The region between Shanghai and Hangzhou is famous for its scenic water villages. One of the most famous is Wuzhen - which is located almost in the middle between Hangzhou and Suzhou. This is also one of the largest water villages in the area.
Being one of the most popular water villages, Wuzhen is also one of the most commercialized. Most of the old houses have become shops, restaurants and tea houses catering to the tourist trade. During peak season it is thronged with mainland tourists. Even on a normal day the crowd is pretty heavy and as most of the visitors are funneled through the main street it can get a bit claustrophobic with no chance of escape.
Behind the main street is the canal and this is where you can see the beauty of the water village. Find a quiet tea house with a nice view - and you can imagine yourself going back in time.
It must have been very nice to live in a place like this, and many poets, artists and writers have come here searching for inspiration.
Wuzhen is very big and is divided into 2 main sections - Dong Zha (East Area) and Xi Zha (West Area). We only had time to visit Dong Zha which already takes half a day. To really appreciate the village it is best to stay overnight in the many charming guest houses within the West Area.