Location: Zhouzhuang, Jiangsu, China
Zhouzhuang is known as the “Venice of the East” and is located near Suzhou which is between Nanjing and Shanghai. It is one of the ancient water townships of China that features canals instead of streets. The people of Zhouzhuang commute to work via gondolas and you can always hear them singing Jiangsu style opera on their way.
Life in the water town is a much simpler one. Women wash their clothing right in the water outside of their 3000 year old front doors. Vegetables are grown in the garden next to their homes. Many homes have been converted into canal side bed and breakfasts that are very welcoming to tourists.
In the heart of Zhouzhuang is the Full Fortune (Quanfu) Temple which was founded during the Northern Song Dynasty in 1086 AD. It is a complex of many temples and pagodas on islands connected by stone bridges. The lakes around the temples are filled with giant Koi. It is one of the most peaceful places I have traveled to.
At night, giant red lanterns line the canals and restaurants serve hot tea and the local specialty, pork hoof.