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Photo: Dave Tacon

Places

Where to eat, sleep and go in Luzhi

Luzhi is a water town located an hour from Shanghai. Here's a guide to max out your trip there.

The easiest way to get to Luzhi from Shanghai is by taxi, which should take just over an hour, depending on traffic. There are also very regular high-speed trains that run to Suzhou and Kunshan South, after which you can take a taxi or a bus and arrive in Luzhi in 30 minutes.  

 

Photo: Dave Tacon

Sleep in style

Here Another Home is a lovely Bed & Breakfast right in the heart of town. One of the grandest buildings around, its grey brick walls and white-washed verandas originally housed government officials. A breakfast of dumplings, local pastries, rice porridge and fruit is served each morning in the vintage-style common area, while the smart and clean guest rooms are set around a lovely inner courtyard.

Here Another Home

129 Zhenzheng Yuan Lu

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RMB 395/night

Photo: Dave Tacon

Rainbow wine

On Luzhi’s main tourist street you’ll find the ever-welcoming Zhu Yanglin, who makes and sells a rainbow spectrum of wine, including plum, grape and “silver apricot” (the fruit from female ginkgo trees) varieties out of traditional white and blue porcelain vats. Zhu is happy for customers to try before they buy, and he won’t sell anything he doesn’t like himself.

Qing Ji Jiu Fang

33 Zhongshi Jie

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Photo: Dave Tacon

Oodles of noodles

Don’t leave Luzhi without trying Luo Yinhua’s noodles. This two-floor traditional building comes with all the trimmings (latticed window frames and red lanterns) and serves up a small but well executed menu of pork, duck, fish or vegetarian noodles and one type of dumpling.

Shen Lian Ren Jia

2 Xihui Shangtang Street

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The temple of plenty

Baosheng Temple has a little bit of everything. Built over 1,500 years ago, the custard-colored complex is home to numerous treasures, most notably the Arhat sculptures – forms of monks that protrude rather spookily from a wall of waves. There is also a flagpole from the Northern Song dynasty, an iron bell from the Qing dynasty and the tomb of Tang dynasty poet Lu Guiding, whose pseudonym of Puli is another name for Luzhi.RMB78 for a combo ticket (which includes the temple, the Wansheng Rice Store and Xiao’s Mansion)

Baosheng Temple

19 Xihui Shangtang Jie

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Photo: Dave Tacon

Local lessons

Although it is quite new, the Jiangnan Culture Park gives visitors a good regional history lesson. The park, with its stone bridges, waterways and rockeries, is built in the guise of an ancient water town, while various exhibitions and museums inside provide more detail. The area is also well used by locals for practicing tai chi, flying drones or jogging.

Jiangnan Culture Park

Xiaoshi Lu

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Luxurious lifestyle

Xiao’s Mansion, the former residence of a wealthy local family, is Luzhi’s best-preserved example of Qing dynasty architecture. Over an area of 1,000 square meters, which includes dozens of rooms and a private lane, you can learn about the trappings of a 19th century luxury Chinese lifestyle.

Xiao’s Mansion

6 Zhenzhongshi Jie

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RMB78 with the combo ticket

Photo: Dave Tacon

Bridges through time

Sometimes referred to as a “Museum of Ancient Bridges,” Luzhi was once home to 70 stone bridges that dated from the Northern Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Only 41 in various shapes and styles remain, but many are beautifully decorated. Look out for so-called “noses,” which are handles carved into the canal-side stones where boats can be tied up. Some have particularly intricate designs, fashioned as dragon tails, buffalo noses and leaves.

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