Zhouzhuang Water Town in Suzhou

Why is Zhouzhuang Water Town So Special?

Zhouzhuang, located in Kunshan, Suzhou, is one of the six ancient towns in the south of the Yangtze River. It was named as a famous town in Chinese history and culture in 2003. Zhouzhuang has a long history, is a typical style of water villages in the south of the Yangtze River, has a unique cultural landscape, and is a treasure of Chinese water village culture and Wu local culture.

Where is Zhouzhuang Water Town

Zhouzhuang, one of China’s most famous water villages, is located in the southwest of Kunshan City, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, only 18 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of Suzhou.

History of Zhouzhuang Water Town

During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), this small town was part of the fief of Yaocheng and was called Zhenfengli. In the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), a very devout Buddhist, Zhou Degong, donated it to Quanfu Temple. It took its present name as a memorial to the donor.

In 2003, it was named a famous town of Chinese history and culture.

Main Attractions of Zhouzhuang Water Town

Twin Bridges

Zhouzhuang water village is surrounded and divided by lakes and rivers. Fourteen stone bridges span the river, showing the unique features of the watery region. The double bridge, which consists of Shide Bridge and Yong ‘an Bridge, is the most famous and is regarded as a symbol of a peaceful town. Shuangqiao was built during the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty (1573-1619) and is located in the northeast of the town. In 1984, 38 oil paintings by famous painter Chen Yifei were displayed in new york Gallery named after armand hammer, chairman of Western Oil Company. Memories of Hometown, depicting Shuangqiao, is one of the items on display and has won worldwide attention for Zhouzhuang Watertown. This painting was selected as the first day cover of the United Nations stamp in 1985.

Fu’an Bridge

Fu ‘an Bridge, located at the eastern end of Zhongshi Street, was built in 1355 of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The unique feature of Fu ‘an Bridge lies in the perfect combination of the single arch bridge and the bridge tower. There is no internal staircase connecting the ground floor and the second floor. People must make a detour through the bridge stairs to reach the second floor. The tower is used as a teahouse, restaurant and shop, providing a good place to enjoy the scenery during rest.

Shen House

Shen Zhai was built in 1742 and is located on the east and south side of Fu ‘an Bridge. It is the private property of the descendants of Shen Wansan, the richest man in the south of the Yangtze River in the early Ming Dynasty. The whole building complex is Ming style, covering an area of more than 0.7 acres (2900 square meters). More than 100 rooms are divided into three parts, connected by arcades and aisles. The first is the lock and dock, where Shenyang berths ships and washes clothes. The middle part includes the gate house, the teahouse and the main hall. The brick gate house is carved with vivid and clever characters, telling historical stories or expressing good wishes, making it a rare artwork.

Zhang House

The house was built by the Xu family in the Ming Dynasty’s Zheng Tong era (1436-1449) and bought by the Zhang family in the early Qing Dynasty. Located to the south of Shuangqiao, Zhang’s Mansion has more than 60 rooms and covers about 0.44 acres (1800 square meters). As Zhu Jing flows through, Zhang Zhai is a neat and elegant house with a quiet courtyard and pond. The deep hall shows the seclusion of the former owner.

Milou Tower

Once called the De’s Tavern, Milou Tower perches next to Zhenfeng Bridge which is at the southwest corner of Zhouzhuang Ancient Town. It is famous for being a rallying place of the literators in old times. Numerous poets, songs and stories about Milou Tower are wide spread and make it more charming.

Best Time to Travel Zhouzhuang Water Town

March-April and September-October are the best travel times in Zhouzhuang Water Town.

But in Hangzhou, there is no season or weather. No matter in spring, summer, autumn and winter, rain or shine, rain or snow, it can conjure up a beautiful appearance. September-November: The weather is crisp in autumn, and sweet osmanthus trees full of Longgui rain are fragrant for ten miles. Before and after the Mid-Autumn Festival, you can watch the spring tide in Qiantang during the day and enjoy the moon in the lake at night. March-May: The spring breeze is warm and the spring water is intoxicating. It is most suitable for strolling along the Suzhou Creek and enjoying the flowers.

How to Get There

 Get to Zhouzhuang Water Town from Shanghai

  • Take a bus from from Shanghai to Zhouzhuang at Shanghai South Long-Distance Bus Station. The bus departs at 8:00 and 13:11, at a fare of CNY 34.
  • Take a bus from Shanghai Intercity Bus Terminal. The bus departs at 8:30, 10:40, 14:20, and 16:20, at a fare of CNY 29 or 34.
  •  Take a bus from Shanghai Hongqiao Long-Distance Bus Station. The bus departs at 8:45 and 14:06, at a fare of CNY 34.
  • Take a tourist bus from the General Station of the Shanghai Tour Bus Center or Hongkou Branch to the town.
  •  Take Shanghai Metro Line 11, get off at Huaqiao Station and then change Kunshan tourism bus no. 7 to Zhouzhuang Bus Station.

Get to Zhouzhuang Water Town from Suzhou

  •  From Suzhou to Zhouzhuang, visitors can take a bus at Suzhou North Bus Station. The bus departs about every 40 minutes from 7:00 to 18:05, at a fare of CNY 16.
  • Take a Suzhou to Zhouzhuang bus from the north square of Suzhou Railway Station. The bus departs about every 30 to 40 minutes from 6:50 to 18:10, at a fare of CNY 16.

Get to Zhouzhuang Water Town from Hangzhou

Take a bus from Hangzhou North Bus Station located at No. 766 Moganshan Road to Kunshan New Bus Station. Then take bus no. 130 or tourism bus. no 1 and get off at the town.

Useful Travel Tips

Admission Fees

Daytime Ticket: CNY 100 (for entry to the town and seeing 15 scenic spots)

Night Ticket: CNY 80 (for entry after 16:00 and seeing only two scenic spots – Shen House and Zhang House)

Free of charge for children below 4.6 feet (1.4 meters).
1. One can enter the town without a ticket from 20:00 to 7:00 the next morning, but can not visit any of the scenic spots inside without a ticket.
2. If a daytime ticket holder wants to stay overnight in the town, he/she should have his/her picture taken and printed on the ticket at the ticket office, so that the validity of the ticket can be extended to three days. During the three days, one can enter and exit freely.

Opening Hours The town is open all day long.
The scenic spots inside are open from 8:00 to 16:30, except Zhang House and Shen House are open for the whole day.
Performance Four Seasons of Zhouzhuang: CNY 150 (ordinary seat)

Free for children below 1.2 meters (3.9 feet), without seat; CNY 75 for children between 1.2 and 1.4 meters (3.9 – 4.6 feet), with seat.

Boat CNY 180 for a daytime cruise; CNY 220 for a night cruise

A boat allows six people at most and a cruise takes about half an hour.

  • If you want to walk longer, be sure to bring a pair of comfortable shoes.
  • Whether you are traveling to West Lake or Hangzhou, bicycles are very good choices. 

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Doreen/张洋