Why & How To Plan A Trip To China’s Water Town: Wuzhen

Situated just an hour away (by car) from those three major cities, Wuzhen makes a throwback escape.

If you’re planning a trip to China’s Shanghai 上海, Suzhou 蘇州, Hangzhou 杭州; you’ll want to plan a 2-day getaway to a beautiful water town: Wuzhen 烏鎮.

How many days should you stay there for?

At least stay one night in the local town, on the water. But many travelers have complained about how commercial the settings can be, and if you’re not a fan of tourists, then one night here is enough. But I would recommend 3 days/2 nights to fully indulge in the experience.

When is the best time to visit?

Avoid ANY Chinese major holidays, locals flock to Wuzhen and you won’t be able to enjoy the city. AT ALL. Although March – May is the best time to visit due to spectacular weather, avoid May 1st weekend which is China’s Labor Day weekend. It’ll be a nightmare getting through tiny streets of Wuzhen. Autumn is fantastic as well, but avoid Mid-Autumn Festival (mid-Sept) and National Day (Oct 1.) In general, winters are freezing cold in China but far less crowded. Avoid summertime, it’ll be hot and cramped, aka: a crappy mood.

PHOTO Wendy Hung

How to get there?

There are tour buses provided from Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Ningbo on a daily basis.

Hanzhou – Wuzhen: 

There are no direct routes, so either you can take a bullet train to Tongxiang Railway Station 桐鄉站 then take a cab which will be a total of 40 minutes. Or, you can take the bus from Hangzhou East Bus Station 杭州東站 to Wuzhen, which will require 50 minutes.

Shanghai – Wuzhen:

By car, the Shanghai-Hangzhou Expressway route is convenient. By bullet train from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station 上海虹橋站 to Tongxiang Railway Station 桐鄉站 including cab afterwards requires a total of 1 hour. Bus lines from Shanghai South Bus Station to Wuzhen runs everyday at almost an hourly basis, the bus ride is about 2 hours long.

Suzhou – Wuzhen:

The bullet train (D-series or G-series) from Suzhou Railway Station 蘇州站, or Suzhou North Railway Station 蘇州北站 to Tongxiang Railway Station 桐鄉站 will be a total of 1.5 hours. With you prefer buses, between Suzhou Bei Guangchang Bus Terminal 蘇州北廣場站 and Suzhou South Bus Terminal 蘇州南門汽車客運站, there are 4 buses starting from 8 a.m.. The trip will be 1.5 hours.

Nanjing or other cities:

Choose the bullet train!

*Once you’re in Wuzhen, the town provides shuttles that are quite convenient.

PHOTO Wendy Hung

How should you explore east & west sides?

East side, or Dong Zha 東柵 is the more touristic side with lots of restaurants, and shops. You’ll find a museum here, and folk performances as a main attraction. Think: Huagu Opera, martial arts, shadow plays and bamboo pole climbing…etc. Go to the visitor’s center for a schedule of showtimes.

The West Side, or Xizha 西柵 is a quieter part of Wuzhen. There are just as many shops and restaurants but the west side is longer by 1,000 meters so it feels more spacious. This area has been rebuilt and renovated. It’s gorgeous at night with dimmed lights along the canals.

Wendy Hung


As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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