the houses themselves, there are also displays of cultural relics or woodcarvings or eaves tiles collected by the house owner. To this day there are exhibitions of the ancient rare books of the owners passed down from generation to generation or rubbings from a stone inscription of a famous calligrapher.
Enjoy the simple lifestyle
Xitang is also attractive because of the easygoing lifestyle that local residents have followed for thousands of years. Unlike the towns of Ancient Town of Zhouzhuang and Ancient Town of Wuzhen, Old Town of Xitang is not a bustling place. People in the town live ordinary, peaceful lives. The elderly play with their grandchildren on bridges and in lanes, and women wash vegetables and clothes in the rivers running beside their houses. The simple lifestyle and peaceful atmosphere may have died out in those now commercialized ancient towns, but they fill every lane in Xitang. For tourists from modern metropolises, Xitang is a place to experience a feeling of simplicity and leisure.
From Shanghai to Xitang: Special Travel Bus Line: In Shanghai, you can wait in the Travel Collecting and Distributing Center of Shanghai (address: under the No. 5 escalator of Shanghai Stadium (waiting hall of traveling route)). Here the bus will deliver at 08:35 am (every day, including the guide service) and return at 16:30 pm or it will deliver at 09:00 am (only weekend, excluding the guide service) and return at 16:00 pm.
Hangzhou to Xitang: a) At Hangzhou Jiubao Distance Bus Station, bus departs at 6:50 am, 09:25am, 11:20am, 1:50 pm. Price: 37RMB/ per person.
The price of scenic spots
CNY 100 (tickets include both the scenic region and 11 sightseeing spots);
CNY 50 (tickets for the scenic region only)
Opening Hours: Whole day
Tour The Xitang Water Town with Hangzhou Private Tour
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Xitang Water Town is located in the Jiashan County, around 120 km from Hangzhou City. It is one of the six most famous water towns in South China. 9 rivers converge in this town, dividing it into 8 sections, but many bridges link this water town together. Inside the town, there are many well-preserved architectural groups constructed during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
By High-Speed Train:
If you travel alone, you can take the high-speed rail from Hangzhou east railway station to Jiashan south station, there are 28 high-speed trains from Hangzhou passing through Jiashan every day. The journey takes around 35 minutes. The first train departs at 07:06 and the last train departs at 20:20.Then take the bus to Xitang Water Town.
If you want a more comfortable way to go there, you can ask a travel agency or hotel to rent a car for you, which will take about 1.4 hours for one way.
There are two bus terminal where you can take the bus to Xitang. 1. Hangzhou Jiubao Passenger Terminal, the last bus is 6:15pm. 2. You can take the bus from Hangzhou East Bus Station to reach Jiashan County first, then take the local bus to Xitang Water Town.
Xitang Water Town will open from 08:00-17:00 all day, the ticket is 100RMB/per person for entrance ticket. If you want to see the Night View, the ticket will be 50RMB/per person, and 20RMB/per person for boat cruise.
Taking tourist bus or private transfer is the best way to visit Nanxun from Hangzhou. It takes around 1 hour 40 minutes to get there. As for the high speed train, you can reach at Jiashan station, then take about 1 hour Jiashan public bus to Xitang water town. If you are confused about the public transportation and want to enjoy the hassle free tour, you can book a private transfer with Hangzhou local tour company.
Xitang water town is not very big, one day will enough for the water town sightseeing. It takes around 2 hours from Hangzhou downtown to Jiashan county, you will have 3-4 hours to visit the gardens, museum, ancient buildings, experience the traditional boat ride along the grand canal. You can stay longer at Xitang water town for the night scenery, to relax yourself at the local bar street.
There are some famous dishes in Xitang Water Town, including Braised Baisi Fish, Yellow Rice Wine, Bazheng Cake, “June red” crab, water bean curd, meat braised with lotus, etc. Many hotels can offer nice dining condition with comfortable atmosphere. You can try lots of snacks when you walk around the town and find a restaurant along the riverside to enjoy the delicious food as well as the scenery.
