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Zhouzhuang. Jinxi. Qiandeng. Sound familiar? Well they should; after all, they're the top 3 ancient water towns you should visit in Kunshan. Here's what you can expect at each:
Zhouzhuang Ancient Water Town
It's called the “Venice of the East”. It's received an AAAAA classification by the China National Tourism Association, and is perhaps the most famous water town in China's southwest region. It's Zhouzhuang Ancient Water Town.
Zhouzhuang Ancient Town's got everything you're looking for in an ancient water town--canals, bridges, historical buildings, temples, religious statues, local snacks, restaurants, tea shops, crafts, souvenirs shops, bars, a few hostels around to crash for a night, and best of all, prestige.
Look up "ancient water towns near Shanghai and Suzhou" and you'll find that Zhouzhuang is amongst the most popular.
What's more, a trip to Zhouzhuang Ancient Town is worthy of at least a week's worth of Instagram pics, so if you do decide to make the journey, make sure to bring along your BEST camera.
A word of caution though: Nowadays, Zhouzhuang Ancient Town has a bad rep for being too commercial. You might hear that there are too many shops, restaurants, and crowds in the area. Nevertheless, take it from me, it's very much still worth the visit!
Hours: 7:30am-9pm / 7:30am-7:00pm in winter.
Price: 100RMB Entrance Fee / 50RMB for person age 6-18yrs. old, 60-69yrs. old, with proof of age.
Boat rides through the canals are 120RMB per person.
Zhouzhuang Ancient Water Town Address: Qing Ping Shanghai Highway, Kunshan 215300, China
Quanfu Rd. Zhouzhuang Town,Kunshan 周庄昆山周庄全福路
Directions to Zhouzhuang Ancient Water Town From Kunshan
Take Bus #133 from Kunshan South Railway Station towards Zhouzhuang. The trip's duration is about an hour. Once you've arrived at the bus terminal in Zhouzhuang, catch a taxi to Zhouzhuang Ancient Water Town. It will take about 10 minutes and cost 10RMB. You may also catch Bus #161.
Jinxi Ancient Water Town
While Zhouzhuang Ancient Water Town may be the best old town in Kunshan, Jinxi Ancient Water Town is definitely the coolest.
Jinxi Ancient Town's most eye-catching feature has to be its bridge--Shiyan Bridge. Can you believe that it was built way back in 1163? And that's just one of the 36 bridges in the area!
Aside from that, expect to find everything you'd see at Zhouzhuang Ancient Town, but with less commercialism attached.
Jinxi also boasts a few museums that host art galleries, handmade crafts, relics, and furniture.
Price: Free, but 65RMB if you'd like to see the museums.
Jinxi Ancient Town Address: Jinxi Town, Kunshan 215324, China
Directions to Jinxi Ancient Water Town From Kunshan
Take Bus #130 heading South from Kunshan South Railway Station.
Learn more at the Jinxi Town website.
Qiandeng Ancient Water Town
As an explorer of all three water towns, I'd say that Qiandeng Ancient Water was interesting but is the least favorable of the bunch.
There's no stand-out element of Qiandeng. It's not as scenic as Jinxi Ancient Town and lacks the ancient mysticism of Zhouzhuang Ancient Water Town.
Nevertheless, it's still a cool historical destination to see in the city. So why not pay it a visit?
Directions to Qiandeng Ancient Water Town From Kunshan
Take Bus #113 from Kunshan Long Distance Bus Station. Get off at Qiandeng Road.
Check the Qiandeng website for more information.
+1: Jianhang Tai Chi Water Village
Ok, ok, so it's not exactly an "ancient" town. Jianhang Tai Chi Water Village is one of Kunshan’s lesser-known water towns.
There you'll find a boatload of fairly old and semi-modern houses spread out around small ponds and large lakes.
You won't find ancient looking houses there, though. Rather, expect to see a slew of run-down to modern looking houses perched around small ponds and a large lake.
Surrounding the narrow pathways are a few large spaces brimming with lush green grass, flowers, and trees, so despite not being "ancient", it's got plenty of the same 'serene escape' quality that any old town can provide.
Directions to Jianhang Tai Chi Water Village in Kunshan:
Take Bus #133 from Kunshan South Railway Station. About 20 minutes into the trip you'll see a sign on the road for "Jianhang Tai-Chi Water Village".
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