Attractions in Neighboring Cities & Towns


Wuxi Tai Lake and its towerWuxi Tai Lake or Taihu

If you look for weekend getaways from Shanghai, here are some beautiful cities and towns in Shanghai’s neighboring provinces: Suzhou, Yixing, Wuxi, Yangzhou, Nanjing in Jiangsu province, and Hangzhou, Xiaoxing, Ningbo, Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, just name a few.  These places are charming in their own ways, full of characteristics, and convenient to get to, taking less than an hour to a few hours from Shanghai, pending distances and transportation vehicles, which may include trains, buses and cars. 


Together with Hangzhou, Suzhou has the title, “heaven on earth,” which has largely to do with its soothing landscaping.  Located in the south-east ofJiangsu province, Suzhou is the home for the most exquisite classic Chinese gardens and temples with distinguished stone bridges, pagodas, layouts and architectures.  It is known for its silk industry, and silk products are displayed in its silk museum.  Suzhou dialect is considered the most soft spoken in the country.  Suzhou is one of the nearest cities to Shanghai.


Yixing has been manufacturing clay tea pots for many years, which are known as purple sand pots (Zisha Hu).  The typically unglazed stoneware dates back to Song Dynasty.  Yixing clay normally refers to one or the combination of the three types of stoneware, namely, Zisha (or Zini), Zhuni and Duanni.  It is rich in minerals and durable out of the molding, forming and firing process.  The Yixing tea ware is of a variety of styles and hues ranging from dark red to green and blue, and most typically, light and dark brown.

Not far away from the city are three ancient caves, known as Shenjuan, Linggu and Zhang Gong.  Caves after caves, waterfalls by rockeries are unusual sceneries not to be missed.  Administratively, Yixing belongs toWuxi.


Wuxi Liyuan Hotel

Wuxi, by the Grand Canal built in the Yuan Dynasty, enjoys the beauty of its Tai Lake and the handsomeness of Hui Mountain.  Tai Lake, with numerous islands of various sizes, is the third largest freshwater lake in China, after the Poyang and Dongting lakes.  Meiyuan Garden,Liyuan Garden, Yuan Tou Zhu island and Sanshan island are some of the key attractions.  It takes only an hour by fast-track train, traveling from Shanghai. 



 Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu province.  As the ancient capital for a number of dynasties, the city is full of historic relics and heritage sits, and is also where the mausoleum of Dr. Sun-yat-sen is located.  As a commercial center, Nanjing holds its important position.  Let’s not forget, it is also where the one and only “hobo” chicken is originated, the kind, which is wrapped in mud and grilled.


From the Lingyin temple, the most well-known Buddhism temple in the region to tomb of general Yuefei, from the six harmonies pagoda to the Leifeng pagoda, Hangzhou, “the heaven on earth,” has much to offer. WestLake as part of the natural scenery and culture heritage in Hangzhou is considered the most beautiful of its kind.  Tea is a big part of its culture and economy, and Long Jing tea, in general, is famous, but West Lake Long Jing tea is considered the finest.  Stop by at a Long Jing tea plantation if you can. It may be the only remaining places where tea is still baked by hand.  Long Jing tea, silk and brocade are among the most popular for visitors.  Located around 200 kilometres southwest of shanghai, Hangzhou, continues enjoying its prosperity.  It takes 3-4 hours by fast-track train, traveling fromShanghai. 




Traveling in Shanghai and nearby modern cities, you may wonder what has happened to those traditional towns you recall from a movie or a book?  They are not far away and can be reached by a quick bus ride, pending distance.  In the delta of Shanghai, Suzhou,Jiangsu Province and Hangzhou, Zhejiang province lies towns like Tongli, Luzhi, Nanxun, Wuzhen, Xitang, Zhouzhuang.  They have a strong cultural background and a long history ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand years old with ancient architectures built in Song, Ming and Qing dynasties.  There are well reserved lanes, boats, bridges, temples, gardens, and buildings built on and over rivers.  They are named small watertowns in the south of Yangtze River, or Venice like watertowns in the east. 

These towns instantly take you back in time, and each has its own distinguished personalities although they may share watertownviews.  Tongli, close to Suzhou, rich in ancient architecture reflected in its gardens, temples and houses, is nurtured by fifteen rivers and connected in a system of canals and by multiple bridges, with Peace (or Taiping), Luck (Jili) and evergreen (changing) bridges asthe most symbolic.  Luzhi demonstrates its ancient architectures mainly through intriguing waterways and stone bridges of all styles and sizes including multi & solo-arched and twin bridges; Nanxun was once one of the most affluent garden town with lakes decorated with lotus, rockeries, pavilions; with its ancient docks, waterside pavilions, mile long corridors, and the extraordinary scene of bridge in bridge, Wuzhen is known for its natural beauty, while visitors may also enjoy traditional techniques such as woodcarving, weaving and fabric dying.  Xitang distinguishes itself by its stone-slate lanes, ancient houses, boating in the canals as well as stone-slate corridors connected in front of the houses stretching out for miles along the river, which was a relic for trading on the boat; half way between Shanghai and Suzhou lies ZhouZhuang, which is noted for its elegant watery views, distinctive twin bridges, architectural complexs with courtyards, and local-flavored culures and traditions.  In many ways, it simply represents the “Venice in the East.”  While in ZhouZhuang, you may want to take a moment to taste the wine and the pork stews, both are local specialty products.            

If you try to recall a story about a traditional Chinese town from a movie, these watertowns may just be the right ones to bring the scene back to you.