Escaping Shanghai is always a challenge, but as I have highlighted in previous posts, the HSR service heading out to Nanjing is opening up the entire Yangtze corridor.
This time with my manager, Paul, in tow, we headed out on Sunday to Suzhou station, and a cab to take us out to Tongli, a so-called ‘water town‘. While I supposed it would be similar to Zhouzhuang, which I visited last year, I enjoyed that trip enough to warrant another try.
Claiming 1000 years of history, the town is criss-crossed with canals and viaducts. It does not claim to be the largest or most famous of the water towns, and as a result the level of tourism does not quite meet the levels of Zhouzhuang, at least when I visited. And while there are no doubt touristic areas, it’s striking how many people still live and work in the town; it naturally gives the place a different vibe. Unlike many places in China, there seemed to be an uncanny amount of cleaning going on; after a few minutes of shooting photographs, I realised that almost all my photos featured mops or brooms somewhere in the background. Sipping a beer by the banks of the river, we also amused ourselves as we watched old ladies sweep fallen leaves into the river, and then the men fishing them out again to be disposed of.
So that was it – a great escape from Shanghai!
Getting To Tongli
Basically, take the HSR out to Suzhou (about 40 RMB, 24 minutes), run past the hawkers trying to sell trips to the sights in Suzhou, wait in the line for a taxi, take the 30 ish minute trip out to Tongli (about 90 – 100 RMB) and enjoy. We also did not have any problems getting back.