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Travel Guide: Xitang, China

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After experiencing the hustle and bustle of Shanghai I highly suggest you take a day to venture out to Xitang.

Xitang is an Ancient Water Town located 90km from Shanghai. Filled with narrow cobbled streets, picturesque old bridges over canals and traditional buildings, this charming town is a way to experience traditional China. Oh and several Xitang locations were featured in Mission: Impossible III. They’re pretty excited about that.

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How to get there

The easiest way to get to Xitang from Shanghai is via the bus (there is no train station in Xitang). There are tourist buses to Xitang from Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center and Shanghai South Long-Distance Bus Station. The bus takes around an hour and a half.

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Where to stay

The accommodation options in Xitang are quite limited and basic. I would suggest staying in Shanghai and just taking a day trip to Xitang, however there are 2 well reviewed guesthouses located here.

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What to do

Explore the ancient laneways

It feels like you’ve stepped back in time as soon as you enter Xitang, and I could have spent hours exploring the laneways. Poke through the shops, try local delicacies along the way or just admire the cobbled streets, hanging lanterns and traditional houses.

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Take a boat ride

It costs around 20-30 Yuan to rent a traditional covered boat with a rower. It’s an enjoyable and relaxing 20 minute cruise down the river, giving you a different point of view of the town.

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Eat all the snacks

Walking around Xitang is a snack-lovers paradise. There are so many foreign smells/shapes/textures to discover and I enjoyed sampling new local delicacies.

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Deep fried quail eggs on a stick

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Glutinous rice fish (nuomiyu). These are made from a sweet glutinous rice with a few red beans inserted.

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A local chopping up chilis and garlic by the bucketful. Yum!

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Fish shaped waffle-type casing with red bean paste inside.

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Steamed buns (in the shapes of pigs and bears!) with red bean filling

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Fruit flavoured doughnuts

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What has been the most interesting snack you’ve tried whilst travelling?

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10 Comments

  • Reply milkteaxx January 7, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    china away from the hustle and bustle is such a beuatiful place, so many places i havent explored myself!

    • Reply Swah January 8, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      I loved escaping to the more remote areas of China, sometimes the hustle and bustle gets a bit too much!

  • Reply [email protected] January 7, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Ok, I would eat everything you took pics of! Delish!!

    • Reply Swah January 8, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      It was so delicious Thang!!

  • Reply China travel guide | Travelguide January 19, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    […] Travel Guide: Xitang, China – Love Swah http://loveswah.com/Xitang is an Ancient Water Town located 90km from Shanghai. Filled with narrow cobbled streets, picturesque old bridges over canals and traditional buildings, this charming town is a way to experience traditional China. […]

  • Reply China travel guide | Travelguide March 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    […] Travel Guide: Xitang, China – Love Swah http://loveswah.com/After experiencing the hustle and bustle of Shanghai I highly suggest you take a day to venture out to Xitang. Xitang is an Ancient Water Town located 90km from Shanghai. Filled with narrow cobbled streets, picturesque old … […]

  • Reply Melintza January 18, 2017 at 12:26 am

    Hi! I am planning a day trip to Xitang fron Shanghai this summer but i am trying to find the best, easiest, safest and cheap way to get there, as i am travelling with my husband and children. You have mentioned the tourist buses. Are there buses only for tourists or they are the same as for the locals. And how much it costs? Thanks!

    • Reply Swah January 18, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Hi Melintza,

      Most of the buses going to Xitang are local buses. However, you can catch the tourist bus in the Travel Collecting and Distributing Center under the No. 5 escalator of Shanghai Stadium in Shanghai downtown. The bus here will depart at 08:35 a.m. every day and return at 4:30 p.m. The price depends on whether you include the guide or not, you would have to enquire with them directly. Hope this helps!

  • Reply Ariel May 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Hi – If taking the bus from the long distance south bus terminal from Shanghai to go to Xitang, would I need to buy the bus tickets in advance or is it ok to buy directly at terminal? (do you know if the bus tickets typically sell out?) Thanks!

    • Reply Swah May 25, 2017 at 5:22 am

      Hi Ariel, if you know what day you’re catching the bus I would recommend buying in advance, but you can also purchase the tickets at the terminal that day

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