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Zhujiajiao Water Town – the Nearest Ancient Town to Shanghai

The ancient town of Zhujiajiao, the elegant side of Shanghai, is known for delicious snacks, delicate stone bridges, little rivers, old houses, willow trees and zigzag stone streets.

With a history dating back over a thousand years, it is still the best-preserved town near Shanghai. Walking around in it takes you back in time and you may suddenly feel you are part of some Chinese legend.

  • Transport: 1 hour’s drive from the Bund, Shanghai
  • History: over 1,700 years
  • Visiting time: 3 hours
  • Suitable for: all people (but not recommend for the disabled)
  • English signs: not many

Why We Recommend Zhujiajiao Ancient Water Town

Zhujiajiao Water Town

Although the atmosphere in Zhujiajiao is different from Venice, it is known as the “Venice of the East”, because of all the waterways going through the town. There are 36 old bridges and 9 streets lining the rivers. It is a pearl of southeast China.

  • It is a foodie’s paradise. Visitors like to sample snacks there.
  • There are not many visitors in town in the mornings (before 12:00) on weekdays.
  • It is the nearest popular ancient town to Shanghai.
  • Over 1,000 well-preserved houses built in the Ming (1368–1644 AD) and Qing (1644–1912 AD) dynasties line the streets.

Explore the Highlights

The following 4 highlights of Zhujiajiao are highly recommended by China Travel.

The Qing Dynasty Post Office

1. Taking a Gondola

Never miss to take a gondola in a water town. It is the best experience. Boat time is about 20 minutes.

2. The Qing Dynasty Post Office

Built in 1892, it was the first post office in eastern China. There you will see many curious objects, such as the fish-style envelopes used in ancient times and post cards of old Shanghai. You will get to know about the development of the Chinese postal service.

3. Kezhi Garden

This is a garden used for learning and planting; it is tranquil and peaceful. It is situated on the North Street and consists of a gallery, an artificial hill and a park.

There are rock formations you can climb on and caves to walk into, and a fish pond where you can feed fish. You will see many decorations and tiny bridges, a lot of vegetation and carved seats.

Fangsheng Bridge

4. Fangsheng Bridge

Linking the two sides of the main waterway, it is a medieval bridge used only by pedestrians. It is best seen from the gondola. So you can take a boat to visit it.

Nearby Attractions

Seven Treasures Ancient Water Town

Why is it called Seven Treasures Town?  Find your answer on Qibao Ancient Town.

The town is basically divided into 2 streets - South Street and North Street. There are many delicious snacks sold on South Street. It is an attraction for foodies and people from all over the world.

Jinze Ancient Water Town (2 hours)

  • It is untouched by tourism. Most visitors don’t know this water town. But there are well-established facilities in the town. It is just 30 minutes drive from Zhujiajiao.
  • It is the only water town near Shanghai to boat on your own. If you wish to boat for a while, the boatman will teach you. You can also just sit in the gondola and be taken around.
  • It is famous for bridges. There were 42 famous bridges but only 7 can be seen now. The oldest bridge dates from the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

After visiting Zhujiajiao and Qibao, it is recommended that you also visit Jinze on the day.

How to Get to Zhujiajiao

Bus: The most-affordable method.

  • There is a tourist bus from Shanghai Stadium (Gate 5) in the mornings. The buses go directly to Zhujiajiao.
  • Take Huzhu Express Line which is found at People's Square, Pu'an Road, and Jinling Road. The bus leaves every 30 minutes and the trip to Zhujiajiao Bus Station takes about an hour. Cost: RMB 12. Get off the bus and walk about 10 minutes to the town.

Our Customers and Guide

Taxi: One way costs over 200 RMB. But it is hard to find a taxi to take you back to Shanghai. 

With China Travel: This will solve your problems, like not knowing Chinese, finding the bus station, going to a wrong town and waiting. Our English-speaking guide and experienced driver will make your trip easy and fun, and serve your party only.

We pick you up at the place you tell us (hotel, cruise terminal, airport or train station) and guide you in Zhujiajiao, and then transfer you to the place you want to go: 1-Day Private Zhujiajiao Tour.

