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ravinderkumarsi Zhujiajiao - A travel report by Ravi
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Zhujiajiao,  China - flag China -  Shanghai
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ravinderkumarsi's travel reports

Water town Zhujiajiao -Shanghai

  29 votes
Zhujiajiao is a typical ancient water town in the south of the Yangtze River. Located in west Shanghai, it only takes about one hour to get there by bus from Shanghai Downtown; it was founded about 1700 years ago and was famous for cloth and rice business

View of the village from a ancient bridge.
View of the village from a ancient bridge.
Exhausted with the fast life and tall modern skyscrapers of Shanghai ,I wanted to see the real Chinese town, the way of living and fortunately on Easter holiday at Shanghai ,along with two of my friends we planned to have a trip to the river town of Zhujiajiao.

Located on the banks of Dianshan Lake in the western suburbs of Shanghai, Zhujiajiao covers a total of 138 sq. kms, including an ancient-town area of 2.7 sq. kms. It was found almost 1700 years ago, and became prosperous with cloth and rice businesses; there are still remains of historical sites like old rice and oil stores, ancient bridges. There is numerous rivers criss-crossing the town, 9 long streets run along the river, thousands of ancient buildings stand on the banks of the rivers with more than 30 old bridges adding to the beauty of the town and every bridge is unique and has its own story to tell.

We took a tourist bus from the shanghai indoor stadium which took a nominal charge of 10RMB to the town and travel time of around 90 minutes. Many buses are available to this town on every 30minutes, its always better to go by bus rather than the taxi which will charge around 150RMB one way. Please note that one needs at lest 5-6 hours to visit all the places in the town, so it’s always better to start early in the morning for this place and leave around 5pm. We didn’t face any sort of problem here, people here knows a bit of English so it is a great help.

Lots of shops with local hand made items are here, but be careful to judge the price as they will demand almost 8-10times more than the actual price and if you are not aware of this ,may be you will pay more for cheap items. I took a wooden boat in a small shop, the initial price he asked me was RMB250 and finally the deal was settled for RMB 20, so you can imagine the amount of bargain

Favourite spots:
A house at the town
A house at the town
The most fascinating thing about this old town is the rivers and old houses which are still same from outside and even the local people lives is same. Through half-closed wooden doors, we saw housewives busy working around kitchen, preparing meals, as the aromatic flavors of the dishes spilled onto the street.

Peddlers traveled from lane to lane, selling local snacks, such as rice dumplings stuffed with pork with bamboo leaves, old people were seen sitting outside on the streets to get some sun shine. Mostly houses are two storied and the top floor is used for living while the ground is mainly for storage and kitchen purposes.

Many houses have miniature gardens, due to lack of space. Almost all the people in the town were engage in some sort of business. People used to make handcraft in the small rooms. It was nice to see that all the houses were having a typical Chines red pendant on the doors.
Apart from the old houses the bridges were other fascinating things in the town

What's really great:
View of the village from bridge
View of the village from bridge
The best thing here is the stone path which is hundreds of years old and still remains in the same place and gives are real experience of the ancient times. The boat ride was really a great experience for me and I liked it a lot, it cherishes the memories of my childhood about the city of Venice.

There are a lot of things you can see at Zhujiajiao, such as the well-preserved Ming and Qing architecture, ancient stone bridges, ancient streets..etc. We went all the way walking thought this big village for almost 5 hours, I had a nice luck to peep into the local houses and to see how people lives and to judge their way of living, the houses were very small and with narrow streets, so narrow that no vehicle can go inside at all.

Local people's lives were peaceful and inspired with the charm of the ancient town. The town is composed of two creeks and a bigger river between them. Residential houses were built on the rivers, facing the street with their backs to the water.

Baoguo Monastry on dianshan lake.
Baoguo Monastry on dianshan lake.
Well this town has 10 favorite spots which every one who comes here must see. At the entrance to the village one has to take a ticket which is 60 Yuan (ask for free guide).

1. Fisherman house is first one to see and it has 3 sections,fish culture,fishermen habits, fish production.
2. Ancestor pottery hall, has large collections of the stone ware and pottery and jade ware used by the local people.
3. Chines medicine shop contains all the herbal and animal extracts medicines.
4. Silk road museum, displays the tech. used for silk productions.
5. Baoguo monastery, build in Ming dynasty on Dianshan Lake, there is one thousand year gingko tree and marble statue.
6. Post office, build in 1875 was one of the main post offices of shanghai.
7. Town Gods temple,Buddha temple.
8. Hall of paddy and rice custom, displays the long history and culture of rice growing in town.
9. Kezhi garden, one of the best traditional Chinese garden.
10. Long rainbow bridge,70 mts long bridge.

View of the local houses at the town
View of the local houses at the town
Zhujiajiao is an ancient town, so there is lack of space to create new buildings, the local government does not permit any private guesthouses within the ancient town itself. Therefore, there are limited selections for accommodation. But this town is just one hour from the main city, so there is no need of staying there; I have seen some hotels there just on outskirts of the town and this town is quite cheap compare to that of Shanghai.

The average rate of the normal hotel here is around 500 Yuan’s, but I feel there is no need of staying at this town in night town as 5-6 hours is enough to see almost all the places of interest in the town.

Please do pay some attention to the white washed walls and black tiled roofs, and brick paved narrow streets in the town. Some houses have nicely carved windows frames with little garden, gives a clear picture of ancient town's people. In general the people here keeps the door open so we can really see how their houses looks like from inside.

Shops at the town
Shops at the town
Well I don’t think people will stay here in night as the town goes deserted after 7pm, all the shops closed and boats comes to the halt, there is not much street lights in town too. There are no pubs or bar in the town. I think 6-7 hours is more than enough to see all the places of interest, since I haven’t seen this place in night so I am not in position to correctly narrate here, but in general nothing much to do other than going to bed.

