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A Three-Day Tour to the Ancient Towns around Shanghai

tongli Tongli Water Town

Ancient towns around Shanghai in the south of China have the most beautiful and simplest sceneries. Travelers can enjoy the ancient bridges, temples, former residence of celebrities, and lanes in the scenic areas without any transportation, leisurely and easily. It is not a long way from a town to another so that it will take just two or three days to travel these ancient towns around Shanghai, what' more, with the useful tips on how to save money, travelers can spend the least money in visiting the most beautiful scenery.

Travel Budget

These ancient towns are the new attraction developments; therefore, most traveling money goes on entrance tickets, food and drink, and shopping. Transportation in these towns cost less because there are many available touring buses. Actually, the whole expense of a two-day trip is just about 139 yuan or a three-day trip 295 yuan.

Travel Schedule

  • Day 1: Jinze (Gold water) Town – Zhujiajiao Town
  • Day 2: Zhujiajiao Town – Liantang Town – Qiandeng (Thousands of Lights) Town
  • Day 3: Fengjing Town


  • Transportation and accommodation: 67
  • Food and entrance tickets: 20 yuan
  • Shopping and recreation: 34 yuan
  • Others: 16 yuan
  • Total: 137 yuan

Day 1: Jinze (Gold water) Town – Zhujiajiao Town

zhujiajiao ancient townZhujiajiao Town

The first place we visited is the Jinze town of Qingpu District. Jinze is a typical water town with 75 square kilometers, accounting for 80% of the whole tow. Farmers here regard the water as the gold therefore they call the town Jinze (Gold water).

Transportation: It's convenient for travelers to get to Jinze town because the 318 national highway running through it. Travelers can set for Jinze town on the morning, taking the Shuttle Bus Shanghai-Qingpu to the Qingpu Bus Station with a 6-yuan ticket, and then change another Bus Line Qingpu to Jinze town with a 4-yuan ticket. The whole journey will take about 2 hours.

On the morning: we went to Jinze after having breakfast. Visiting ancient bridges, walking on the ancient bridges to buy some souvenirs are the special experience.

Recommended: 3-Day Essence of Shanghai and Watertown Tour

Those beautiful ancient bridges and ancient streets are worthy of visit. In addition, the sceneries such as temples (Yangzhen Temple, Yihao Temple) and some traditional mansions (Xu's Mansion, Lu's Mansion) are the other features.

Ancient bridges: There are 21 ancient bridges in Jinze, which makes it the top of the other towns. These bridges were built in limestone, granite, or purple stone. Each bridge here has its special features and style.  Among these, Puji Bridge, founded in 1267 of South Song Dynasty, is the oldest existing stone arch bridge in Shanghai. Strolling on the flagged road along the river, travelers can enjoy the scenery that the reflection of charming and graceful bridges is scattered over the surface of the green water. How wonderful!

Ancient streets: The two main ancient streets are well-preserved in Jinze town: Shangtang street and Xiatang street. Both streets were the shopping street of Ming and Qing Dynasties. There were many ancient temples in the ancient times so that the business in Jinze was flourishing and there were lots of teahouses, restaurants, and different types of stores. Now, the two streets are not commercial streets any more but still busy as the residential areas.

Other Sceneries: Apart form ancient bridges and streets, there are many temples (Yangzhen Temple, Yihao Temple, Guangdi Temple) and some traditional mansions (Xu's Mansion, Chen's Mansion, Zhu's Mansion, Lu's Mansion, Wang's Mansion) are worthy of visit. In addition, the ginkgoes in Yihao Temple and Gangdong with a history of more than seven hundred years are notable.

Souvenirs: Aquatic Products

The most famous food here is the aquatic products dishes. It's real pleasure for travelers to have hairy crabs in Jinze.

At noon: we had hairy crabs in a ordinary restaurant. The crabs caught from Dingshan Lake and Jishui River are cake-shaped and sold at only 40 yuan per kilogram. There is a saying in Jinze: to eat female crab in Chinese lunar September and to eat male crabs in lunar October because they are in the best season respectively at that time. Besides, the shrimp dishes are also delicious such as boiled shrimps with salt and deep-fried shrimps with ginger and scallion.

Afternoon: After having lunch, we went back to the Qingpu Bus Station to take bus to Zhujiajiao Town. The bus ticket is 2 yuan and it will take 10 minutes. The worth of package tickets for sceneries in Zhujiajiao town is 60 yuan.

Zhujiajia Town: Zhujiajiao Town is a time-honored water town with s history of more than 1700 years. It is well-known for its unique natural environment and convenient water transportation. Besides, it was also known for its popular cloth and it was thought to supply cloth for the whole country in the ancient times.

The local beauty spots and places of historical interests such as Fangsheng (Setting-fish-free) Bridge, Yixian (North) Street, Kezhi (Learning and Planting) Garden, Chenghuang (Town God's) Temple, Yuanjin Temple are worth of visit.

