A couple of years ago we decided to stay the night in a watertown near Shanghai, and we made our way to the small and charming Nanxun 南浔. It takes just a quick look at the geography of Shanghai to see that it is surrounded by rivers and deltas that make the whole area around Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Wuxi, and Nantong extremely wet.

There are many old towns dotted around this area, which romantics are quick to call the “Venice of the East”, since it seems it is ever popular to reference that famous Italian city when referring to any town or city with a reasonable number of canals, Bangkok of old being another example of a “Venice of the East”.

These towns date back many hundreds of years and are full of rickety old traditional houses fronting onto picture-perfect canals with beautifully carved bridges and wooden boats floating up and down, albeit mostly carrying paying tourists these days.

Zhujiajiao

Zhujiazhou old Watertown, 50 minutes’ drive from Shanghai, Jan 2019

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