Framed by historic bridges, waterways and quaint houses, the historical water villages of China strewn across the Yangtze river tributaries has mesmerized world travellers across centuries and earned itself a distinction as the “Venice of the East”.
Not sure which water village sojourn is best for you? Here are some of our favourite picks to inspire you!
Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao
Best for: Lux Manor Living
Location: Zhujiajiao, Shanghai, China
Delicately restored from a 600-year-old Ming Dynasty courthouse to recreate the wealthy mansion lifestyle of the past, each villa comes with a courtyard, a private garden and butler service. Accessibly hidden in Qingpu district just 1 hour away from Shanghai’s Pudong skyline, this is by far one of the most accessible water towns escapes for modern urban travellers.
Price: Starting from ~USD 670 per night
Best for: Elegant Zen Refresh of an Icon
Location: Wuzhen, Zhejiang, China
As China’s largest and most picturesque water town, Wuzhen’s timeless romance is best experienced through overnight stays at Alila’s understatedly elegant and spacious rooms. Watch as the crowd of day-trippers turn into a brightly lit maze of quiet alleyways. Dubbed “Home of the Silk”, Wuzhen preserves much of its ancient traditions such as indigo fabric dyeing, wood carving, Huagu Opera and shadow plays.
Price: Starting from ~USD 630 per night
Ahn Luh Lanting
Best for: A Poetic Step into Old China
Location: Shaoxing, Zhejiang, China
Home of the famous philosopher and writer Lu Xun, Shaoxing is a cultured man’s gondola experience as you sail on a traditional wupeng across iconic attractions described in his literature. Finally, retreat into your private traditional China-inspired villa at the embrace of Kuaiji Mountain area, painstakingly constructed from original Hui pieces from Ming and Qing dynasties.
Price: Starting from ~USD 510 per night
Qiushuli Blossom Hill
Best for: Off-the-Beaten Chic Sojourn
Location: Nanxun, Zhejiang, China
Dubbed the “Hidden Book Town”, the less known Nanxun has preserved much of its original architecture and heritage as Jiangnan’s wealthiest water town. Top it off with a stay at the former ancient garden villa of Liu Geng Gan, Nanxun’s richest person. The villa has been stylishly restored by French designer, Thomas Dariel into a heavenly abode.
Price: Starting from ~USD 100 per night