The list is endless when it come to beautiful places to visit in China.
With so many stunning locations to enjoy and photograph, no visitor should leave without capturing the charming Xitang Water Town.
With its rich history, unusual architecture and unique atmosphere, there are picture opportunities galore.
The ancient town, lying in Jiashan County in Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province, is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of nearby Shanghai!
Dating back to 770BC, and with buildings preserved from the Ming and Qing dynasties, the town has been described as a fairyland by many due to its magical atmosphere.
Read on for a deep dive into all the incredible photos you’ll get to take on your once in a lifetime visit! Make Xitang Water Town somewhere you’ll never forget.
104 Bridges Arching over Canals
Something that makes Xitang Water Town so special is the numerous, beautiful bridges that arch over the waterways. The 9 waterways split the town into 8 areas. 104 bridges then connect these areas together, with each one built in a different, creative style.
There are several legends surrounding the exquisite bridges so listen out if you’re on a tour or do your research before.
Wangxian Bridge was built in Song Dynasty more than a thousand years ago. Legend has is that a Taoist once stood on the bridge to watch immortal spirits. Wangxian means to watch immortal spirits in English.
The Yongning Bridge, stretching across the Xutang River, gives visitors the best vantage point for photos in Xitang. Hundreds of ancient houses are located on the south bank of the river. You can photograph all of them from Yongning Bridge.
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Ancient lanes are another eye-catching feature of Xitang Water Town. The narrow passages – each with their own name – connect streets, waterways, and houses.
The longest lane is Sixianci Lane, at 236 meters.
68-meter-long Shipi Lane (the skin of the stone) is the most famous one in Xitang. The widest part of this lane is 110 cm and the narrowest part is only 80 cm. The lane consists of 168 flagstones and over 100 red lanterns hang on the walls. A pretty picture indeed!
Long Covered Waterside Walkways
One of the most famous scenes in Xitang Water Town is the unusual covered corridor.
Consisting of many sections, the whole tiled corridor runs a total of about 1.3km.
The corridor was originally constructed for the convenience of traders. Each trader would have a shop with a ceiling over the stone road in front of their homes. With all the ceilings connected, the long corridor formed.
Want to know the great news? The protective corridor means you’ll always have the option to shelter from sun or rain in between shooting your incredible photos.
Watch boats pass you by on the river, admire the decorative carvings on the corridor or take a break in one of the chairs alongside the water and watch the world go by.
Mission Impossible Three and Xitang
Who can forget Tom Cruise prancing along oriental roofs in Mission Impossible Three? That was Xitang Water Town! The movie’s cast and crew spent three days shooting the movie in Xitang between November 24-26th back in 2005. Check out the movie before you go and you’re guaranteed to spot the famous locations on your visit.
Luckily, Xitang Water Town hasn’t been spoilt by big hotels and modern, out-of-place buildings. Along the stone paved lanes you’ll find both commanding and quaint old houses, which still home the locals. The buildings are famous for their high artistry and historical significance.
There are many well-preserved buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911) in the town, representing the traditional southern style of water towns and evoking a deep sense of history. Tallgrayy walls, gothic black eaves and narrow flagstones are typical of Xitang’s traditional architecture.
You can go inside certain houses and view displays of cultural relics, woodcarvings or eaves tiles collected by the house owner. Rare, ancient books are also on display.
Check out Ni House and Xue House.
Boats lingering on the river
The quaint family-owned boats that float peacefully on the wayer add a touch of life to the otherwise tranquil landscape
You can capture particularly beautiful shots at sunrise when the air is often foggy, and at sunset when the water reflects the orange, glowy light.
Xitang’s Narrowest Alleys
The alleyway next to Li House is so thin it only allows one person to pass at a one particular time.
The second can be found at the west side of Huanxiu Bridge and it is considered the narrower of the two because it is scarcely 30cm wide and no one can pass through it.
You may be able to snap some quirky shots around here!
Similar to other classic gardens in the south of China, Xiyuan Garden features a perfect integration of trees, grass, flowers, towers, bridges, lakes, and waterfalls.
It’s small but certainly worth a brief visit.
Xitang Water Town is famous for its varied snacks and culinary traditions. For those of you interested in food photography, check out the famous glutinous rice dumplings, also called Zongzi.
They’re filled with flavored pork and soy sauce, wrapped with plant leaves. The store owners make and sell so many of these delicious rice dumplings that your only task will be capturing them before they’re gobbled up by hungry travelers!
A hidden gem and one of the most beautiful places in the Shanghai region of China, Xitang Water Town exudes both natural, historic and culture scenery.
It’s a perfect escape from Shanghai’s modernity and is a keen photographer’s dream setting.
Whether you want to capture ancient Chinese architecture, waterways or some of the 10,000 local residents, you’re guaranteed to come away with a collection of dynamic shots and breathtaking images.
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