How to Visit Tongli Town (Tips, Photos & Map)

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Dear Travellers,

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors Visiting Tongli Ancient Town from Suzhou. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

ABC of Tongli Town

The Tongli Ancient Town has a history of over 1000 years, a typical water town in the Yangzte River area. The ancient town is scenic enough to be surrounded by waters. The town is cut into 7 islands by 15 canals which are linked by 45 bridges. It is reputed as “the Venice of the East”.

In 1997 and 2000, eight of the finest gardens in Suzhou along with the ancient water town of Tongli were selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site to represent the art of Suzhou-style classical gardening.

Location of Tongli Ancient Town

If you plan Suzhou tour, don’t miss a side trip to Tongli.  Tongli Town (同里)is one of the famous ancient water towns in the Yangtze River Delta, which are specifically scattered around the large river and crisscross the triangle area of Suzhou, Huzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai.

The location of Tongli Ancient Town (Google Map)

Under the administration of Wujiang District in Suzhou, Tongli Town is located 30km to the southeast of the downtown Suzhou, one and half hour from Hangzhou and one and half hour from Shanghai by road.

How to Get to Tongli Town

When you visit Suzhou, Shanghai or Hangzhou, you may have a side trip to Tongli Town. Of course, having an excursion from Suzhou to Tongli is the most convenient by bus, subway or by taxi.

For me, the best way to travel from Suzhou to Tongli is to take subway. You can take subway line 4 from Suzhou Railway Station and get off at the last station of Tongli ( 同里).  The subway ride takes about 50 minutes.

Suzhou to Tongli Water Town

You have three choices to go from Tongli Subway Station to Tongli Town:
1) You exit from the Exit 10 where you can connect the special shuttles going to Tongli water town (Non-stop);
2) You exit from Exit 02 where you take the Bus 725 for Tongli ( 4 stops );
3) You can also take a taxi from Tongli Subway Station to Tongli Town: 5 km and about 20 yuan.

Subway Line 4 from Suhzhou Railway Station to Tongli

Shanghai to Tongli Town

For a long-distance bus from Shanghai to Tongli Town, you may take the bus either from Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center (Shanghai Stadium) leaving at 9:30am or Shanghai Long-distance Bus Station (Zhongxing Road) every leaving every half hour.

Hangzhou to Tongli Ancient Town

For the public transportation from Hangzhou to Tongli Town, you should go to Hangzhou North Bus Station for an hourly bus ride to Tongli.

Entrance fee: RMB 100 (combined tickets)
Opening Hour:
07:30-17:30 (May-October)
07:30-17:15 (November-April)
Enquiry: 0512-800882990
Complaint: 0512-63321999
Emergency: 0512-63320995

Virtual Tour of Tongli Water Town

Just follow us to have a virtual tour of Tongli Ancient Town. A bunch of the ancient buildings in Ming and Qing dynasties are well-preserved and open to the public including Retreat and Refection Garden, Pearl Pagoda, Chongben Hall, Genhle Hall, Chen Qubing’s former residence, Wang Shaoao’s Memorial Museum and Songshiwu Garden.

The ancient water town is mainly composed of canals, roads, bridges, residences and gardens where you will be lost in the beautiful view.

You can take the clean energy vehicles at 5 yuan for an easy ride taking you to the entrance from the ticketing office.

Tongli Tourist Information Center and ticketing Office

Each ticket allows visitors to have access to the 10 major pay attractions within the Tongli Town.

If you want to learn more about the town’s history and anecdotes behind, you can hire a local English-speaking tour guide rated RMB 120 per group.

English-speaking tour guide rated RMB 120 per group.

I didn’t use the green energy vehicle in the scenery and I loved to have the half an hour stroll to get to the main entrance to Tongli Ancient Town. On the way, you can easily spot some road signs leading you to the old town.

The road signs leading you to the old town (Old Town Sightseeing Zone)

About half an hour walk from the ticketing office takes me to the street leading to the decorated archway entrance to the ancient town. The street is lined with shops selling local products and restaurants offering the local snacks and dishes.

The decorated archway entrance to the ancient town

An old bridge straddles a canal with a decorated archway. The local residents live a slow life, fishing, drinking, reading and the list could be much longer. 

An old bridge straddles a canal after the decorated archway.

These canal houses feature the traditional houses – white walls and black tiles.

The local canal houses
A local barber’s shop
Tongli International Hostel
He is making malt sugar in a unique way
An old theatre stage in the old town

You won’t be lost since there are a slew of signboards en route reminding you of your next right direction.