So I will utilize this space for telling some interesting facts which I experienced, as I traveled around the city I found that almost all the hotels were having live fishes,birds,tortoise and crabs for menu, this was really surprising for me as I never seen so many turtles in my life.

Another amazing thing was the water of river and canals; it was stinking green in color, which I think is due to stagnation and pollution from the local hotels, as they just through the garbage’s directly to the water.

River side hotels offer nice view of river and canals
River side hotels offer nice view of river and canals
Far from the over crowd of the Shanghai this rural village of Zhujiajiao, an excellent reminder of China past history and culture and way of life of people. Just an hour outside the city Shanghai, this village is steeped in the architecture and atmosphere of Qing period China.

While the glittering office towers of Shanghai attest to its rise to international business prominence, the local temple, farmers' market , canals and cobble lanes of Zhujiajiao remind us all of China's precious past and charming traditions.

I took with me some snacks and coke and sat on the river bank near the rainbow bridge, just feeling the calm, peace and tranquil life of the town. Along with me there were many young couples and elderly people sitting on the river bank ,this place offered us scenes of transport ships traveling along the river, fishers' boats moored to the opposite shore next to a market, and sightseeing boats rowed by boatmen giving us the real feeling of a peace calm and blossoms.

Traditional way of cooking pork.
Traditional way of cooking pork.
There are so many Chinese restaurants where one can get the real taste of the Chinese food; it is difficult to find food other than the Chinese. On the river side there are hundreds of small hotels, serving delicious food.

After our walk to the village from fisher house to a teahouse, we seen local elders having tea sip every where thus came to know that tea is very important here, the cost per cup is mere 1 Yuan, old men sip tea, play chess, and chat, always with smiles of content. They all were very co-operative with us though we us use only sign to ask questions.

Apart from tea, we had inexpensive snacks, rice dumplings stuffed with pork. We sat on the window at the river side and it was really a nice view of the boats traveling along the canals. It was one of the most memorable moments to have the food in this hotel which was open to both sides, one towards the road side and to the river side too.

Other recommendations:
View of 70 meter long Raibbow bridge build in 1571
View of 70 meter long Raibbow bridge build in 1571
The most-loved scenic spot of Zhujiajiao is Fangsheng Bridge. A stone arch bridge built during the mid-Qing Dynasty,the imposing bridge is viewed as the landmark structure of Zhujiajiao. Standing on the bridge, one has panoramic view of the entire town. The bridge distinguishes Zhujiajiao from other ancient water towns, where there are no rivers as wide and no bridge as big too.

The town built 36 bridges of different designs in ancient times, but only 20-some stone arch bridges, flagstone bridges, and brick-and-wood bridges of the Ming and Qing periods has been well preserved.

Still there is enough charm in those bridges and the water running through the town to earn it the nickname the "Venice of China.” apart from this setting free bridge which is major landmark of this village is 70mts long and popularly know as No.1 bridge in Shanghai,this bridge was build in 1571, it is like a ribbon with shape like rainbow.

Conclusion: Nice Place to visit, buys souvenir,photography.

Published on Saturday April 22th, 2006

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Thu, Sep 28 2006 - 01:09 PM rating by mrscanada

Amazing report.

Mon, May 01 2006 - 11:50 AM rating by isaacmolina

Ravi, I hope that you will receive the premium of the best report of the month of April for this excellent report! You deserve it!

Sat, Apr 29 2006 - 05:43 PM rating by mistybleu

Ravi, nice reports.

Wed, Apr 26 2006 - 02:03 PM rating by jesusferro

This is one of the mpst complete reports I have read recently. Thanks your you share

Tue, Apr 25 2006 - 01:05 PM rating by bertison

well done ravi, its a pleasure to read this report and nice pics too.
a lot of information added with some personal impressions, great work !!

Tue, Apr 25 2006 - 01:54 AM rating by mamielle

Very interesting report and nice pic, congratulations Ravi

Mon, Apr 24 2006 - 10:29 AM rating by pottendorfer

Very nice report.
So you are now in the other part of the world after staying for a while in Austria.

Mon, Apr 24 2006 - 09:08 AM rating by bear495

Congratulations on writing your most impressive report to dat. Please keep sharing with us.

Sun, Apr 23 2006 - 11:31 PM rating by sajjanka

nice,congratulation on ur briliant report

Sun, Apr 23 2006 - 05:11 PM rating by rangutan

Ravi, an interesting and very well written report. One can see you spent time on making it informative but well balanced with personal views and experience too. The report is also special because you take time to describe the way people live there. It is not a rosy or impressive place but these reports on China are very important to us who only now can easily travel there. I am looking forward so much to it!

Sun, Apr 23 2006 - 06:41 AM rating by davidx

To my mind this is your best report yet! Splendid. many thanks.

Sun, Apr 23 2006 - 03:36 AM rating by st.vincent

Zhujiajiao looks like a fascinating place to visit Ravi, and you describe it so well in your report. 5* without a doubt, a really interesting read and good photos.

Sat, Apr 22 2006 - 10:35 PM rating by farnaz

Ravi, your report is really wonderful ,i enjoyed it.

Sat, Apr 22 2006 - 09:19 PM rating by bhairavee

Heloo,I place gives me totally a different view of China,nicely written ,one of the best reports I read here.

Sat, Apr 22 2006 - 07:19 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Ravi, what a wonderful report! Congratulations.

Sat, Apr 22 2006 - 01:42 PM rating by akhila

very well detailed and nicely written report, Ravi.

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