Xitang Water Town

Written by Vanessa Zheng Updated Oct. 31, 2023

Located at the junction of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanghai, Xitang is a historic and vibrant water town. Known for its numerous bridges, lanes, and corridors, Xitang provides a glimpse into the past.

A 1.5-hour drive from Shanghai and Suzhou, and roughly 2 hours from Hangzhou, it's easy to make a day's trip here from any of these cities.

Wuzhen Water Town Facts

Why Visit Xitang Ancient Town

The unique feature of Xitang is its covered waterside walkways, setting it apart from other water towns. 

Xitang has preserved its natural environment and is renowned as a thousand-year-old livable town, with its primary identity as a community, rather than a tourist attraction.

Xitang is included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list and holds the honorary titles of "The Most Charming Film and Television Base in Water Town" and one of "China's Top Ten Ancient Towns.

Top Things to Do in Xitang

1. Walk under Covered Corridor

The most distinct characteristic of Xitang, making it different from other water towns, is its covered corridor. This tile-roofed footpath, stretching over 1,000 meters, is constructed along the waterside providing shelter to visitors from the scorching sun or rain.

The corridor's elegance, vintage charm, and intricately carved decorative patterns transport one back in time. Long benches are strategically placed on the waterside of the corridor, perfect for a leisurely respite.

2. Explore Old Bridges

More than 100 old stone bridges adorn this ancient town. Spanning the river, these bridges seamlessly connect the six distinct areas of the town, with nearly 600 years of history embedded in their architecture. 

The masterly craftsmanship of these bridges is a visual delight, with the exquisite structures jutting out above the waterways, like flaring clusters of diamonds adorning the neck of the old town.

3. Walk Along the Ancient Lanes

There are many ancient lanes in Xitang, long and short, wide and narrow. These lanes interlink streets, waterways, and houses, Each lane has its own name.

All the 122 lanes are paved with stone slates, the most famous and best-preserved is Shipi Lane. With a length of 68 meters, it measures approximately 1 meter at its widest and narrows down to just 80 centimeters, allowing for only one person to pass at a time.

4. Explore Places where Mission Impossible III was Shot

'Mission Impossible III,' there features a scene where Tom Cruise makes a run across the roofs of buildings in an oriental ancient town— a scene filmed in Xitang. From November 24th to 26th, 2005, the film crew spent three days in Xitang. 

For film enthusiasts, visiting the original filming locations could make for an exciting experience.

5. Try the Local Food

The most famous local dishes are Braised Pigs' Feet, Shepherd's Purse Baoyuan, and Eight Treasure Pastry.

Braised Pigs' Feet, a delicacy favored by locals, is a must-try. It is often served on important occasions such as weddings, house-moving days, and family reunions, owing to its symbolization of fertility, unity, and good luck.

How to Get to Xitang

Xitang is in Jiashan County, Zhejiang province, just 85 kilometers from downtown Suzhou, 90 kilometers from Shanghai, and 110 kilometers from Hangzhou. It offers the perfect day-trip option for you if you are in one of the big cities.

From Shanghai - 90km (about 1.5 hours' drive)

You can take a high-speed train from Shanghai to Jiashan South Railway Station, then change to a tourist bus or bus K222 to the scenic area.

Alternatively, you could take a bus from the Shanghai South Long Distance Bus Station directly to the Xitang Bus Station (Jiashan North Station). From here, it's a 10-minute walk to the scenic area.

From Suzhou - 85km (about 1.5 hours' drive)

You can take a high-speed train from Suzhou to Jiashan South Railway Station, and then change to a tourist bus or bus K222 to Xitang.

Alternatively, take a bus from the Suzhou South Bus Station or North Square Bus Station, and then it's about a 10-minute walk to the scenic area.

From Hangzhou - 110km (about 2 hours' drive)

Take a high-speed train from Hangzhou to Jiashan South Railway Station, then change to a tourist bus or bus K222 to Xitang.

Alternatively, take a bus from Hangzhou Jiubao Bus Station to Xitang Bus Station (Jiashan North Station). From the Xitang Bus Station, you can reach the scenic area with a roughly 10-minute walk.

Travel with China Travel (Recommended)

This option will solve any problems you might face. Our experienced English-speaking guide and driver will make your trip easy and fun, and serve only your party.

We'll pick you up at the place you tell us (hotel, cruise terminal, airport, or train station), guide you to Xitang, and then transfer you to your next destination.

One of our most popular offerings - 1-Day Private Xitang Water Town Tour from Shanghai

How to Plan Your Xitang Tour

You May Like to Read

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

Also read: the Top water towns close to Hangzhou, which is better for you?

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