On 1st September, my friend and I began our two-day travel in Xitang.
Located in Jianshan County, Zhejiang Province, Xitang Ancient Water Town, whose history traces back to the Spring and Autumn Period (476–770BC), is famous for its stone bridges, antique residences, and Langpeng (streets with roofs).
Accommodation and tickets: Booked the hotel in advance, we took a train to Hangzhou and then went to Xitang by shuttle. For we arrived there at weekends, the house price was 180 yuan, 60 yuan higher than that of weekdays and the admission fee is 100 yaun per person instead of cost free on weekdays. Therefore, tourist had better visit there on weekdays or live in Xitang scenic region allowing for the costs.
Local snacks: After putting away luggage, we went out for snacks recommended in travel guides on the Internet. Wontons, jellied bean curd and stinky tofu all deserve their reputation of good tasty, especially the Grandma Guan Stinky Tofu (管老太臭豆腐), a shop run by an amiable old woman, near Yongning Bridge.
Stinky tofu is one kind of China's unique foods, check out more unique Chinese foods.
Snacks in our hands, we hung out on Langpeng that prevents travelers from either sunshine or rain. Old buildings in Jiangnan Style, the river through the town, various bridges over the river and reflections on the river conjure up unforgettably fantastic images.
Supper: When it comes to supper time, we got to Qiantang Family (钱塘人家), a restaurant with broad popularity to have our dinner. The restaurant often begins to offer dishes after half past four in the afternoon everyday, but due to the large numbers of customers, visitors should sit there much earlier (1 p.m. or 2 p.m.) than that time if they want to occupy seats near the river to enjoy a better view. Fresh and tender Braised Baisi Fish is a must-try dish.
Silent night: Xitang will become a totally different world when the dark shutting up the sky. What silence, too, came with the night, and what seclusions! Every noise in daytime is muffed. Walking along river, you may feel the peace and darkness like time stoping.
Interesting shops: Besides, various shops of Xitang also highlight the town. Coffee shops with music, hint of coffee, and joyful sound of wine chime is worthy of spending time there. My favorite shop is Xijie No. 16, in which are many special works collected from different places by the boss.
All in all, Xitang is a leisure place although it's also a commercial town. It's also a place with slow pace of life, where you can simply kill off the whole afternoon by having tea over seeing sceneries of river. It's even a place for encounters, where you may have an unexpected meet with someone.
Also read Travel Tips for Senior Travelers to Shanghai.