Zhujiajiao Water Town is about 50 km away from the Bund, Shanghai. If your time is limited, Zhujiajiao would be the best and 2nd nearest option to get a feel of such ancient towns. Similar to Venice in Italy, there are many well preserved bridges and boat ride is available.
Zhujiajiao is a township in the Qingpu District of Shanghai. In the centuries past Zhujiajiao was a trading area due to the many canals, which were used to ferry products along in little boats and barges.
It is well endowed with waterways, 36 ancient bridges, and traditional Chinese-style residences.
You don't need a ticket to walk around, but it is an official tourist area, so some attractions and buildings require a ticket, available at the main gate.
Among Zhujiajiao's nine old streets, North Street is the best preserved ancient street with some of the buildings date to the Qing Dynasty era (1644-1912).
Now plenty of restaurants, bars and coffee shops line both sides of the narrow street. You can take a stroll along the street to see the ancient buildings, sample some local snacks or relax in a artsy bar.
Kezhi Yuan at the northern edge of the old district on Xijing Street is a garden dating to 1912. The word “kezhi” means to learn to plant, a lesson on plants or a class of plants, so it was a place to see and learn about them.
The area consists of a main hall, a garden, and an artificial hill. The landmark of the gardens is a five story building with a pavilion on its roof - the tallest structure in old Zhujiajiao.
On Xihu Street there is a post office built in the Qing dynasty，said to be the best preserved of its era in China. There are many exhibits, among them old letters written on bamboo and antique post cards of old Shanghai.
Fangsheng Bridge is one of the main attractions among the ancient 36 stone bridges, some only one yard wide. It was built in 1812 and is said to be the largest stone arch bridge in Shanghai, resting on five arches, about 70 meters long, and 5.8 meters tall.
One way to see the bridges is to go by boat; these small boats seat 5 adults or 6 children. The fare is about 80 RMB (13 USD).
Small gondolas can be seen everywhere in the town, and are a nice way to get a view of the town from the water. Each gondola can hold 6 people. There are two kinds of trip – short distance and long distance.
The short distance trip takes passengers up and down the main canal, and the price is about 80 yuan/per boat for about 10 minutes.
The Long distance cruise travel all over the town and back, and the price is 150 yuan/per boat. Tickets can be bought in the small wooden ticket booths.
Docks you may take a boat trip: Fangsheng Bridge (放生桥), Kezhi Yuan (课植园) and the Town God Temple (城隍庙).
Dianshan Lake is only 3 km (2 miles) away from Zhujiajiao. It is the only freshwater lake in the Shanghai area, and is very popular for boating. The ticket is around 40-60 yuan/per person.
The area around Dianshan Lake is also a resort and park; in the town you can visit Eastern Oasis and the Sun Island Holiday Villages.
Jinze Bridge Township of Qingpu District nearby has seven bridges from the last four Chinese empires: Song (960-1279), Yuan (1279-1368), Ming (1368-1644), and Qing (1644-1912). They are not very big, but varied in style, and entitle Jinze, the “No.1 Bridge Town” of the southern Yangtze area.
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