After a fast-paced week in the city, I was entering the statue of “Power off”. Tiredness, anxiety and sleepiness came up to me. Suddenly, I was brightened by a friend’s words. A couple weeks ago, he recommended me a quiet ancient water town which was close to Hangzhou. Yes, it is the water town Wuzhen. So I decided to escape the city right away and headed for the place on Saturday morning.
In the morning, I took a bus from the bus station in Hangzhou and arrived at the water town around 10:00 am (1.5 hour on the way). The bus ran on the express way for the whole way, conveniently and fast. Upon arrival I took a man-powdered rickshaw and reached at the entrance of the scenic area of the town. Actually the town consists of 4 streets which spread into 4 directions separately. I was told the east part, ”Dongzha (东栅)”， was more interesting than the others. After getting the ticket from the Ticket House (100RMB per person), I started to explore the water town.
Sandwiched between Shanghai and Hangzhou, Wuzhen was originally built in 872A.D. in Tang Dynasty. The houses were built close to the water courses and scattered on both sides of the four main streets. The water courses were connected with the Grand Canal. Besides, the various stone bridges linked the town as a whole. It might be the key reason how the town developed into one of the TOP 6 Water Town in ancient China. However with the development of land transportation and railway system in modern times as well as the civil war, the waterway of Grand Canal gradually declined and lose its dominating position. Because of its poor access by land transportation, the town was little influenced by the changes from the outside. Hence the town still preserved its original style.
When strolling on the old narrow flagging streets, you may feel that you are back to the ancient China. Well-preserved typical local residences, dark black flagging street, traditional workshops and lined local specialty stores, leisurely rowing boat (Chinese Gondola) and delicious snack stand all make it a good reason for you to slow down. You might just sit on the riverside chairs and enjoy your leisure time with some tea and emerge yourself with the rhythm of the ancient town. The traditional Museum of Folkways, One-hundred old Bed Museum and Wood Carvings Museum are housed in some large former residences. It is a good way to learn knowledge about the culture of ancient China. Besides, you could have the chance to watch the interesting traditional Shadow Puppet Play which might bring much fun to you. In the water town, it is worthwhile to taste the local snacks such as Dingsheng Cake, Green Cake and Fried Smelly Toufu. Besides the Braised Mutton with Soy Sauce, Local Mutton noodles and Stewed Duck are also the recommended local cuisines.
Hundred-year Wine Workshop
Hundred-year history Indigo Cloth Dyeing Workshop
Traditional Shadow Puppet Performance
Fried Smelly Toufu Green Cake Dingsheng Cake
Before leaving the town, I took a leisurely boat trip to explore the town in other vision. Wow! Amazing! It is a quite extraordinary experience for Wuzhen Town. And you might suddenly realize the essence of the water town. Maybe the best lifestyle is enjoying your time being.