Yes, Wuzhen is a tourist attraction — you have to buy tickets to go in. But this restored water town a few hours away from Shanghai, China, captured my heart anyway.
Wuzhen is a mix of the old and the new, the commercial and the residential, the facade and the real, and it somehow works. We first took a buggy in, through a covered road with shining pillars and clean beams. New. We then walked through tiled streets and narrow stone bridges. Old. We stayed inside the Waterside Resort; where a preserved bridge stood in the lobby, facing a grand electric chandelier. New-old.
My wife and I fell in love with it. We strolled through Wuzhen’s quiet streets in the dusk, enjoying the brisk winter wind amidst bowls of steaming wanton (dumplings). We woke up before sunrise and explored the town in the golden hour, capturing our favourite images from the trip.
We would have loved to spend more time getting to know Wuzhen, lounging in its lazy cafes, exploring its quaint shops, and soak in its mix of old-new, touristy-historic. But alas, we were traveling in a group, and had to leave after just two short days in this lovely sleepy town.