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Zhouzhuang

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[[Image:Zhouzhuang.JPG|thumb{{pagebanner|A canal in ZhouzhuangBanner. Boat operators ferry tourists down the canals while singing songs ]]jpg}}  <div>__TOC__</div>  
'''Zhouzhuang''' (周庄) [http://www.suzhou.gov.cn/English/Travel/25.shtml] is [[China]]'s oldest water town. It is the [[Venice]] of China (a description given to a number of towns). Be warned that there are a lot of tourists (although predominantly from China), which means high prices and lots of people hustling you to buy things. On holidays and weekends the old town will be so packed that it is difficult to move around. This aside it's worth the visit.
[[Image:Zhouzhuang.JPG|thumb|A canal in Zhouzhuang. Boat operators ferry tourists down the canals while singing songs ]]==DescriptionUnderstand==
Zhouzhuang, known as Zhenfang Lane in ancient times, is located southeast of the city of Suzhou and to the Southwest of Kunshan. I In the Spring and Autumn Period, Zhouzhuang was a part of the King of Wu and called Yaocheng. It was called Zhouzhuang after ZhouDigong donated more than 200 acres to the local Quanfu Temple during the Yuan Dynasty (1860). By the mid-Yuan Dynasty, Wanshan Shen was using its superior geographical advantage to do trade, hence, Zhouzhuang became a distribution center of food, silk, ceramics, arts and crafts in the south of China. It was officially named Zhouzhuang town on the beginning of Qing Dynasty.
“Small bridge, Flowing water, people” is the special characteristics of Zhouzhuang. Every family has its own pier in the water town. There is a proverb in Zhouzhuang is the “sedan chair through into the front door and the boat through the home gone”. “The boat through the home gone” means that there is a stream flows in the yard of the Hall of Zhang’s Residence. There is a big pool in Zhang’s Residence which used unloading in the past.
There is no seasonality in Zhouzhuang’s tourism, but you had batter not to go there on National Day and Labor Day. Because there will be over-crowing crowding and you hardly move in the narrow alley and bridge. If you stay there, don't miss the nightfall and morning. Because you will feel the simple and original beauty of Zhouzhuang.
==ArrivalGet in==
As the transportation is well-developed, it is very convenient to get Zhouzhuang. There is only 60 kilometers away from Zhouzhuang to Shanghai downtown; 38 kilometers away to Suzhou downtown; 30 kilometers away to Kunshan downtown.
 
If you go there at night (after 9:30pm or even later), you can directly go into it without any payment. It is really a good way to save money. Also, you can get up early the next day and travel around in it, the morning is not crowded, and so you can have a better experience in it. The majority travelers will come after 10:00am.
===By car===
From Shanghai: A9 highway-getting off at Jinze- go about 4 km of 318 State Road-Shangzhou Road- Zhouzhuang
 
