Shanghai 2010 - Zhujiajiao Water Village

We decided to take a day off from our Shanghai itinerary to visit Suzhou which is famous for its gardens and water villages. We visited Zhujiajiao, one of the water villages nearer to Shanghai. It is about 90 minutes drive from Shanghai. With a history of over 1,700 years, the water village is a really charming example of life in the old days. The town is very well preserved and due to its beautiful canals it is often called the "Venice of China". The architecture here is mostly from the Ming and Qing period.

The picturesque canals. You can take a ride on the countless wooden boats.

This is a living and breathing community, not a museum. You will see villagers getting on with their daily life.

If you go on your own, it's worth getting a local guide to show you around. The typical charge is RMB 90, but you can bargain for a better price. For me I prefer to wonder around on my own. The town is arranged around a few major canals, and one distinguishing feature is a large river which runs through the town. Here you will find the famous Fangsheng Bridge - a stone bridge built during the mid-Qing dynasty.

As the main industry here is now tourism, most of the local residents have turned their houses into little shops, teahouses, cafes and restaurants. Some of the teahouses are very well done - seek out a quiet corner facing the canal and you will have a great time seeping tea, looking at the hustle and bustle of wooden boats carrying hoards of tourists.

Zhujiajiao also have some interesting delicacies like the red-cooked pork knuckle and "Zha Rou". The red-cooked pork knuckles are wrapped in bamboo leaf and tied in raffia strings. They look really attractive and appetizing, if you want to takeaway they can even vacuum-pack it for you. "Zha Rou" are small cubes of pork wrapped in bamboo leaf and cooked in the same style as the knuckles. They are really delicious ! Besides these, the rice dumpling with pork filling are also very good.

Rice dumplings (Bak Chang) with pork filling.

"Zha Rou" - red-cooked pork cubes wrapped in bamboo leaf.

Red-cooked pork knuckles. They look really pretty, don't they ?

The visit to Zhujiajiao is really enjoyable, and if you like taking pictures it is a photographer's heaven. Highly recommended.


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