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Top Shanghai Water Town Trips

We offer various Shanghai tours, only some of which are discussed below. You are always welcome to create your own tour according to your schedule, needs and expectations.

You can travel to Shanghai and some places nearby (like water towns, Suzhou and Hangzhou) for up to 144 hours without applying for a visa, when meeting the qualifying criteria.

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You’ve Got Questions - We’ve Got Answers

Why visit water towns?

- They are nice places for escaping from pressure. Slow down and listen to romantic stories or anecdotes that took place there. Take a boat trip and relax.
- They are unique to China.  
- They are close to Shanghai, Hangzhou or Suzhou, so transportation is convenient and basic infrastructure is well established.
- They preserve well an ancient atmosphere and ordinary people still live there. With our insightful local guides, visitors can understand the culture of water towns very well.
- Their air quality is excellent.

Distinctive Features of Water Towns

Water town Raking Crowds Features Visiting time Transport from
Tongli
Tranquil, less crowded, we recommended most highly. Well-preserved, lots to see, our top town in 2016, 360 customers booked with us. 4 hours Shanghai: 2h Suzhou: 35min
Nanxun
Fewer tourists but a bit far away from Shanghai. The most affluent town in the past, featuring Chinese and western architecture. 4 hours Shanghai: 2h Suzhou: 1h Hangzhou: 1 1/2h
Xitang
Pleasantly empty, except at weekends Mission Impossible III was filmed here 4 hours Shanghai: 2h Suzhou: 50min Hangzhou: 2h
Wuzhen
Very crowded and commercial Large –scale Qing dynasty architecture is well-preserved 7 hours/2 days Shanghai: 2h Hangzhou: 1h
Zhujiajiao
Crowded but quiet orderly Foodies paradise 4 hours Shanghai: 50min
Zhouzhuang
Always filled with big tourist groups Local wealthy and influential family-Zhang and Shen family 7 hours or 2 days Shanghai: 2h Suzhou: 1h
Qibao
Crowded and commercial Little old street with not much to see 1 hour Shanghai: 30min

When is the best time to visit Shanghai and Water Towns?

- You can visit Shanghai all year round. The most comfortable seasons in the city are spring and autumn, and the scenery is also pleasant then.
- There are fewer tourists during weekdays. So it is recommended to visit water towns during weekdays.
- You are recommended to avoid Chinese public holidays from 1st to 3rd May (Labor Day) and 1st to 7th October (National Day). During these holidays it’s crowded and hard to buy tickets.

What is the 144-hour visa-free transit policy?

Visitors can travel to Shanghai and some places nearby (like water towns, Suzhou and Hangzhou) for up to 144 hours without applying for a visa, when they meet the following criteria:

1. They are in transit to a third country or region (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are included among possible third regions). For example, USA–Shanghai–Hong Kong is acceptable for a 144-hour transit visa in Shanghai, but USA–Shanghai– USA is not.
2. They travel around Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces but do not go to other provincial level areas in China.
3. Their transit time is no more than 144 hours (from the first 00:00 hrs after entering).
4. Their ports of entry are named in the policy.
5. They are citizens of one of the 51 countries included in the policy.

See whether your entry port and country are listed in the policy.

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You are always welcome to create your own tour. We are here to answer all your questions about tours.

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Leon Long

Leon Long

Travel Advisor

Vanessa Zheng

Vanessa Zheng

Travel Advisor

vivian Cen

vivian Cen

Product Manager

Vicky Wen

Vicky Wen

Product Manager

Elysees Zhao

Elysees Zhao

Web Editor

Vivi Chen

Vivi Chen

Travel Advisor