Ancient Water Towns near Shanghai: Wu Zhen and Xi Tang
During my 2 years stay in Shanghai, I have made 2 one day trips to two ancient water towns, both at around a 2 hour drive distance from Shanghai.
The first one was Xi Tang, which I have actually visited it twice, once just with my wife and the other time with my family who came to visit us.
Xi Tang became ‘famous’ after Mission Impossible 3 was filmed there. I remember that I had just bought my first SLR Nikon D40 camera on the day before I went to Xi Tang for the first time. We stayed over night to experience the night scenery and the quiet and peaceful night. By the way, if you go during the work week then you do not need to pay the entrance fee.
Two weeks ago, I went with some friends to another water town called Wu Zhen. We rented a 8 person van for around 800rmb. The obvious difference between Wu Zhen and Xi Tang is the size. Wu Zhen is much larger and spacier as Xi Tang is a very compact town.
I would still recommend to go both towns if you don’t have enough of these water towns after one visit. These are great places for great photo shooting, having Chinese tea or traditional Chinese food along the canals. Go there if you want to escape the crowded Shanghai.