A Timeless and Peaceful Ancient Chinese Town in Tongli

Image by Roberto Loglisci

Integrated into the Tune Dynasty (960– 1279), Tongli Ancient Town is nestled to the east of Beijing– Hangzhou Grand Canal, by Taihu Lake, Wujiang District, Suzhou, 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Suzhou, and 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Shanghai.

It is among the six well-known ancient towns to the south of the Yangtze River and Zhouzhuang, Yongzhi, Xitang, Wuzhen, and Nanxun. Difficult to choose which one to check out? Here is an expert’s guide to the leading 8 Ancient Water Towns Near Shanghai.

Chinese: 同里古镇Tónglǐ gǔzhèn/ tong-lee goo-jnn/.

Location: 33 hectares.

Age: over 1,000 years of age.

Must-sees: garden-style architectures, ancient bridges, and streets.

Matched to: photography fans, fans of Chinese architecture, and culture of any age.

The time required: one day.

Entry: 100 yuan.

Tongli is well-known all over the world as a water town to the south of the Yangtze River. Its rivers, streets, bridges, civil houses, and gardens are entirely incorporated as one, making it the name of “the Asian Venice” due to its distinct water town landscapes.

Tongli has been open to the general public because 1986, and the architectures and cultural antiques of the Ming (1368– 1644) and the Qing (1644– 1911) dynasties, such as structures, gardens, towers, and temples, can be seen all over.

The Emphasizes You Must Not Miss

Garden-Style Architectures.

The most widely known gardens of Tongli consist of Tuisi Garden, Chongben Hall, and Jiayin Hall, and all include the best mix of creative gardens and useful houses to the south of the Yangtze River.

Tuisi Garden.

Developed by Yuan Long and constructed from 1885 to 1887, Tuisi Garden remains in the straightforward, however stylish design of the late Qing Dynasty, and half of it is covered by water. All the structures are located near the surface area of the water in the garden.

It was noted as a World Cultural Heritage website by UNESCO in 2001, and it is a timeless architectural example of the south of the Yangtze River.

Jiayin Hall.

Integrated into the Republic of China (1911– 1949), Jiayin Hall remains in Loujia Lane, Zhuxing Street.

Jiayin Hall has 4 yards with sculpted beams and painted rafters, which initially cost about 20,000 taels of silver.

Chongben Hall.

Safeguarded by stone-paved riverbanks, Chongben Hall is nestled to the north of Changqing Bridge in Fuguan Street. It deals with Jiayin Hall throughout the river in the east and links Changqing Bridge in the west.

Chongben Hall is thought about to be a piece of delicately-carved handicraft belonging to the museum if we believe of Tongli as an ancient museum.

Ancient Bridges.

Surrounded by five lakes, Tongli is lined with streets and lanes together with rivers, and many ancient bridges integrated into different dynasties are offered. Some bridges still stand as highlights in Tongli, quietly informing the old town’s stories and legends.

The Three Bridges.

The Three Bridges describe Taiping Bridge (integrated in 1913), Jili Bridge (incorporated in 1987), and Changqing Bridge (merged in 1470 and rebuilt in 1704), each of which has its particular significance for the residents.

It is custom-made for the residents to stroll throughout the three bridges throughout happy events, such as weddings. It represents health throughout the year by stepping throughout Taiping Bridge, to take advantage of having a flourishing service in the coming year by strolling throughout Jili Bridge, and it indicates having an evergreen life by stepping throughout Changqing Bridge.

Siben Bridge.

The earliest bridge of Tongli, Siben Bridge, was integrated into the Southern Song Dynasty (1127– 1279), and it still stands after being exposed to the wind and rain for over 700 years.

Pu’an Bridge.

Understood as the Little East Stream Bridge, Pu’an Bridge was built in the very first year (1506) of the Emperor Zhengde Period throughout the Ming Dynasty. Pu’an Bridge is the most representative bridge that shows the residents’ diligence and passion for acquiring understanding. A set of couplets is inscribed in the western part of the bridge.

Fuguan Bridge.

The most strange bridge of Tongli, Fuguan Bridge, includes a vibrant stone sculpting called “the Fish Fossil in the Peach Blossom Wave.”

The legend went that a fish swam versus the waves along the peach-blossom covered riverbank, intending to end up being a never-ceasing dragon by leaping over the Dragon Gate in March. It spied a stunning woman on the bridge as it sprung into the air, and, as an outcome, its head that was above the Dragon Gate ended up being a dragon’s head, while its body that was listed below the Dragon Gate stayed as it was.


