Nanxun Ancient Town
Nanxun is a soulful and profound water town with a history of over 1,400 years. It is the richest town in modern Chinese history and totally different from other small, girly water towns: the stone roads, bridges, and waterways are wide, and houses are big. The most special feature of it is, that its architecture mixes Chinese and western styles.
- Transport: 2 hours drive from the Bund, Shanghai; 1½ hours from Hangzhou
- History: over 1,400 years
- Visiting time: 1 day
- Suitable for: all people, especially photographers
- English signs: not many
- Features: architecture mixing Chinese and western styles; profound water town history; one of the biggest water towns
Characters of Nanxun
Nanxun Water Town
When you enter the town, you will feel the profound water town history and be amazed by how civilized and rich it was. There are many attractions in this big water town.
- Local people still live in traditional residences: One-Hundred Residential Houses; this is a spot favored by shutterbugs.
- Chinese style architecture mixes with western style.
- Different from girly, small water towns, Nanxun is like a rich bel-esprit.
- As the road in the town is wide and straight, it is a water town recommended for those who have some problems with walking.
Top Things to Do in the Town
The following 6 highlights of Nanxun are highly recommended for you to explore.
1. Take a Boat Ridealong the canal to appreciate the beauty of it.
Taking a relaxing boat ride along the canals to get an insight into the charm of the ancient town is a fantastic experience. A boat can accommodate up to 8 persons. Boating price: Little Lotus Garden to/from Guanghui Palace: CNY 160 per boat; Little Lotus Garden to/from Lounge Bridge: CNY 280 per boat.
2. Explore the Local Houses
One-Hundred Residential Houses
These are actually houses of locals. Many owners still live there. The houses, one or two-story tenement dwellings, built along both sides of the canal stretching some 400 meters, date back some 400 years to the end of the 16th century, i.e. near the end of the Ming Dynasty.
They are characterized by their distinctive white walls and black-tiled roofs.
There are 100 residential houses. There are served as a living museum in the sense that the ancient houses are still inhabited, and the residents wash their clothes in the canal just as they did 1400 years ago.
3. Visit the Little Lotus Garden
Little Lotus Garden
It is the former private garden of Nanxun's richest man. The centerpiece of the enormous garden compound, which comprises over 7,000 square meters, is a lotus pond.
Artificial streams run here and there throughout the large garden. There winding, in places tree-lined paths. and numerous smaller buildings surrounded by lawns, shrub oases, and flower gardens.
The garden is considered the best of Nanxun's private gardens. The lotus flowers in the pond blossom pink in the summer, creating a colorful, magical effect. The walls inside the buildings are adorned with paintings, plaques, and stelae that were the work of famous calligraphers, which points to another interesting detail about Nanxun Water Town:
4. Explore Former Residence of Zhang Shiming
A phonograph in the residence
The house is a mixture of traditional Chinese and western architectural styles. The owner was a wealthy merchant who introduced many foreign luxury goods to the people of Nanxun.
The entire area of the former residence, including its complementary garden, spans some 6140 square meters.
The residence comprises numerous rooms, including salons, halls, studies, and bedrooms. Each room is designed in a separate style, yet the whole is one of harmony, reflecting the "organic" nature of the construction philosophy.
5. Discover The Spanish-Style Red Houses
This is the former residence of one of the wealthiest people in the town.
The buildings combine both, traditional Chinese architectural styles with western styles. Sometimes the facade is in quintessential Chinese style, with the back of the building, in Western-style.
It has arched French windows and a second-story balcony that is supported by Greek columns, creating a gallery of sorts. This feature distinguishes the private gardens of Nanxun from all of the other private gardens of southern China, which makes them of particular interest.
6. Visit the Jiaye Hall Library
It is a private library. The library's collection of books and documents numbers some 600,000.
The library building is a mixture of both Chinese and western styles. The facade of the library reflects a western architectural style, but its rear portion, as well as the garden proper, is reminiscent of the layout of a typical scholar garden. Three is a lotus pond surrounded by rockeries and pavilions, the whole connected by walkways, some of which are narrow corridors.
How to Get to Nanxun
|City||Bus Station||Operation Time||Cost (RMB)||Travel Time|
|Shanghai||Shanghai Hutai Road Bus Station||every hour (5:55-17:00)||50||2.5h|
|Shanghai Bus Station||7:20; 10:20||50||2.5h|
|Hongqiao Bus Station||8:00-17:00||50||1.5h|
|Hangzhou||Hangzhou North Bus Station||10 buses (8:00—17:30)||45||2h|
|Suzhou||Suzhou South Bus Station||6:30-18:10||25||1h|
|Suzhou North Bus Station||every 30 minutes (6:10-17:40)||25||1h|
With China Travel
This will solve your problems, like not knowing Chinese, finding the bus or train station, going to the wrong station or town, and waiting. Our English-speaking guide who knows Nanxun well and our experienced driver will make your trip easy and fun, and serve your party only, on your tour day.
We pick you up at the place you tell us (hotel, cruise terminal, airport, or train station) and guide you in Nanxun, and then transfer you to the place you want to go:
Best Time to Visit Luzhi
The scenery of Nanxun is suitable for a visit all year round.
- During weekdays, there will be fewer people.
- There are many attractions in this town, so if you go there at a weekend, when you meet a big tour group at an attraction, you can go and see other attractions first to avoid the crowds.
Always avoid Chinese public holidays like National Day and Labor Day.
Admission fee: 100 RMB