From Kunshan: Kunzhou Road-Jinxi-Zhouzhuang, 38 killomaters
 
From Suzhou (via Tongli): Suzhou-Sujia Road-Songling Town- Songbei Road- Pingwang-Huqingping Road-Beiku-Jinjiabei-Zhouzhuang
 From Suzhou (via Yongzhi):Suhong airport(via Yongzhi and Zhangpu)-Zhouxiang- Kunzhou Road-Dashi-Jinxi-Zhouzhuang,71 killomaters 
From Zhejiang: Jiaxing exit of the Huhang highway-Sujia Road-Pingwang-Huqingping Road-Beiku-Jinjiabei-Zhouzhuang
===By bus===
From Shanghai: 1. Shanghai People Stadium. Tel: 64,265,555. Departure time: 7:00, 8:30, 9:05, 9:45, 12:10,14:00; the price is 200RMB include round-trip fees and visiting tickets 120RMB. 2. Hongkou Football Stadium. The No.5 gate. Departure time: 8:15 and 16:15 to return. The price is 240RMB include round-trip fees and enter the tourist area of Zhouzhuang (120RMB)
In general# Shanghai Tour Bus Center (上海旅游集散中心) just outside the Cao Xi Road subway stop for line 3. Get out at Exit 3 and turn right. You can see the Shanghai Tour Bus Center Building (big gray new building) just next to subway station. You can purchase your tickets there ( also in advance) and the buses normally leave from Gate No. 1 at the bus center ( 2nd floor). The former Tour bus center at Gate 5 of Shanghai Stadium does no longer exist (june 2013). Tel: 24095555. Departure time: 7:00, 8:30, 9:30, 10:10, 10:45, 12:10,14:00. The price is &yen;150 (&yen;75 for senior citizens over the age of 70) which includes round-trip fees and entrance tickets (&yen;120). # Hongkou Football Stadium. The No.5 gate. Departure time: 8:15 and 16:15 to return. The price is reasonable, because &yen;240 include round-trip fees and enter the entering fee tourist area of Zhouzhuang is 160RMB(&yen;120). But it It gives you only 5.5 hours in the town. It is , which may not be enough to enjoy the beauty spot to lots of people.# Long Distance Bus station, next to the railway station. This is a regular bus, not a turist bus. Departures from Shanghai: 8:00, 12:00, 14:20 and 16:50. The last bus home to Shanghai leaves Zhouzhuang at 16:30.
If you go there at night (after 9From Suzhou:30pm or even later), you can directly go into it without any payment. It is really a good way to save money. Also, you can get up early the next day and travel around in it, the morning is not crowded, and so you can have a better experience in it. The majority travelers will come after 10:00am.
Suzhou: 1. # Ferry Terminal. Departure time: 10:40, 14:30.2. # Wuxian bus station. Departure time: 7:15, 9:40, 14:15, 14:20.3. # North bus station. It is a tourist bus. Departure time is 6:45 and 18:00 to return. It comes every half an hour and takes about 60 minutes.
==Notable sightsSee==
* '''The Hall of Shen’s Residence'''. Built in 1742 and located at the southeast side of Fu’an Bridge, Shen’s house was the private property of the descendant of Shen Wansan, who was the first millionaire of the south of Yantze River in the early Qing Dynasty. His property was envied by the king and he personally funded to repair one-third of the Nanjing Ming city wall. He has many industries in various places, but he always made Zhouzhuang as his foundation. The whole building is Qing-style. Shen’s house occupies an area of more than 2,000 square meters (half an acre) and over 100 rooms. It consists of three parts. The first part is the wall of the water gate and pier, which is used by Shen's family moored boats and washed clothes. The middle part includes the gate tower, the tearoom and the main hall. Tea room and main hall are places for serving guests, and handling weddings, funerals and other events. The furnishings in here are all very elegant. The main hall called “Songmao hall” covers an area of 170 square meters and up to 6 meters. It carved very vivid figures, beast, and pavilions. The last section is the two-storied dwelling which consists of several buildings which are quite different from the main hall, more comfortable and refined in pattern and atmosphere.
* '''South lake'''. It is located in the south of Zhouzhuang, commonly known as “Nanbai swing”. Only one third of lake is Zhouzhuang; the rest are Wujiang City. The lake is surrounded by trees and bamboos and attracts lots of visitors. According to South Lake’s natural beauty and historical relics, local people built South Lake Garden. The whole garden is divided four beauty spot as the unique scenery in spring, suumer, autumn and winter. It covers an area of 3.6 hectares, and construction area of 6300 square meters. The beauty spot in spring and summer is for the landscape garden. Wanghu building, Jiuqu Bridge, LIngbo marble boat were built around with lotus pond. Autumn beauty spot is a set of Halls, temples, pavilions, corridors, rockeries in a park. The beauty spot in winter is mainly about Quanfu Temple.
==Things to doDo==
1. Ancient stage (Drama performances, folk songs, ballads, etc.)
There are many boat tours that will take you all around to see the entire town. A typical boat tour will cost you around ¥20-40.
==Eating outEat==
There are many special snacks in Zhouzhuang and the most famous one is Wansan's pig shank, locally called “Wansan's elbows” or “Wansan's hoof”, which originated in Wansan Shen’s family in the Ming Dynasty. It is commonly eaten when entertaining guests.
Fish and shellfish are available all the year round and the best of them are perch, white clams and freshwater whitebait.
==ShoppingBuy==
There are several traditional crafts including woven Bamboo and Zhuanglu. Zhouzhuang teapots are also unique and while usually made of porcelain or ceramic, in Zhouzhuang they are made of stone. There are also lots of Suzhou embroidery and pearls.
==Sleep==
Usually Zhouzhuang is considered a day trip destination. Most of visitors come back to Shanghai or Suzhou. There are many star graded hotels in Zhouzhuang are in the new city area. Yunhai Resort (a four star hotel) stands beside beautiful Baixun Lake and the price starts at &yen;260 RMB. Three Oxens Garden Hotel (a three star hotel) is situated in central Zhouzhuang and has rooms from &yen;210 RMB. Yunting Villa (a four star hotel) is located in the ancient town. This hotel is close to some famous sights such as the Double Bridge, Shen’s House and Zhang’s House and rooms start from &yen;190 RMB.
There is also a youth hostel named Twinbridge Hostel in Zhouzhuang which is only a few steps to the symbol of Zhouzhuang, the Twinbridge. The price is quite competitive for backpackers and it is very near to the other noteworthy sights. The hostel staff speak fluent English and can help you with all your visit to Zhouzhuang. High demand has given them a rather cavalier attitude towards bookings, however, so be warned and do not assume that even a booking deposit will be honored.
If you enjoy a romantic setting, you can choose private guesthouses. These are situated along the river and the price range from is &yen;100 to 300RMB -300 a night.
==Stay safe==
Do not be scammed by vendors. Many will say items are handcrafted and hand painted. If an item is in extreme abundance the item is likely made in mass quantity. Some vendors will even have paint sitting out to portray the idea that the items are handcrafted
==DepartureGet out==
The bus station (NOT the sightseeing bus parking lot at Fuguiyuan) is located at the north end of town on Daqiao Lu. According to the 3RMB &yen;3 map sold by old ladies in various parking lots around town, the bus schedule runs like this:
To 青浦([[Qingpu]]) from 0630 to 1720, every 30 minutes.
To 苏州 ([[Suzhou]]) from 0610 to 1700, every 30 minutes. To 上海([[Shanghai]]) 0600, 0830, 0915, 1140, 1250, 1420, 1620
To 上海(Shanghai嘉兴 ([[Jiaxing]]) 0600 0850, 0830, 0915, 1140, 1250, 1420, 16201235
To 嘉兴 (Jiaxing) 0850As of july, 12352012, the bus leaves for Shanghai according to the following schedule:9:15, 11:20, 14:20, 16:30
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