Numerous narrow and long lanes are located amongst the streets of Tongli, the majority of which are hollow and stone-paved, and some wind their method for over 300 meters (328 lawns).

Cangchang Lane (surrounding Fuguan Street) enables a single person to stroll along with it at a time, with both ends working as riverbanks, making it the label “One Person Lane.”


The streets of Tongli have an antique taste. The 160-meter (175-yard) long Mingqing Street protects its initial design from the Ming and the Qing dynasties. It is stone-paved and lined with shops on both sides, consisting of specialized shops, handicraft shops, and treat shops.

There are eight significant streets in Tongli Ancient Town: Zhuxing Street, Fuguan Street, Xinzhen Street, Shangyuan Street, Sanyuan Street, Dongxi Street, Yuxing Street, and Nanxing Street.

The eight streets are various from one another in style – some are quiet, some are partly concealed in trees, some are by the river, and some are packed with shops – each of which is impressive.

Activities You Could Have a Try.

Tongli is abundant in bridges and rivers; for that reason, it is necessary to take a cruise to value its antique appeal. A variety of ancient architecture clusters from the Ming and the Qing dynasties are shown before your eyes.

Travelers investing a night in Tongli are suggested to drink a teacup or roam in the gardens throughout the night to explore its appeal visually.

Satisfying of the Immortals.

As a local activity held every year on April 14, Tongli’s Meeting of the Immortals is highlighted by stilt walking, boating, and rowing.

The night cruise along Tongli is likewise released each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, using individuals a unique chance to value the traditional stringed and woodwind music discovered to the south of the Yangtze River.

Travel Essentials for Planning a Trip.

How to Get There?

– Railway: Those taking a trip to Tongli typically take a bullet train to Suzhou North Railway Station or a slower train to Suzhou Railway Station. Sightseeing buses, which run every 20 minutes at a rate of 8 yuan per person, take 45 minutes to reach Tongli. It takes about 80 yuan to receive from Suzhou Railway Station to Tongli by taxi.

– Shanghai to Suzhou: It takes about half an hour to receive from Shanghai Railway Station to Tongli by high-speed train and two to 2 hours by regular train. Inspect how to prepare a Shanghai Suzhou journey.

– Nanjing to Suzhou: It takes about half an hour from Nanjing Railway Station by high-speed train, and 2 to 5 hours by regular train.

– Hangzhou to Suzhou: It takes about two and a half hours from Hangzhou Railway Station by regular train.

– Beijing to Suzhou: bullet train 5– 5 1/2 hours; other trains 9– 18 hours.


– Shanghai– Tongli: Many direct sightseeing buses to Tongli are offered at Shanghai Bus Station. Tourists can likewise take a bus to Suzhou initially before moving to one taking a trip to Tongli.

– Nanjing– Tongli: The buses from Nanjing Zhongyangmen Bus Station (running every half an hour) take you to Suzhou Bus Station within 2 hours, and you can then alter the bus to take a trip to Tongli.

– Hangzhou– Tongli: Buses ranging from Hangzhou North Bus Station to Tongli run day-to-day at 7:50 am, 10:40 am, and 1:20 pm.

– The buses from Hangzhou East Bus Station (running every half an hour at a fare of 50 yuan per person) take guests to Suzhou Bus Station within 2 hours, and after that, a sightseeing bus can be required to Tongli.

– Suzhou– Tongli: Buses from Suzhou South Bus Station (running every 10 minutes at a fare of 8 yuan per person) and buses from Suzhou Wuxian County Bus Station (running every 15 minutes at a fare of 8 yuan per person) take travelers to Tongli within 35 minutes.

Where to Stay?

A variety of high-end hotels included hostels, and inns are offered in Tongli. The majority of hotels are fully equipped with new service centers, such as Wi-Fi; for that reason, visitors with different choices can select appropriately.

The high-end hotels typically cost about 1,000 yuan per space per night, and the others vary from 100 yuan per area to 500 yuan per room per night. The space rates will be a little bit greater in the peak season.

The streets of Tongli have an antique taste. The 160-meter (175-yard) long Mingqing Street protects its initial design from the Ming and the Qing dynasties.- Train: Those taking a trip to Tongli typically take a bullet train to Suzhou North Train Station or a slower train to Suzhou Train Station. Sightseeing buses, which run every 20 minutes at a rate of 8 yuan per individual, take 45 minutes to reach Tongli. It takes about 80 yuan to get from Suzhou Train Station to Tongli by taxi.