Posts Tagged ‘Tongli Watertown’

How to Visit Tongli Town

Monday, March 25th, 2019
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Dear Travelers,

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

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 has opened.

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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, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Under the administration of Wujiang District in Suzhou, Tongli Town is located in the southeast of Suzhou, 50 minutes drive from downtown Suzhou, one and half hour from Hangzhou and one and half hour from Shanghai.

The ancient Tongli 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”.

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.

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

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.

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

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

Entrance fee: RMB 10
Opening Hour:
07:30-17:30 (May-October)
07:30-17:15 (November-April)
Enquiry: 0512-800882990
Complaint: 0512-63321999
Emergency: 0512-63320995

You can buy a 5-yuan electric car taking you to the entrance if you don’t want to walk.

Tongli Tourist Information Center and ticketing Office

The sample entrance ticket for Tongli Town. Each ticket allows visitors to have access to 10 major 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.

About half an hour walk 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.

The houses are confronted by the wide canals.

The houses are confronted by the wide canals.

A local hairdresser’s shop

A local hairdresser’s shop

At the northeast corner of the bridge, there is a Youth Hostel known as Tongli International Hostel. Tel:18913050199, 0512-63339311

Tongli International Hostel


He is making malt sugar in a unique way of extending the stick malt sugar much longer than most of the people expectation.

He is making malt sugar in a unique way

An old theatre stage

An old theatre stage

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. 

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.

Passengers walking on shore while the pleasure boat is plying on the canal.

The faded white-washed wall with wooden windows

The faded white-washed wall with wooden windows

The canal cuts through the town with residences being connected to the water.

The canal cuts through the town with residences being connected to the water.

The arch stone bridge spans the canal

The arch stone bridge spans the canal

Enjoy a slow life in Tongli Town

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

Simple and pristine life

Tip:  Hassle-free Suzhou Guided Tours
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If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Suzhou Guided Tours:

Suzhou Highlight Day Tour from US$60  p/p
Suzhou One Day Side Trip  from US$80  p/p
Suzhou 4 Day Highlight Tour  from US$240  p/p

Shanghai Suzhou Zhouzhuang Day Tour  from US$70  p/p
Suzhou Car Rental