Wuzhen, an ancient water town in China, has a history of over 7,000 years of civilization and 1,300 years of town building. It was once selected as the most beautiful ancient town in China by National Geographic magazine. Wuzhen is divided into Dong Zha(East Gate), Xi Zha (West Gate) and Nan Zha (South Gate) which is not yet commercially developed. It is a town with significant ancient Chinese characteristics that deserves a closer look. Here are some activities you should not miss when visiting Wuzhen.
Dong Zha Scenic Area, Wuzhen
#1: Experience ancient Chinese tie-dye
Experience the traditional Chinese tie-dyeing process at the ‘Natural Color Dyeing Workshop‘ in Xi Zha Area or ‘Hong Yuan Tai Dyeing Workshop‘ in Dong Zha Area. You may also purchase finished blue prints as a gift.
Opening hours: 8:00-17:00
#2: Appreciating ancient Chinese furniture and wood carvings
The Jiangnan Hundred Beds Museum showcases the finest ancient beds from China’s Qing, Ming and modern dynasties. The carved wooden beds of the great families in ancient China were highly luxurious; some even contained the owner’s dressing room, bathroom and servants’ room.
The Jiangnan Wood Carving Exhibition Hall was originally the mansion of the Xu family. It was civilized for its exquisite wood carvings. Especially the figures, birds and beasts on the lintel and window pane are expressed by various wood carving expressions.
Opening hours: 8:00-17:00
#3: Watch a shadow play
Experience the 800-year-old ancient folk art at the “Wuzhen Shadow Theatre“.
Daily performance time: 9:30 (holidays), 10:00, 11:10, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00
#4: Watch a Flower Drum Opera performance at the ‘Ancient Theatre’
Flower Drum Opera originated from ancient Chinese folk songs and was recorded and described in documents as early as 1818.
Daily performance time: 10:00-10:30; 11:00-11:30; 13:00-13:30; 14:00-14:30; 15:00-15:30; 16:00-16:30
#5: Drink a cup of Sanbai Wine （三白酒）
In ancient times, the brewing industry in Wuzhen was very well developed. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), there were more than 20 breweries. You can watch the process of making wine in ancient China and taste the sweet and mellow Sanbai wine for free at the Sanbai Brewery.
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 12:00-20:00
Xi Zha Scenic Area, Wuzhen
#6: Experience ancient Chinese costumes, paper-cutting, and old-time weddings at the Xiqing Hall (喜庆堂）
Xiqing Hall is a thousand-year-old love “museum” and an “encyclopedia” of ancient Chinese wedding folklore. It is dedicated to the marriage and wedding ceremonies of the people south of the Yangtze River in China.
Opening hours: 8:00-21:00
#7: Feel the oppression of women in feudal China at the “Three Inch Golden Lotus Museum” (三寸金莲博物馆)
In ancient China, men believed that the smaller a woman’s feet were, the more beautiful and sexy she was; married women with tiny feet were less likely to cheat on their wives because of the difficulty moving around. The whole society started to cater to the evil interest of men, so foot-binding became prevalent among women. In the Qing Dynasty, the foot-binding style spread to women of all social classes. The “three-inch golden lotus” emerged, requiring feet smaller than three inches. This custom disappeared entirely only after the 30th year of the Republic of China.
Opening hours: 08:00-17:00
#8: Visit ‘Zhang Hengxing Lantern Shop’ at night to see the colorful lanterns (张恒兴灯笼铺）
Opening hours: 13:00-22:00
#9: Send a postcard with the beautiful scenery of Wuzhen at the ‘Old Post Office’
Opening hours: 08:00-21:00
#10: Pray for a good relationship at the ‘Moon God Temple’
The Moon God Temple in Wuzhen has a long history and a legend of spirituality. If you are single, you can burn an incense stick here and pray to the Moon God for a romantic marriage. If you are in love, you can pray to the Moon God to bless your love for a long time.
Opening hours: 09:00-20:00
#11: Experience the quietness and beauty in the midst of the hustle and bustle at the ‘Muxin Art Museum’
Muxin Art Museum was designed by I.M. Pei’s disciples, OLI Architects Okamoto and Lin Bing, and Fabien, a French museum landscape design expert, who created the interior landscape. The construction of the whole museum lasted for four years, and the three designers supervised the entire process until the museum’s opening.
Opening hours: 09:00-17:00 (Monday closed)
#12: Chinese Food in Wuzhen-Shusheng Lamb Noodle Restaurant (书生羊肉面馆)
The slow fire cooks the lamb extremely well and tasty, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00
#13: Chinese Food in Wuzhen-Square cake and green rice ball
The square cake is stuffed with cinnamon and the green rice ball is stuffed with bean paste. It tastes best when it comes out of the oven!
#14: Chinese Food in Wuzhen-Ding sheng cake (定胜糕)
The outer crust of Ding Sheng Cake is glutinous rice flour with red bean paste filling in the middle. There is not much bean paste filling, and the taste is slightly sweet and not greasy.
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00
#15: Chinese Food in Wuzhen-Wu Ma Wonton (吴妈馄饨)
The skin of the wontons is thin and they are stuffed. The soup base made of nori has a delicious taste.
Opening hours: 13:00-20:30