A slew of signboards en route reminding you of your next right direction
Numerous pleasure boats are waiting for passengers to be on board for the canal cruise.
Passengers walking on shore while the pleasure boat is plying on the canal.

The canal cuts through the canal houses in the town.

The canal cuts through the canal houses in the town.

You’ll see many arch stone bridge spanning the canals in the town.

The arch stone bridge spans the canal
Enjoy a slow life in Tongli Town

Bridges, trees, canals, boats and happy holidaymakers constitute a pretty picture of the old town.

Bridges, trees, canals, boats and happy holidaymakers

A cup of tea keeps life pressure away. The narrow old faded lane tells you the history.

The narrow old faded lane tells you the history
Simple and pristine life

Tip:  Hassle-free Jiangsu Guided Tours

If you don’t want to do a self-guided tour and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for organized tours to Jiangsu Province:

Suzhou Tour
Nanjing Tour
Jiangsu Tour

Further Readings

Top 10 Attractions in Suzhou
How to Visit Tongli Water Town
How to Visit Zhouzhuang Water Town
How to Visit Pingjiang Road in Suzhou
How to Visit The Garden of the Master of the Nets
How to visit Humble Administrator’s Garden
How to Visit Lion Grove Garden
How to Visit Canglang Pavilion
How to Visit Guanqian Street in Suzhou
4 Amazing Short Trip Ideas from Shanghai
Wuzhen Pictures – Wuzhen Photo Gallery
Zhouzhuang Pictures – Zhouzhuang Photo Gallery

Top 10 Attractions in Nanjing
How to Visit Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall
How to Visit Nanjing Confucius Temple-The Qinhuai River Scenic Area
How to Visit Zhonghua Gate Nanjing
How to Visit Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge
How to Visit Linggu Temple Scenic Area
Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum Music Stage
How to Visit Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum
How to Visit Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum
How to Visit Nanjing Presidential Palace

Nanjing South Railway Station
Nanjing Taxi: Nanjing Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Suzhou Railway Station
Suzhou Taxi: Suzhou Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones

Any questions, just drop a line.

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23 Responses to “How to Visit Tongli Town (Tips, Photos & Map)”

  1. Joanna says:

    Hi,
    Very informative post. We will be traveling from Hangzhou to Tongli mid October. What is the best and most convenient way to get there? First time in China so we don’t want to change buses or anything like that. I booked a hotel with only a Chinese name in Wu Jiang District, is that convenient? I am interested in photography and will try to get to the pictoresque areas early to avoid the crowds. Thanks very much for any help.

  2. Daniel says:

    Hi Joanna,

    Asfar as I know, you take the bus from Hangzhou Passenger East Bus Station 杭州东站(武林门车站) to Tongli. But we are not sure where your hotel is. You may stay inside the town. Wu Jiang District is relatively big in size.

  3. ewe chong teh says:

    Hi, Daniel,

    If I like to visit Tongli 10 major attractions, could I make it within 2 hrs?
    Thank you.

    Chong.

  4. Daniel says:

    Hi ewe chong teh,

    Within 2 hours, you can cover the major attractions in Tongli if you don’t want to spend too much on them.

  5. ewe chong teh says:

    Hi, Daniel,
    I stay in FX Hotel Guan Qian Suzhou, I want to take bus to Tongli. Is it far away from my Hotel to
    North Square Passenger Bus Station (苏州火车站北广场客运站站).

    Thank you.

    Chong

  6. ewe chong teh says:

    Hi, Daniei,

    Going to Suzhou and Hangzhou from 2 Nov to 7 Nov. What is the weather? What clothes to bring? Thank you

    Chong

  7. Daniel says:

    Hi ewe chong teh,

    Normally the temperature at Suzhou and Hangzhou in early November roughly falls between 22 ℃ ( noon ) and 15 ℃ ( at night ). Sometimes it rains in November. Wear a jacket, jeans and prepare for a thin sweater and don’t forget to bring your umbrella.

  8. Daniel says:

    Hi ewe chong teh,

    North Square Passenger Bus Station is close to Suzhou Railway Station. It is easy to get from your hotel to Suzhou Railway Station, only 5km. You take subway or public bus, or just walk ( one hour ).

    As for how to get from your hotel by bus or subway, ask your hotel staff for help and grasp a map of Suzhou. When you get to North Square Passenger Bus Station, you line up to buy the ticket for Tongli.

    Have a good time in Tongli!

  9. ewe chong teh says:

    I would arrived FX Hotel Guan Qian Suzhou. At about 5.00pm. this 2nd Nov. prefer which place I can visit ?

    Thank you.

