Zhu Jia Jiao is an ancient water town located in the Qingpu District of Shanghai. It is currently sitting at the outskirt of Shanghai about 2 hour drive from Pudong, Shanghai and it was built approximately 1700 years ago. According to archaeological findings, some items which was discovered during excavation can be dated back to 5000 years ago.
Endowed with another beautiful name – The Pearl Stream – Zhu Jia Jiao is one of the best preserved among the four ancient towns in Shanghai. Cute little old bridges across streams, small rivers shaded by the willow trees and bamboos, and houses with courtyards attached, this place will provide you a brand new world full of antiquity, leisure and tranquility. If Saint Petersburg, Russia is “Venice of the North”, then I will personally call Zhu Jia Jiao as the “Venice of the East”.
You could hire a taxi or hop onto a bus from Shanghai to Zhu Jia Jiao. Once you arrived, you will need to pay for the admission into the town.
- 1. CNY 80 for cruise boat and nine scenic area (including Y-Art Gallery, Tongtianhe Medicine Shop, Qing Dynasty Post Office, City God Temple, Shanghai Handwork Exhibition Hall, Imperial Academy Stele Museum, Shanghai Quanhua Art Hall, Yuanjin Meditation Room and Kezhi Garden)
- 2. CNY 60 for eight scenic spots (including Y-Art Gallery, Tongtianhe Medicine Shop, Qing Dynasty Post Office, City God Temple, Yuanjin Meditation Room, Handwork Exhibition Hall, Quanhua Art Hall and Kezhi Garden)
- 3. CNY 30 for four scenic spots (including Tongtianhe Medicine Shop, Qing Dynasty Post Office, Yuanjin Meditation Room and Kezhi Garden)
If you ask me which package to purchase, I will ask you back about your opportunity cost for paying that addition 20 Yuan? There are so many things to do in Zhu Jia Jiao! The boat ride is part of my personal highlight in Zhu Jia Jiao, hence, I will definitely recommend Package 1 with everything inclusive. 🙂
Tour guides are available for hire, English for 120 Yuan and Mandarin for 80 Yuan.
All the bridges here were built during Ming and Qing Dynasties. Older than you and me! haha The old town is thoroughly connected by 36 delicate spans in different forms, shapes, sizes and styles, from wooden bridges to stone bridges or marble bridges.
Kudos to the Chinese for “literally” translating the words in English! Must be tough on them! Don’t you dare to laugh! haha Anyway, the Fang Sheng Bridge is the longest, largest and tallest stone bridge in Zhu Jia Jiao. According to heritage findings, this bridge was built in 1571. On the bridge stands a stone tablet named Dragon Gate Stone, which is engraved with 8 coiling dragons encircling a shining pearl. On top of the bridge are 4 lifelike stone lions.
The North Street
One of the most amazing part of this town is the ancient street filled with representative of ancient buildings and artifacts from Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty! the North Street is the best preserved ancient street with simple yet elegant decorations. I really love strolling on this ancient strip, appreciating historic buildings, stores and narrow lanes with cute little gift shops.
I arrived on a week day morning, which allowed me to walk the streets by the canals in comfort without crowded packs of people. There are shops and restaurants all along the way, and you need to haggle and dicker to find things for a good value.
I enjoyed the leisurely stroll and would pop into shops all during my exploration of the ancient town. There were plenty of nice photo opportunities for the camera toting tourist like me. haha The town still has an old and genuine feel to it which I really appreciate it!
Qing Dynasty Imperial Post Office
Imagine you are back to the ancient past, you don’t really have facebook, twitter, instagram, video calls, email or even internet to begin with. haha The only communication tool is by POST! haha How sad it is for us to send just a message across, it require months or even years to reach your family or friends! haha Therefore, visit the Qing Dynasty Imperial Post Office is very interesting! It is said to be the best preserved Qing post office in China! Among the exhibits, you will find antique post cards used during the Qing dynasty of old Shanghai and letters written on bamboo. I was really amazed how well these post cards are persevered and a little history lesson of ancient China!
Similarly to what I did in Venice, I went ahead to take the Chinese canal gondolas! Everything is an experience right? lol These small gondolas are very unique and Chinese style! Each boat can take about 6-8 people and is a very nice way of seeing the town from the water. If you did not purchase the ticket previously during the admission, tickets are available in the small wooden booths that can be found along the river bank.
The Town God Temple – Cheng Huang Temple
This is a Taoist temple dedicated to goddess of mercy. Authentic worship still carry on today, but like many of other temples in tourist attractions, it was kinda exploited. This temple is located in the middle of Caohe Street just right in front of Qijin bridge.
Artifacts Exhibitions & Museums
If you want to know the tradition and traditional living way of Chinese then must visit the exhibition museums. Zhu Jia Jiao has a 1700 years old history and inside many of the old buildings, house artifacts which is more than 5000 years old! You can get glimpse of ancient Chinese living condition, and get impressed by the Chinese architecture and ancient interior design. Each of such houses have their own courtyard, balconies, martial arts weapon store, gardens, living hall, dining area, kitchen, hall for worshiping and medical hall etc… I felt I was like back to ancient times and martial arts era, survival the fittest and I gotta learn some martial arts to beat the ninjas or enemies! haha Alright, too many kungfu movies for me! haha
Cafes & Teahouses
There are many cafes and teahouses along the river bank. The area is beautiful, calm, traditional and relaxing. Perfect to sit in a cafe or teachouses to eat and chillax! Don’t worry, there are no smell from the river that will turn you off! haha
Being a vegetarian, is actually pretty hard to find food for me, but I was fortunate to find a restaurant serving delicious vegetarian meal. The town is also famous for its cuisine, particularly green soy beans, lotus roots and other foods. Remember to try their lotus roots. It taste kinda sweet and little different from what I am used to, but it is absolutely edible! haha
Zhu Jia Jiao is a great way to spend a day when you are tired of big cities in China! There are heaps of things to do in Zhu Jia Jiao. It was a great walk around in the town. One should spend a day trip just to relax from the hectic Shanghai life. A lot of interesting, unique shops to see, and you also get to visit the ancient Chinese imperial post office and reminisce how the Chinese people lived during the ancient dynasty. I should say, should not give it a miss when you are in Shanghai! 🙂
China is one of the four great ancient civilizations and offers a lot to explore for visitors: from Roof of the World, the skyscrapers of Shanghai, the Forbidden City, to the Great Wall. Your visit to China is incomplete if you miss visiting Zhujiajiao. Now, you might be wondering what to do in Zhujiajiao, China? Read China travel blog to learn about the fascinating history profound culture and heritage of China, best dining places, weather and transportation, know what makes Zhujiajiao a must-visit place and what adventures you can do while staying in China. So, be prepared to spend this vacation in a Chinese way!
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu