Wuzhen is located in the Tongxiang region of Zhejiang Province. The traditional feel, style, features and structures of a typical town in this region of lakes and rivers have been well preserved. The streets of Wuzhen run alongside rivers with bridges for intersections. Houses are built along the rivers, and typically imposing dwellings with spacious courtyards, overlapping roofs and high eaves. Also along the rivers (and indeed some in the rivers) are docks, walkways, pavilions, workshops, and commercial buildings. The town presents a picture of primitive simplicity, bright orderliness, and peaceful seclusion.
Wuzhen is characterized by its unique layout. It has a residential area, traditional workshop area, traditional culture area, traditional dining area, traditional shopping area, and even a scenery area that features local traditions and customs.
1. Traditional Residential Area
The old streets here are paved with bluestones and wooden houses run along both sides. The simple yet elegant architecture has been retained. Points of interest in this area include the Hundred Bed Museum, Woodcarvings Exhibition Hall, Family and Folkway Museum, Fangluge Teahouse, and the Huiyuan Pawn.
2. Traditional Workshop Area
The workshops in this area feature Wuzhen's more popular folk arts and crafts such as printing and dyeing, silk floss, bamboo crafts, pastry, and tobacco. Wuzhen is famous for its red sun-cured cut tobacco. Visitors can directly participate in the artisan’s craft. Some of the interesting workshops housed in this area include Rice Wine Workshop, Blue Print Workshop, Cloth Shoes Workshop, Rattan Workshop, Bamboo Workshop, Hooper's Workshop, Silk Floss Workshop, Bamboo Arts and Crafts Studio, Tobacco Workshop, Wooden Arts and Crafts Studio, and the Bakery.
3. Traditional Culture Area
Blue Print Workshop
Blue Print Workshop
The Former Residence of Mao Dun, whose real name was Shen Yanbing (1896–1981), is also the house of his ancestors. It was built in the middle of the 19th century in the style of the Qing Dynasty and typical of folk houses south of the Yangtze River. In this residence are a study designed and renovated by Mao Dun himself, and pelargonium and palm trees that he planted.
Shadow Play, a type of puppetry, was introduced to Wuzhen during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). By the late 1930s and early 1940s, twelve Shadow Play Troupes were regularly performing in towns and villages. Today, there is a performance every day at Shadow Playhouse. The shadow puppets are made of ox or goat skin. The delicate semi-transparent figures are made and painted by hand. Their joints are linked by thread for maximum range of motion. Puppeteers move their puppets to music played on traditional instruments such as the drum, gong, erhu (two-stringed Chinese fiddle), jinghu (a two-stringed bowed instrument with a high register, used mainly to accompany Beijing opera singing), suona horn and bamboo flute.
4. Traditional Dining Area
Food is another major attraction in Wuzhen. Wuzhen locals know how to dine. Some of the town's more famous dishes include the "Three Treasure Chicken with Soy Sauce", "Wuzhen Lamb", "Steamed Pork in Lotus Leaves", and "Dingsheng Pastry". And it isn't just the old-style restaurants that are a draw. Wuzhen's teahouses represent daily life of the town. A visitor sipping chrysanthemum tea would be pleased to learn that it is not only tasty and refreshing, but also great for the skin.
5. Traditional Shopping Area
The shopping area is where visitors can pick up their souvenirs and books on Wuzhen as well as local products like San Bai Wine, Hangbai Chrysanthemum Tea, Gusao Pastry, and Blue Print.
6. Water Town Area
The Water Town Area is on the opposite side of the river from the other areas. This section boasts wharfs, pavilions and riverside walkways.
How to get there
Wuzhen is a popular water town near Hangzhou. The main transportation choice to Wuzhen from Hangzhou is by bus.