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"Every house is built beside the water" is an accurate description of Tongli. Chuanxin Alley, archaic yet elegant, is worthy of special mention, its bluestone pathways providing a hint of the city's ancient cultural flavor. Centuries of footsteps and raindrops have polished the ancient streets and alleyways of Tongli, imparting a special patina, which, for the natives of the town, preserves the memory of the generations of Tongli inhabitants who went before.
Life in Tongli, though it has now been touched by modern development, is still a bit untouched, still a bit "frozen in time". The quietness, especially in the evening, is not oppressive, but brings serenity, perhaps because of the presence of the constantly moving streams that flow everywhere and in every direction (i.e.,"escape is only a boat-ride away", is the subliminal message, therefore there is no feeling of angst, of entrapment). To wake up to the sound of water gently lapping at the edges of the waterways and the sound of birds going about their busy day is a refreshing, revitalizing experience.
Some of the better hotels in and around Tongli include: Shidetang Guesthouse, Sanyuan Hotel, and Tongli Lake Resort.
In addition to its charming water scenes, Tongli is home to Tuisi Garden, aka the Retreat and Reflection Garden (Retreat Garden, for short). » more
Tongli has a gentle, slightly humid climate, with lots of river branches that contain various edible fishes and aquatic plants. » more
There are direct buses from Shanghai and Suzhou to Tongli. At Zhouzhuang, there are small buses going to Tongli which involve a journey of about ½ hour. » more
Chuanxin Alley, archaic yet elegant, is worthy of special mention, its bluestone pathways providing a hint of the city's ancient cultural flavor. » more
Although Tongli is small, its streets are relatively wide, with dwellings and business establishments alternating with noteworthy cultural and historical sites. » more
You can rent a gondola (long boat) w/boatman for a quiet tour on the river– the price is 60 Yuan for a standard, 30 minute ride. » more