China’s Lesser-known Water Towns: as Beautiful as Wuzhen and Zhouzhuang

For the in-the-know travelers, Jiangnan’s famous water towns including Wuzhen and Zhouzhuang are too commercial, with rows of identical new stores and being packed with visitors. Fortunately, given China’s sheer size, it is not difficult to find other hidden towns and villages, as beautiful and cultural as Wuzhen, but more authentic and peaceful.

Anchang Town (安昌古镇)

Location: northwest of Heqiao District, Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province, and connected with Xiaoshan District of Hangzhou

Anchang Town was initially built in North Song Dynasty (960 – 1127), but almost destroyed in the years of wars. Later in Ming and Qing Dynasty, it was reconstructed with a layout in the classical Jiangnan water town style. The 1747-meter-long main street was built along the river, and divides the town into two parts, the residential area and the commercial area, which are connected by dozens of small bridges. In the twelfth month of the lunar year, every family will make sausages. Numerous homemade sausages are hung over the windows, corridors and pavilions, resembling rows of heavy curtains.

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Hangzhou Water Towns Tour

Gulao Water Town (古劳水乡)

Location: Northwest of Heshan City, Guangdong Province

The laid-back town of Gulao is of wetland ecosystem by covering 9.5-square-kilometer fishponds and parcels of cultivation land. Over the past 600 years, hundreds of rivers and fishponds have stretched and crisscrossed, resembling a huge spiderweb. For those seeking the poetic sentiment, the town looks like a rural landscape painting and an ‘Oriental Venice’. Sculling boat is the most common means of transportation here, and takes people to the separated villages and farmland, passing by century-old banyan trees and ancient bridges.

Cultural Canton Tour

Canton History tour

Chaji Ancient Town (查济古村落)

Location: TaohuaTan Town, Jing Country, Xuancheng City, Anhui Province

A primitive, less-visited Huizhou style old town at the foot of Yellow Mountain, Chaji (Cha Chi) has the largest collection of preserved ancient dwelling houses in China. There are still more than 140 ancient architectures tracing back to Yuan, Ming or Qing Dynasty (1271 – 1912), including over 40 old bridges, 30 ancestral halls and 5 temples and monasteries. Better yet, Chaji is much more peaceful than Hongcun Village or Xidi Village, without tourist crowds, even in peak tourist season.

Anhui Culture Tour

Yellow Mountain old town tour

Pianyan Town (偏岩古镇)

Location: Northeast Beibei District, Chongqing 

Built during the reign of Qianlong Emperor (1711 – 1799) in Qing Dynasty, Pianyan was an important commercial town on Ancient Huaying Road. The dwelling houses, long slate-paved streets, markets, tea houses, stilted buildings over Heishui Tan River are wonderful reminders of what Pianyan Town was. Chongqing people enjoy many different ways to have fun in the river: fishing, swimming, and even having dinner and playing mahjong on the water.

Tour to Chongqing

Chongqing gourmet tour

Jinxi Old Town (锦溪古镇)

Location: Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province

Jinxi is embraced by lakes, with Shen River running through the town. Legend has that it was the burial place of the most favored wife of Emperor Songxiaozong (1127 – 1194). Its 36 ancient bridges of different designs, quaint courtyards and corridors make the scenery beautiful, serene and charming. Shiyan Bridge (Ten Eyes Bridge) is the most famous and beautiful bridge.

Jiangsu water towns

Jiangsu culture tours

Minghe Ancient Town (鸣鹤古镇)

Location: Southeast Cixi Country, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province

The town has a history of over 1200 years, but most of the buildings were constructed during Ming and Qing Dynasties, including seven ancient bridges. Join the locals to visit the local markets, which appeared in Song Dynasty. You may get lost in time when stepping into the oldest shops.

Travel to Ningbo Zhejiang

Zhejiang Ningbo attractions

Fengjian Water Town (逢简水乡)

Location: Xingtan Town, Shunde District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province

Fengjian Water Town has a history going back nearly 2,300 years. Arrange yourself a boat trip to find out a wealth of historical and cultural sites. For foodies, don’t miss the local dishes of Canton Shunde Cuisine, including the ‘fish banquet’. To visit a cultural place like Fengjian Town, you’re suggested to make the trip at a traditional holiday, for instance, the Dragon Boat Festival, to experience the unique happy Chinese festival atmosphere.

China water town tours

Chinese ancient town discovery

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China Ancient Village Image Gallery: the Tile-roofed Houses

An important part of traditional Chinese dwellings, the tile-roofed houses was everywhere in old China, and now can still be seen in the ancient villages.

China old village vacation

The tiles can be black, red, green, blue or yellow, and create a simple and unsophisticated atmosphere or a grandiose imposing manner.

tour to China

The tile roof was first used on the distinguished temples and palaces, with the expensive, ornate glazed tiles. They haven’t been widely used by ordinary people until Song and Yuan Dynasty (960-1368). Later in Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), the tile-roof architecture reached its heyday.

China culture tour

The traditional tile-roofed dwellings are well-lit, well-ventilated, and antiseptic. They usually have a beautiful outline, with the roof being embossed with designs of various flowers, insects, birds and animals. The zoomorphism decorates, according to traditional Chinese culture, imply good luck and perfect peace.

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The Forbidden City is the symbol of imperial power.

