Wuzhen is the perfect side-trip from Hangzhou or Shanghai, not too far from these cities. I visited Wuzhen from Hangzhou and it just took me a few hours by bus to reach the place. Wuzhen is an historical town with thousands of years of history. The particularity of this town is that a river big enough to be navigated by boat or small ship, crosses the middle of the town, giving Wuzhen the characteristic “Venetian” feel. Well, not so impressive as the Italian town, but still quite pleasant scenery.
The main entrance to the park. You just need to enter and buy the ticket. Then head to the right to enter the complex. Pretty easy. If i remember well the ticket was 160 RMB. We got a half price discount since we got a student ID card, hence got a half price deal.
01. HOW TO GET TO WUZHEN?
- From Hangzhou i recommend getting a bus at Jiubao passenger transport center. The bus departs every half hour or so ( from 7:00 to 18:20), and the ticket cost about 30 CNY. This is the way i went to Wuzhen at it was comfortable.
- From Shanghai is similar. From Shanghai South long distance bus station get a bus to reach Wuzhen. From 7 to 6 PM and cost 51 CNY.
- From Suzhou south bus station, is possible to get a bus to reach Wuzhen.
- Is also possible to take trains and do the same travel, but i feel is more troublesome.
- Taxi, while possible is just too far away for taxi, don’t get rip-off.
- Once at Wuzhen, bus K350 goes to Wuzhen in just 10 minutes. It’s all very well signaled.
- It is possible the hotel ( if you have booked one), will arrange transportation for you. This was my case and made everything much more easier and smooth.
Gorgeous scenery. The boats come and go every minute. So there is plenty of opportunities to photograph them.
The hotels and restaurants inside the town are truly, truly expensive. I would recommend to sleep and eat outside the town. But sometimes there is not choice as we get hungry on the go.
Bridges add a lot to the beautiful scenery.
10 RMB a piece, around 1,5 in USD. A complete ripoff by price, taste was so so…
A Chinese cook, selling snacks. The line to buy them was horribly pushy.
02. WHAT I LIKE AND WHAT IS NICE FROM WUZHEN?
- Cheap yet very good hotels outside the town. Way cheaper than Hangzhou or Shanghai hotels.
- Good sightseeing, even it changed and looks somewhat touristic the town is really picturesque.
- Impressive night scenery. I loved the town at night, the lights and the boats. The mood is fantastic.
- A very different feeling from the big town, this area is much more rustic than the huge metropolis.
- Great for couples, I think the romantic mood is great for traveling couples.
- Hotel staff fluent in English. Many hotel owners speak fluent English around here ( probably not all).
- Hotel provided with car rides. They picked up from and to the bus at the bus station. And also picked us and dropped us of at the Wuzhen town entrance. A total of 4 free car rides, superb.
Once the rain stop the air was very clean and we did enjoy a pleasant walk, with views like this.
There is a free complementary boat ride, but the line to get them was so long we decided to just skip it and get walking.
03. WHAT I DIDN’T ENJOY THAT MUCH
- The much feared crowds. People queuing even to buy no-so-good snacks. I visited during the summer holiday which i think is peak season. So other times of the year might be better.
- Expensive food. I had no choice but to buy food inside the town and everything was so overpriced and with questionable quality.
- Overpriced boat ticket and expensive town entrance ticket. 60 RMB or more for a very short boat trip, 160 RMB for entrance ticket. Not to mention that the hotels inside the Wuzhen town are so expensive.
- Nothing much else to do besides visiting the Water town. So there is no plan B, just leave for other city after you are done visiting the historical water town.
Free complementary boat trip aside, there is a paid boat option, in which the queuing line is much short. But the town isn’t that huge. So walking is always a good option.
Various snacks for sale, i noticed the price’s are rather high. We know is a tourist trap, but the place is very inviting. And you always get hungry on the road. So little choice here :).
04. WHAT TO SEE IN WUZHEN WATER TOWN
- Ancient Bed Museum.
- Folk Customs Museum.
- Indigo Fabric Workshop.
- Wine Distillery Workshop.
- Shadow Play.
Wuzhen also counts with many water pavilion and stone and wooden bridges. Also is worth noting that all the houses are made of wood.
Rain was fierce when we just arrived. Even an umbrella wasn’t of much use, so we just seek cover and waited until the rain stopped.
Waiting for the rain to stop i took some nice pics :).
05. EAST SIDE Vs. WEST SIDE ( No beef ).
So Wuzhen has a West side which is the actual historic old town. And a much newer and wider, touristic-oriented East side. The West side is more recommendable, the canals are narrower and the views are more beautiful. The West side is just more new, spacious, cheaper, and made for the simple purpose of attracting tourist. And to be honest, tourist money. Well, the historic West side has been also heavily reconstructed and modified for the noble purpose of attracting tourists. Nothing new, this also happens in many other “historical” tourist attractions.