Both are the famous, authentic water towns near Hangzhou & Shanghai. If you travel from Hangzhou, Wuzhen is close to Hanghou. Xitang water town is less crowded and popular for the young people and family, it has a coloful night life. Wuzhen is bigger but crowded since it has a great repution, the World Internet Conference held here, a traditional & modern water town in China.
There are starred Hotels & Waterfront Hostels in Xitang water town. There are many starred hotels in Xitang. Compared with those in big cities, their rooms are simpler, reflecting the water town’s characteristics. The most popular is Xitang Holiday Inn (three-star), near the Water Town entrance. These hostels are built on the waterfront, so the beautiful scenery outside the windows is their distinctive feature, despite their plainness otherwise. They are cheaper than starred hotels. Normally, the cost for one night will be 200RMB-400RMB, the rate will be higher during the weekends and holidays.
Xitang does not have motorized traffic, for motor vehicles are prohibited. The only available transport is by boat or on foot when you go to visit Xitang scenic area. The water town with many water way, narrow alley & stone bridge, so it is not such convenient to use the wheelchair inside the town. You can try to do the boat ride if you have walking problem.
Xitang has different highlights in different seasons. April and May when the flowers, are the most romantic months. And July is the best month for tasting crab. Most rain falls between September and November. Besides, there are far fewer tourists in December and January, so those two months are ideal for those who like to travel in relative peace.
Duration：5 - 6 Hours
Attractions(Cities)：Wuzhen Water Town
Tour Style：Expected to enjoy a local culture and life experience trip on this full-day guided Wuzhen water town from Hangzhou. Wuzhen is one of top six famous ancient towns in China, it's full of classic bridges, canals and elegant residences in the Jiangnan style. Accompanied by your knowledgeable guide, you canstroll along the stab-stone path, explore its ancient appearance with houses made of black bricks and gray tiles contrasting sharply with the white walls, it will make you feel that you are in the Chinese ink wash drawing. Taking an awning boat for getting an insight of the charm of the ancient town is an fantastic experience.
Duration：3 Days, 2 Nights
Attractions(Cities)：The West Lake(including boat cruise on the lake), Guo Garden, China National Tea Museum, Dragon Well Tea Plantation (Meijiawu Tea Village),Six Harmonies Pagoda, The Song Dynasty Imperial Street, Six Harmonies pagoda, Fish Viewing At Flower Pond...
Tour Style：Hangzhou is both ancient and modern, it has its distict charm. Tens of millions of tourists visit Hangzhou each year. Book this three-day private flexible tour, you can beat the tickets lines at each attraction and save yourseld a world of transport hassels. This tour is composed of the essences of this city, accompanied by your knowledgeable guide, you'll visit West Lake (The landmark of Hangzhou), Lingyin Temple (Oldest & biggest temple in southerneast China), Longjing Tea Village with tea plantation, beautiful Guo Garden and tranwuil Wuzhen Water Town, etc. You'll not only get an insignt to the rich history and culture of Hangzhou, but learn about old Hangzhou people's life.
Attractions(Cities)：Xitang Water Town
Tour Style：110 kilometers away from Hangzhou (about 2 hours'drive). Xitang is a living ancient town with a history more than one thousand years and also the birthplace of Wu and Yue culture. The old Chinese architecture contrasted with the natural beauty of its surroundings is what makes Xitang a pleasure of a place. Explore this completely different world from Hangzhou with our local private guide.
Attractions(Cities)：Nanxun Water Town
Tour Style：Nanxun Water Town shares the typical features of other southern water towns: arched bridges, canals, narrow lanes, and old houses. Silk was the product which brought enormous fortune to merchants in the town. If you're longing for the magic of ancient China, take a trip to Nanxun water town back in time from Hangzhou on this private one day tour.
Attractions(Cities)：Nanxun Water Town,Little Lotus Garden,Baijianlou,Liu's Family Compound,Zhangshiming's Former Residence,Wedding Performance on the Water
Tour Style：Book a day trips from Hangzhou to Nanxun water town, you can enjoy exploring the old alleyways and streets of this unique place. Picked as No.1 water town to visit with westerners, Nanxun is very different with other towns for views. The well-preserved traditional buildings and picturesque scenery make it special and lovable. The buildings with white walls and gray roofs stretch along the ancient canal which divides the town into two parts.
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