Best Time to Visit : in the morning of weekdays

The scenery is suitable for a visit all year round. But you will find that there are less people in the morning of weekdays. Also avoid Chinese public holidays like National Day and Labor Day.

Admission Fee

  • RMB 120 for a boat cruise and nine scenic spots:  Qing Dynasty Post Office, Kezhi Garden, Y-Art Gallery, Tongtianhe Medicine Shop, City God Temple, Shanghai Handicrafts Exhibition Hall, Imperial Academy Stele Museum, Shanghai Quanhua Art Hall, and Yuanjin Meditation Room
  • RMB 60 for eight scenic spots: Qing Dynasty Post Office, Kezhi Garden, Y-Art Gallery, Tongtianhe Medicine Shop, City God Temple, Yuanjin Meditation Room, Shanghai Handicrafts Exhibition Hall, and Shanghai Quanhua Art Hall
  • RMB 30 for four scenic spots: Qing Dynasty Post Office, Kezhi Garden, Tongtianhe Medicine Shop, and Yuanjin Meditation Room

Our Customers' Reviews on Trip Advisor

Virginia Beach, Virginia
Reviewed April 6, 2017

We had a couple days in Shanghai before our cruise so picked 2 days with ChinaTravel.com. We went did the "Zhujiajiao and Seven Treasures Town Excursion" one day and "Suzhou and Tongli Village Tour from Shanghai" the next day. All our arrangements were through Leon Long who did a fantastic job coordination and communicating with us with details and information. Our tour guide was Candy. She was waiting for us in the lobby of our hotel with a nice van and a great driver. The tour itineraries were great with much to see adn much to learn Candy is a professional tour guide who is very knowledgeable about the history and the culture of all our stops. There was a variety of things to see and different modes of sightseeing. We drove, walked, rickshawed, and boated through the canals. We saw and learned so much. It would have been a waste to do on your own and not learn the history and culture. We saw such wonderful sights and did so very leisurely. It was a nice pace with plenty of time to linger around and take it all in. There were no "scheduled" shopping stops! Candy was great! She made several recommendations on things to do on our own and gave us some restaurants to eat. She sent us the names and addresses via whatsapp.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Reviewed April 5, 2017

Holland America's Volendam visited Shanghai for two days in March 2017. Six of us arranged a private tour with guide and minivan. Leon Long handled making the arrangements and accommodated a series of pre-arrival (and last-minute) revisions. The office successfully registered us for the new "15-day visa exemption". Our guide was a young lady named Bright who gave us a most enjoyable tour. We visited the Zhujiajiao Water Town, including a boat ride, with a bonus - Bright is a trained singer and gave us several traditional songs. Another highlight was the Yu Garden and the surrounding area. Because of rain and traffic we skipped the Jade Buddha and Bright found interesting sites for us in the Yuyuan area - a benefit of being on a small private tour. We visited the Shanghai Museum (Bright could tell us about the bronzes), walked the Bund, and got a sense of the city overall. We would like to go back.

Click to see all our customers’ reviews on Trip Advisor>>

Tour Zhujiaojiao with China Travel

Our Customers and Guide

We will help you enjoy the following:

  • Exploring the highlights listed above without any hassles
  • Taking a boat ride along the canal in Zhujiajiao
  • Sampling snacks on South Street in Seven Treasures Town
  • A driver with over 5 years of experience and an English-speaking guide with excellent knowledge of water towns, dedicated to serve your private party only on your tour day.
  • Being picked up at the place you wish

Included in the Price:

  • Private English-speaking guide service fee
  • Private transfer service with air-conditioned 7-seater business car
  • All entrance tickets and lunch
  • Service charge and tax
  • China life tourist accident/casualty insurance

Good to Know

  • This is a private no-shopping tour. Your guide and driver only serve your party on your tour day.
  • You will receive a confirmation letter within 24 hours of payment.
  • An extra fee will be applied if you need to be transferred to or from the airport, cruise terminal or train station.
  • An extra fee will also be applied if your hotel is outside the middle ring road in Shanghai.
  • The meal will be in a Chinese restaurant and your guide will order dishes according to your taste.

Related Reading:

You may get confused with which water town is the best to go if you are first time to visit, so we list all the water towns with detailed information for your inspiration: