Xitang Water Town

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Jun. 15, 2022

Located at the junction of Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, and Shanghai, Xitang is an ancient and quiet water town, completely different from the hustle and bustle of nearby Shanghai.


Xitang Water Town

Characters of Xitang Water Town

Cobbled streets wind through the town, old buildings stand along the waterside, plain bridges cross the canals, and rowing boats lingering on the river.

In the early morning, there is fresh air and light fog; in the evening, the setting sun casts a rosy glow on the old tiled roofs, and the reflection of glistening lights flickers on the water. All of this makes Xitang like an ink wash painting with dramatic scenery.

Top Things to Do in Xitang



1. Explore Old Bridges

There are more than 100 old stone bridges in the ancient town.  These bridges span over the river and connect the 6 areas of the town.   They have a history of nearly 600 years.

The masterly craftsmanship of the bridges provides a feast for the eyes. Exquisite bridges are scattered above the waterways, like flaring clusters of diamonds on the neck of the old town.


Covered Corridor

2. Walk under Covered Corridor

The most unique feature of Xitang, distinguishing it from other water towns, is its covered corridor. This is a tile-roofed footpath built along the waterside, more than 1,000 meters long, providing shelter for people from the scorching sunlight or rain.

The corridor’s elegance, vintage, and carved decorative patterns create the illusion of living in times past. Long benches are situated on the waterside of the corridor, facilitating a leisurely rest.

3. Explore Ancient Lanes

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

Of all the 122 lanes paved with stone slates, Shipi Lane is the most famous and best-preserved, 68 meters long. It is about 1 meter wide at its widest and only 80 centimeters at its narrowest, with space for only one person to pass at a time.

4. Explore Places where Mission Impossible III was Shot

In the movie Mission Impossible III, there is a scene in which Tom Cruise runs on the roofs of the buildings in an oriental ancient town. That scene was filmed in Xitang.

The film crew spent three days in Xitang, from November 24th to 26th, 2005, so if you are a fan of the film, it might be interesting when visit Xitang to see where it was shot.

5. Try the Local Food

xitang town

Braised Pigs’ Feet

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

Braised Pigs' Feet is a famous dish popular with locals. Because of its positive associations – having babies earlier, reunions, and good luck – it is usually served on important occasions, such as weddings, moving house, and family reunions. Made with fresh pigs’ feet and dozens of condiments, through boiling, steaming, and braising, the meat is soft and tender. 

Best Hotels to Stay in Xitang


Hotel with water town’s characteristics

There are two kinds of accommodation. On weekdays the price ranges from CNY 100 to CNY 300, but at weekends or on holidays the price will be higher.

1. Starred Hotels

There are many starred hotels in Xitang. Compared with those in big cities, their rooms are simpler, reflecting the water town’s characteristics. The most popular is Xitang Holiday Inn (three-star), near the Water Town entrance.

2. Waterfront Hostels

These hostels are built on the waterfront, so the beautiful scenery outside the windows is their distinctive feature, despite their plainness otherwise. They are cheaper than starred hotels.

How to Get to Xitang from Shanghai, Suzhou, and Nanjing



Shanghai - Xitang

Take the high-speed train from Hongqiao Railway Station to Jiashan South Railway Station, and change to bus K222 for the scenic area. Or take bus K702 to Jiashan Passenger Transport Center, change to bus K215 or K216, and get off at Xitang Bus Station. Then walk about 5 minutes to the scenic area.

Suzhou to Xitang

Take a bus from the South Bus Station, before walking about an hour to the scenic area.

Hangzhou to Xitang

Take a bus from Transport Central Station to Jiashan, before taking bus K215 or K216. Get off at Xitang Bus Station and walk about 5 minutes to reach the scenic area.

Nanjing to Xitang

Take the bullet train from Nanjing South Railway Station to Jiashan, before taking bus K215 or K216. Get off at Xitang Bus Station and then walk about 5 minutes to reach the scenic area.

Getting Around Xitang

xitang water town

Xitang Boat Tour

Xitang does not have motorized traffic, for motor vehicles are prohibited. The only available transport is by boat or on foot.

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 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 to Xitang, and then transfer you to the place you want to go.

Best Time to Visit

Xitang has different highlights in different seasons. April and May when the flowers – especially azaleas – are blossoming, are the most romantic months. And July is the best month for tasting crab. The most rain falls between September and November. Besides, there are far fewer tourists in December and January, so those two months are ideal for those who like to travel in relative peace.

Other Two Ancient Towns close to Xitang

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

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