Zhujiajiao Water Town near Shanghai is a popular tourist location. People go there to see the old buildings, shop, and eat in the many restaurants and coffee shops.
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. Boats are still very much part of the charm of the place. Now young people and those who want to unwind after a day’s work go there from Shanghai to relax.
Zhujiajiao is a township in the Qingpu District of Shanghai. The Qingpu District has a lake and is being developed as a tourist resort area.
The Zhujiajiao Ancient Town has a population of 70,000 people and covers about 3 square kilometers (700 acres). It is large enough to wander around, to shop and eat; there are many restaurants, bars and coffee shops, some managed by foreigners.
The main streets are touristy, with artsy bars, cafes and shops, and some attractions, but most streets are lined with new apartments and old residences; some of the buildings date to the Qing Dynasty era (1644-1912) or the early 1900s.
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.
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 boats are ubiquitous here, functioning as a nice way to get a view of the town and experience the local life, as the boats serve as important transportation method for local people. See our cruise guide on Zhujiajiao.
There are many restaurants, bars or teahouses, such as the Viking Bar on Donghu Street and a teahouse called Book Room with thousands of books and magazines you can read while sipping your tea.
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 take passengers up and down the main canal, and the price is 60 yuan/per boat. The Long distance cruise travel all over the town and back, and the price is 120 yuan/per boat. Tickets can be bought in the small wooden ticket booths.
Boat trips on the lake are available. The ticket is around 40-60 yuan/erp person. The boats are available at No 60 Dongjing Street.
Docks you may take a boat trip: Fangsheng Bridge放生桥, Kezhi Yuan 课植园 and The Town God Temple (Chenghuangmiao): 城隍庙.
If you want to go boating on the Dianshan Lake, the only freshwater lake in the Shanghai area, boats are available at No. 60 Dongjing Street. The tickets cost about 50 RMB (8 USD).
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.