WEST SIDE IS REFERRED AS XIZHA, WHILE EAST SIDE IS REFERRED TO AS DONGZHA. ( CHINESE SPELLING ).
A theater inside the town. It really doesn’t fit the “old town” scenery, but oh well.
Alleys out of the main road are much more quite and appealing.
Look for the restaurants out of the main street if you need to, they are much cheaper.
06. IS THE SHOPPING ANY GOOD?
Soon i noticed one thing. This 1300 years historical cultural town is packed with shops!. It always feels strange to see so many shops around when the scenery is, in fairness, quite pleasant to the eye. So is the shopping any good in Wuzhen?. Absolutely not, you end up feeling every shop sells the same “junk”. Some art items are nice, sure, but then when you check the price tag you realize how expensive these items are. Best to do your shopping somewhere else.
Wuzhen town paper lantern detail.
I love lanterns at night, the mood was awesome.
Paper lanterns. At night Wuzhen is very beautiful.
So the night came, and the mood changed. Streets were much less crowded, but the views at night are really great.
07. STAYING FOR THE NIGHT
I did arrive at Wuzhen at around 4 PM. And wander until very late in Wuzhen, ( until 10:30 p.m. if i remember well). Turned out to be a good idea, because the night-views are spectacular. I totally recommend visiting after sunset. After that i stayed overnight in one of the cheap but good hotels outside the town. Staying 1 night is enough to see this place, 2 nights in my opinion would be over-kill.
Wuzhen water town map. There is one main river, and “two sides”.
The park closes late, if i remember well it will stay open until 10 pm. Moreover is possible to sleep inside the town, as there are some hotels inside. So i guess that 10 pm is the time limit to just enter the town.
Ice cream. 30 RMB. ouch.
Overpriced ice cream, noodles weren’t cheap either.
At night there was something like a “traffic jam” of boats as they were trying to return all at once, it was awesome :).
08. WHAT ELSE ZHEJIANG PROVINCE HAS TO OFFER?
Wuzhen (乌镇), is located in the Zhejiang province, not far from Shanghai. This province also has:
- Hangzhou, very popular China destination. Beautiful city famous for it’s West Lake, UNESCO patrimonial site. Also famous for it’s silk and tea.
- Huzhou, has a historic district.
- Ningbo. A important city of the province, with many expats.
- Yiwu. Vibrant city with Middle-eastern flavor.
- Lin’An. 40 KM from Hangzhou. Mountain landscape’s.
Wuzhen water town, nice night scenery.
Wuzhen water town
Night scenery probably beats day time, in my opinion. So i wouldn’t arrive all too early to visit this town.
I would bring a tripod to picture at night… i didn’t bring mine and my night pictures weren’t that great. Oh well.
I have seen a few times ponds with this carps, but never in such measure. Amazing.
These little houses are restaurants and shops. Pretty much like everything else in this town, very commercial feel.
09. FEE STRUCTURE FOR WUZHEN
- Xizha (East side) ticket 120 RMB.
- Dongzha (West side) ticket price 100 RMB.
- Combo ticket for the 2 areas: 150 RMB.
- Children gets discount, students with ID get a discount as-well, of about 50% off.
- Opening hours for Dongzha ( West ) 7 am to 6 pm.
- Opening hours for Xizha ( East) 8 am to 5pm . 9 to 10 pm for outdoors.
- Guide service prices, 120 and 200 RMB per group.
- Boat fees vary, from 60 RMB to 360 RMB, depending.
- Shuttle bus from East to West side: Free.
I can guarantee this fish are truly fat!. Huge!.
Night scenery. It was pretty crowded all around, but it’s summer high season so it was expected.
The lanterns are pretty cool and i really wanted to buy some. But i don’t know how i am supposed to fit them in my pretty stuffed backpack. So there was not a great idea to buy one.
Quiet alley. Such a relief.
Boating is a must, unless everything is crowded. Then i would rather skip it than wait in line for a long time.
Wuzhen water town
10. HOTELS THAT I RECOMMEND IN WUZHEN
Good hotels for just under 30$:
More up-scale. Inside the old town itself. For less than 90$ a night :
There is a little Buddhist temple inside the town.
I loved Wuzhen, it was a wonderful 1 day side-trip from Hangzhou. I highly recommend it to everyone!.
The part I visited ( The most interesting and historical). Is the east side, there is also a newly built and modern West side.
Wuzhen Site in English.