At the evening: it's a pleasure to eat some snacks bought from the North Street while walking on the Fangsheng Bridge, experiencing the life of the town.

Fangsheng (Setting-fish-free) Bridge: a symmetrical architecture constructed in the mid-Qing Dynasty, is the largest stone bridge with five arches in the south regions of the Yangtze River. While standing on the bridge, travelers are rewarded with a panoramic view of the ancient town. There is a pavilion called Setting-fish-free beside the bridge, where local religious believers can release the fish and shrimps they buy from fisherman.

North Street: the North Street is an ancient street whose history goes back 400 years. Despite so many events or incidents, the street survived practically as it was, and ranks as the only intact ancient street of a well-preserved street of Ming and Qing Dynasties well preserved in Shanghai. It is known as the "Three-Li Street with a thousand Shops". The old-fashion shops with red lanterns hanging in front of that makes the street the oldest and busiest in the ancient towns around Shanghai.

Snacks in Zhujiajiao

The snacks here are so delicious and tasty that travelers fill their stomach with them, forgetting their supper. The famous snacks in Zhujiajiao are Zongzi, Zharou, and green soy beam. They are available in nearly each restaurant in the street. Zongzi is a kind of sticky rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. The rice in Zongzi is the best and was sent to the imperial court as tribute once in Ming and Qing Dynasties and each Zongzi costs 2 yuan. The poplar snack Zharou is the braised pork wrapped bamboo or reed leaves in brown sauce. Each Zharou costs 1.5 yuan in a stall but 3 or 4 yuan in a restaurant.

At night: Travelers can stay in Zhujiajiao for the next day's visiting. Zhujiajiao develops well so that the prices of the hotel are a little expensive, particularly in tourist season such as May Day holiday and Natioanl Day holiday. For economic reason, you can choose to residential inns with ordinary conditions at 20 yuan per night.

Day 2: Zhujiajiao Town – Liantang Town – Qiandeng (Thousands of Lights) Town


  • Transportation and accommodation: 21 yuan
  • Food and entrance tickets: 15 yuan
  • Shopping and recreation: 15 yuan
  • Others: 0 yuan
  • Total: 51 yuan

On the morning: continued to visit Zhujiajiao

qiandeng ancient townQiandeng Town

Short visit to Zhujiajiao: After breakfast, travelers can manage a short visit to the sceneries in Zhujiajiao on the morning. The best route is Baoguo Temple–Chenghuang Temple–Wangxu Museum–Kezhi Garden–Zhuxi (Pearl Stream) Garden–Post Office of Qing Dynasty.

After noon: head to Liantang Ancient Town and move on to Qiandeng Ancient Town: The morning visit of Zhujiajiao can be finished at noon and travelers can go back to Qingpu to take bus to Liantang Town after having a simple lunch. The bus ticket from Zhujiajiao to Qingpu Town cost 2 yuan. Travelers need to get off at Erzhong (Second Middle School) and take another bus on the opposite side and the fare is about 10 yuan.

Liantang Town is seated in the center of Qingpu District. It is also a typical water town with a history of more than 1000 years and the heavy human cultural foundation.

Qiandeng (Thousands of Lights) Town: It is a well-preserved ancient town with history of more than 2000 years. There are many cultural relics to see.

Transportation to Qiandeng (Thousands of Lights) Town: It is convenient for travelers to take bus to Qiandeng town at the long distance bus station. The buses to Qiandeng leave in every 15 minutes and a ticket is 5 yuan. It takes about 50 minutes and travelers can return following the same way. Please note that the last bus leaves at 5:30pm. 

The two-day visit in these ancient towns will impress travelers, making them feel as if they were in Ming and Qing Dynasties. It's hard to say goodbye when they leave these ancient towns.

Day 3: Fengjing Town


  • Transportation and accommodation: 22 yuan
  • Food and entrance tickets: 25 yuan
  • Shopping and recreation: 30 yuan
  • Others: 25 yuan
  • Total: 102 yuan

Fengjing Town is an ancient water town well known throughout the country, with a history of more than 1500 years. There are many rivers, bridges, and lanes which make the layout of the town look like a lotus flower. Therefore, the town is also called Furong (Lotus Flower) town. The package tickets for all scenic sites costs 30 yuan.

Transportation: Firstly, travelers can take the Subway Line one and get off at Jinjiang Leyuan (Jinjiang Amusement Park) and then turn left to the New Shanghai Southwest Bus Station. Secondly, take the bus Fengmei to Fengjing town and the ticket is 11 yuan. Or travelers can take the Subway Line one and get off at Lianhualu (Lotus Road), and then take bus Lianfeng to Fengjin. The buses leave in every 15 minutes.

Best Times to Travel

The best seasons are Spring and autumn. In addition, the rainy season begins from the middle of June to the early of July and it lasts about 20 days. Torrential rains often comes from July to September, even a typhoon. Therefore, if travel in June, July, or August, travelers need to carry a raincoat or something like that.

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