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Ancient town of Wuzhen
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Ancient town of Wuzhen

Take bus about one hour and haft from Hangzhou we arrived Wuzhen. Different with the modernity in big cities as Hangzhou and Shanghai where we had visited, Wuzhen appeared fistly in our eyes an ancient town of a China’s rural area in the past.

Wuzhen is a historic scenic town in northern Zhejiang Province, China. It lies within the triangle formed by Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai. Located in the center of the six ancient towns south of Yangtze River, Wuzhen has a history of more than 1,000 years with profound cultural background.

Wuzhen scenic zones that visitors should visit are the East and West zones. The West is rather near Wuzhen bus station and walkable. And, the distance between East Wuzhen and West Wuzhen is only one kilometer.There is a free bus from the West to the East. It’s difficult to take taxi here excepting for bus and rickshaws. There are many rickshaws parking at Wuzhen bus station to wait for passengers. This vihichle is like Xich Lo in Hanoi with 3 wheels, roofs and automatic engine but the seat for passengers is behind and passengers’ visions are hided. We took rickshaws to get to the West zone first. In the ticket office at the West zone, we were suggested to buy package ticket for both Wuzhen East and West zones. The price is 150 RMB (equivalently 420 VND) and visitors are suggested to have a night tour at West zone to have a good trip.

The Wuzhen East Zone is a canal, about 400 meters long sandwiched between two streets of original Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) houses. The street on the entrance side has souvenir shops and restaurants and the street on the far side has various museums exhibiting beds, clothes, blue flower printed fabric, etc. There are various exhibitions showing the old way of life in this water town.

Along the entrance, we can see a beauty of old wooden houses with black roofs along the canal, chaming ancient stone bridges crossed the canal, stone pathways and delicate wood carvings. For its ancient and beautiful scenery, here is the place for filming the latest movie The Dream of Red Chamber (红楼梦- Hong Lou Meng) made from the famous classical novel of the same title.

Strolling along the street on far side, visitors may enjoy the traditional workshops of such famous traditional crafts as the printing and dyeing of blue printed fabrics, the primitive technique of cloth shoes ext. and operate the machines yourself to get an idea of how the original work was carried out over 200 years ago.

Bedide old temples, museums here we visited Former Residence of Mao Dun. Mao Dun is a revolutionary writer in modern China, best known for the novel Midnight. His former home is a traditional Chinese style house built during the Qing Dynasty.

In this season (July), visitors to Wuzhen are very crowded. Almost of them are Chinese from other areas in China. There are also many tour groups. In one corner of a walking street, some motobikes passed through and turned horns, that make noisy a part of the street.  

Leaving the Wuzhen East zone, we took bus to the Wuzhen West zone. My first impression here is service arrangement. After registering at the Visitor Center, we put our luggage at Luggage Room and they will be sent directly to our accommodations booked in the guest house. And for us, we took a boat rowed along a canal for about a half of hour to entry the West and the guest house, by the way enjoy beautiful sight of two sides along the canal.

Almost visitors to Wuzhen spend at least one night in the West. The guest house where we book were built in Chinese old style with pavilions. It’s very cool inside the house because of wooden doors and tiled roofs. The rooms are also decorated in old style with wooden furniture such as telephone, tea box, lamp ext and wooden windows. My Chinese colleague said that, it’s difficult to book room in Wuzhen this season and price is rather high and it’s over our budget planed at the beginning for accommodations.   

The sight seeing in the West is very charming. Different with the East, it’s quiter and larger, about 1000 meter long. There are a good number of alleys, bridges, docks and secondary waterways, which makes it a fascinating place to stroll around. The streets of the West are lined with guest houses, restaurants, bars and souvenir and arts and crafts shops. The West has few local residents and is instead given over to accommodation for visitors.

The West is very beautiful at night under the subtle light of red lantern. It’s very wonderful feeling to drink chrysanthemum tea, a popular tea here by the bank of the canal to see beauty of a bridge, ancient houses and boats carrrying guests along the cannal.

There are many small stone bridges crossed over the secondary waterways that I can not calculate. One of the most beautiful bridges is Bridge in Bridge. The bridge was created by two ancient bridges, one of which is Tongji Bridge crossing the river from east to west and the other is called Renji Bridge running from south to north and joining the former at one end. Either of two bridges can be seen through the arch of the other, hence the name.

In the Wuzhen West zone, it’s demonstrated a China society in the past with ancient customs. We visited Golden Lotus museum where demonstrates vividly foot binding custom of Chinese girls in the past. The custom originated in latter Tang dynasty from a princess who had her feet bound to fitly dance in a golden lotus. Here, we can see special tiny shoes for bound feet women which are not even suitable for babies   

In the early morning when the sun rises, Wuzhen has a different beauty. In one part of the West, far from the canal, we can see rural scenery with lotus flowers and vegetable fields with yellow mustard flowers. It’s very peaceful.

Here, we can see that while taking care to retain the town’s original look, great efforts of China government have been made in the treatment of the water environment, the renovation of public toilets, the installation of outdoor lighting, and the management of the sanitation and appearance of the town to ensure a clean, beautiful environment in Wuzhen..

[责任编辑:wayne]