    Chong

  10. ewe chong teh says:

    We like to visit Tongli, Hanshan Temple, Lingering Garden in one day, is it possible ?

    Thank you.

    Chong.

  11. Daniel says:

    Hi ewe chong teh,

    Where are you? Or where are you going to start your visit? If you start your day trip from Suzhou, it’s possible to cram all the attractions you have mentioned on a day trip. Of course, you have to limit your time on each attraction.

  12. Daniel says:

    Hi ewe chong teh,

    If you arrive at Suzhou in the later afternoon, you may have a stroll along Guanqian Street in Suzhou for people watch, shopping and eating. Please check out the link below:

    http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/jiangsu-travel/suzhou-travel/how-to-visit-guanqian-street-in-suzhou

    Have a nice time in Suzhou!

  13. ewe chong teh says:

    Hi, Daniel,

    I stay in FX Hotel Guan Qian Suzhou, would take the bus visit Tongli in the morning, than Hanshan Temple, Lingering Garden in one day. Please comment.

    Thank you.
    Chong

  14. Daniel says:

    Hi ewe chong teh,

    It looks okay.But you need to get up early to catch the early bus for Tongli and back to the city to continue your visit to Hanshan and Lingering Garden.

  15. Boonie says:

    Everyone, you can now take the metro/subway Line 4 from Suzhou all the way to Tongli!!! The new extension of the subway system opened in April 2017!!

  16. Daniel says:

    Dear Boonie,

    Thanks for your update! Much appreciated!

  17. Almudena says:

    Hi,
    What is better bus or subway to get Tongli? Faster? Cheaper?
    The subway station in Tongli is Tongli Car station?
    Thanks

  18. Daniel says:

    Dear Almudena,

    Where to Tongli? From Shanghai, or Suzhou or Hangzhou? Basically you can take a bus from any of the cities to Tongli. Have a nice time!

  19. Daniel says:

    Dear Almudena,

    For me, the best way to travel from Suzhou to Tongli is to take subway. You can take subway line 4 from Suzhou Railway Station and get off at the last station of Tongli ( 同里). The subway ride takes about 50 minutes. You exit from the Exit 10 where there are special shuttles going to Tongli water town. So you just jump on the shuttle and get to Tongli Town with a breeze.

  20. Almudena says:

    Thank you very much!!
    The suttle bus from Tongli subway station to Tongli Ancient town is 725? Are there any more? some people said that it takes a lot to get the ancient town… Is it possible to take a taxi? How much is it?
    Thanks again!!

  21. Daniel says:

    Dear Almudena,

    Three choices to go from Tongli Subway to Tongli Town:

    1. Exit from Tongli Subway at Exit 10 where you can connect the special shuttles going to Tongli Town ( Non-stop );
    2. Exit from Tongli Subway at Exit 2 where you can connect the Bus 725 for Tongli Town ( 4 stops );
    3. Exit from Tongli Subway at Exit 2 where you can connect a local taxi for Tongli: 5km and 20 yuan.

    Have a nice time!

  22. Nathania says:

    Hi, thanks for your sharing! it is very useful.

    I will be traveling to Tongli Water Town this summer.

    Before going there, i plan to visit ZhouZhuang water town by bus from Suzhou North Square Bus station roughly around 90 minutes journey, and after zhouzhuang then i will be heading to tongli water town by taxi.

    1. Do you think it is do-able to cover 2 water town in a day?
    2. How many hours should i spend in each of the water town?
    3. If i reach Tongli water town after 5.30PM, is there anything i can see or any shop or attraction still opening after 5.30PM?
    4. How to go back from Tongli water town to Tongli metro/subway?

    Hope to hear from you soon!

  23. Daniel says:

    Dear Nathania,

    Thanks for your inquiry!

    1. Do you think it is do-able to cover 2 water town in a day?
    Yes, basically you can make it in a day if you well plan your trip.

    2. How many hours should i spend in each of the water town?
    Usually 2-3 hours for each place

    3. If i reach Tongli water town after 5.30PM, is there anything i can see or any shop or attraction still opening after 5.30PM?
    Yes, you can enjoy the later afternoon life of Tongli and beautiful sunset if you are lucky enough to have a fine day.

    4. How to go back from Tongli water town to Tongli metro/subway?
    You have three choices to go from Tongli Subway Station to Tongli Town:
    1) You exit from the Exit 10 where you can connect the special shuttles going to Tongli water town (Non-stop);
    2) You exit from Exit 02 where you take the Bus 725 for Tongli ( 4 stops );
    3) You can also take a taxi from Tongli Subway Station to Tongli Town: 5 km and about 20 yuan.

    Have a nice time!

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