Zhujiajiao Water Town - The Closest Water Town to Shanghai

Written by Vanessa Zheng Updated Dec. 4, 2023

Zhujiajiao Water Town, often referred to as the 'Venice of Shanghai', is one of the top four ancient towns in Shanghai, conveniently located just about an hour’s drive away from the downtown area.

The town is renowned for its quaint stone bridges, calm waterways, time-worn houses, attractive willow trees, and winding stone streets. As the nearest popular ancient town to Shanghai, a visit to Zhujiajiao is well worth it.

Zhujiajiao Water Town Facts

Zhujiajiao Water Town

Why Visit Zhujiajiao Ancient 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.

fangsheng bridge
Sightseeing Boats

Top 6 Things to Do in Zhujiaojiao

Here are 6 activities in Zhujiajiao that China Travel highly recommends, to capture the authentic charm of this water town.

1. Explore Kezhi Garden

This tranquil and peaceful garden, used for learning and planting, is located on North Street. 

It features a gallery, an artificial hill, and a park. The garden is adorned with climbable rock formations, explorable caves, and a fish pond where you can feed the fish.

2. Photography at Stone Fangsheng Bridge

Fangsheng Bridge, a pedestrian-only medieval bridge, spans the main waterway of Zhujiajiao.

Built-in 1812, it's said to be the largest stone arch bridge in Shanghai and is a symbolic spot of the city, making it a top location for photography.

3. Experience the Qing Dynasty Post Office

Step back to the Qing Dynasty Post Office, the first post office in eastern China built in 1892. 

Here, you'll encounter curiosities such as the fish-style envelopes used in ancient times and old Shanghai postcards, offering insights into the evolution of the Chinese postal service.

Qing Dynasty Post Office
Qing Dynasty Post Office

4. Visit the City God Temple

The City God Temple, or Chenghuang Miao, is a respected Taoist temple where authentic worship continues to take place. 

In addition to the religious experience, you can also rest and admire the features of the temple, such as the ancient stage, a large abacus, and a centuries-old ginkgo tree within the temple grounds.

5. Walk Along North Street

North Street, or Bei Dajie, has a 400-year history, known as the 'First Street of the Ming and Qing Dynasties' in Shanghai. Modern yet steeped in tradition, it is brimming with shops, ranging from restaurants to souvenir stores. 

Signature century-old brands like 'Handalong Soy Sauce Garden' and the 'First Teahouse in Jiangnan' preserve their historical charm as you sample local snacks on a leisurely stroll down Bei Dajie.

6. Have a Short Cruise along the Canals

Experience the town from a different perspective on a sightseeing boat. It's a short 10-minute ride, giving you a quick scenic tour.

How to Get to Zhujiajiao

 Zhouzhuang is situated in Qingpu district, Shanghai, around 50 kilometers from the Bund - the center of Shanghai.

From Shanghai 

There are four main ways to reach Zhujiajiao from downtown Shanghai:

  • By Metro: Utilize Shanghai Metro Line 11 from Downtown or Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station and disembark at the Zhujiajiao Station.
    From here, a 20-minute walk north will take you to your destination.
  • By Bus: You can catch the Huzhu Express Line from Pu'an Jinling Road, which lies in close proximity to Renming Square, and get off at the Zhujiajiao Bus Station. Next a 15-minute walk westwards will take you to the spot.
    Alternatively, you can hop on the Qingpu Line 19, which takes you directly to Zhujiajiao town.
  • By Taxi: A taxi ride from the Bund area to Zhujiajiao Water Town would cost you approximately CNY200 (USD28).
  • Travel with China Travel: A stress-free and efficient alternative would be to tour with China Travel. Our most popular tours:
    1-Day Private Zhujiajiao Water Town Tour from Shanghai
    4-day Shanghai Highlights and Zhujiajiao Water Town Tour
Zhujiajiao Water Town

From Pudong International Airport/Cruise Terminal

If you have about a 12-hour layover in Shanghai, consider taking a trip to Zhujiajiao Water Town. A private tour with China Travel is likely your best option, providing comprehensive services including sightseeing, meals, and transportation.

Your guide will ensure you maximize your time, picking you up from your specified location, whether it be the port or airport, and returning you to your preferred destination.

Contact us directly with your specific needs and requirements. Our expert will help you to arrange the most suitable tour.

How to Plan Your Tongli Tour

  • Location: located in Qingpu District, about 50 km away from downtown Shanghai.
  • Opening Hours: All Day; Specific attractions in the town: 8:30-16:30​
  • Entrance Fee: It is free for you to just walk around, but an entrance fee is required if you go into the spots. For your reference:
    1. CNY 40 - access to four selected scenic spots including Kezhi Garden, City God Temple, Yuanjin Temple, and the Shanghai Handicraft Exhibition Hall.
    2. CNY 60 - grants access to a different set of four scenic spots: Kezhi Garden, Hexin Garden, Shanghai Quanhua Art Gallery, and the Helong Art Gallery.
    3. CNY 80 - a combination ticket for the seven scenic spots mentioned above.
  • Travel with Shanghai: It will be good for you to combine your Zhujiajiao tour with your Shanghai travel. Just contact us about your needs so our experienced travel advisor can help you arrange your unique Shanghai trip.


1. The 4-site typically is suitable for a half-day tour while the 7-site is better for a full-day trip.

2. Zhujijiao tends to become quite crowded with both local and foreign visitors during weekends and public holidays in China. To better enjoy your tour, consider visiting on a weekday.

Other Ancient Towns around Shanghai

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: Top water towns close to Shanghai, which one to visit?

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