China tours for historical sights

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The oddly-shaped tulou building in Fujian

Piangyao’s Ming-Qing Street is lined with the most traditional vernacular dwellings in northern China

China Tours to Pingyao

The elegant Huizhou architectures are endowed with black tiles and white walls.

China tours to Huangshan

Jiangnan’s (East China) ancient water towns are dreamlike worlds – will you lose track of time?

China Has its First Legoland Park in Shanghai

Legoland has arrived in Shanghai!

Since its soft opening from April 2, 2016, the Shanghai Legoland Discovery Center has made wonderful memories for numerous visitors, and is now fully open to the guests of all ages, yet adults are require accompanying kids to enter.

So, yeah, if you’re thinking about travelling to Shanghai or going to Shanghai for a weekend with children, don’t miss it – the plenty of activities and 10 LEGO themed parks are going to cheer up the kids and also their parents, and promise them a special ‘Lego Time’.

Location: L2, No. 196 Daduhe Road, Putuo District, Shanghai

Daily from: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Ticket price: 180RMB per person, children shorter than one meter are entitled to free entry to the Center

Legoland Shanghai tickets visit to Shanghai Legoland

LEGO Factory Tour

Start the journey of discovery with every single Lego brick. Characters Bertie and Bonnie will take you on a thrilling adventure and show how LEGO bricks are made. Create your own Lego character in this magic world.

Legoland park in China

Kingdom Quest

Clamber aboard your cool chariot, shoot and defeat the evil skeletons and giant trolls with your powerful laser gun. The fate of the princess rests entirely in your hands!

travel to Shanghai Legoland Discovery Center

Miniland

Find out the landmarks of Shanghai in the miniature size, such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Tower, and the Expo Theme Pavilion of Shanghai World Expo 2010, which are made from over 1 million LEGO bricks.

Trip to Shanghai Legoland

Magic Bikes

Kids will love to sit in this specially designed ride and spin in a 360º circular fashion, as they’ll fly up and find themselves enter into a fantastic world.

Tour to Legoland Shanghai

Creative Workshop

In the workshop, learn from the patient LEGO masters and use your imagination to build spectacular models by yourself!

Shanghai Legoland Discovery Center

4D Movie Experience

With the 4D LEGO movies, immerse yourself in the exciting magical world with 4D cinematic heroes.

 Shanghai family friendly activities

LEGO Racers

It’s time to test your building skills! Build your own unique LEGO car and race it down the speed test track!

Shanghai theme parks

Physical Play

Have fun by jumping high, sliding fast, and climbing far, and also make new friends in the world of LEGO.

Shanghai kid-friendly activities

DUPLO Farm

A place for kids aged 1-5 years to enjoy, and feed their wild imagination with colorful DUPLO bricks. Turn your ideas into reality: Construct anything on top of your mind!

Shanghai amusement parks

LEGO Friends

Invite a few friends to build cupcakes in the kitchen and play house together!

Shanghai children friendly activities

Café

You need a good rest – let the delicious LEGO-looking desserts, cakes and drinks recharge your energy while more fun waits ahead.

China family friendly tours

Shanghai Legoland Discovery Center Shop

A ticket to the Center is not required for your visit to the shop. More than 300 LEGO sets and products are on sale – choose anyone you like.

 

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Lishui Photography Tour – Sights to Make Time Stand Still

One of the best photography destinations in China, Lishui locates in Southwest Zhejiang Province, and 300km away from Hangzhou. It features hauntingly beautiful landscape and colorful and varied folk customs. Grab your iPhones, smart phones and cameras and filters, get ready to the capture magic moments and stunning images alongside the river, in the terraced fields, on the mountain, and by immersing into the exotic, ancient towns.

Yunhe Lake of Oujiang River

You snooze, you lose – if you’re photographer in Lishui, that is. Set your alarm clock for the beautiful early-morning experiences on Yunhe Lake – the lake appears as if enshrouded in mist, and a sea of clouds. There’re more to capture: the sunrise and sunset, water birds, bamboo raft, sailboat, wharf, etc. with villages, fields, mountains and valleys from afar, making for a graceful composition.

Winter is the best time for the shots of sailboat on the misty lake.

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On the Siena International Photography Awards 2015, here below On the river, shot at Lishui (captured by photographer Vladimir Proshin) won the Photo of the Year.

Photography tour to Lishui China

Yunhe Terraced Fields

The biggest terraced fields in East China, Yunhe Terraced Fields are photographers’ favorite. The elevation rises from 200m to 1400m, through valley, hill and mountain, and has a history of over 1000 years.

May till the end of June is the best time to visit Yunhe Terraced Fields.

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Yunhe Terraced Fields blanketed with snow

China terraced fields tour

Guyan Hua Village (Guyan Oil-painting Village)

Approximately 20km from Lishui city center, Guyan Hua Village boasts a wealth of historical and cultural heritages, such as the site of an ancient celadon kiln, and many old pillars, wharfs, and old trees. It is the hometown of the Barbizon School Oil-painting in China, hence the name of Guyan Oil-painting Village.

 

Xiandu Scenic Area

Located 7km east of jinyun Town, Lishui City, Xiandu Scenic Area is the filming location of a dozen Chinese martial arts TV series. Major scenic spot include Donghu Peak, Niweng Cave, Lesser Chibi, Furong Gorge, etc. The Heyang ancient dwellings and theaters are also good subjects for photography.

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Kenggen Stone Village at the foot of Yunhe Terraced Fields

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Nanjian Cave Scenic Area

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