Xi Tang China ~ 西塘Posted on Feb 01 in Chinaby ShelynPrint
Many young people don’t really like traveling to China but to me it was fine, as it was one of the oversea trips that I could afford few years back when I still earned pathetic salary. RM2000 (approx. USD 580) for a 8 days trip included flight ticket, accommodation and meals, not bad right?
One of the most memorable places in my China trip is a water town that reminds me of Venice. Ancient houses were built along the grand canal with rivers crisscrossing the whole town. Rivers and creeks spanned with stone bridges in various designs flow through the town. When I was brought to this place, I felt drawn into the meditation of being in the Chinese martial art movie chanting poetry and writing couplets while drinking Chinese rice wine with a swordsman who lives incognito in a remote mountain. What a romantic place to fall in love with a great swordsman. I was hoping to meet Wu Ming ((无名) from The Storm Warriors (风云) ) but if he could be easily found he wouldn’t have named himself as Anonymous.
This is the ancient town of Xi Tang, in Zhejiang Province, has a history of more than 1,000 years. It lies within the triangle formed by Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai. Xi Tang is a water town crisscrossed by nine rivers. The town stretches across eight sections, linked by old-fashioned stone briges.
In Xi Tang, there are well-preserved groups of buildings of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) with relatively high artistic quality and research value. It is famous for its large number of covered corridors, lanes and bridges.
The canal is flanked by neat rows of willows. My mum and my sister were standing next to willow. But the willows here are not as beautiful as the willows found in West Lake in Hang Zhou.
For hundreds of years, its residents have been building houses along the rivers and trading near the bridges. Even until today you can still see the residents here washing dishes in the river.
People here live a simple life. Many of them breed silkworms and raise chrysanthemums, and they have mostly retained the tradition of buying fruit and vegetables from trade boats through the windows of their waterside houses.
The covered corridor is the most well known scene in Xi Tang. It is also the most distinctive feature this historic town offers compared with other water towns. Consisting of many sections, the whole covered corridor is more than 1,000 meters (about 1094 yards) long, attracting visitors from all over the world with its particular charm. Mostly, it is tile-roofed and built along the riverside, providing shelter for people to avoid either the baking hot sun or the rain.
From here, you can actually board a ship to Hang Zhou. But of course we didn’t do it, we had to follow the arrangement from the tour agent.
It’s a beautiful and quiet town that allows you to just sit around and linger in the lanes to enjoy its serenity and peacefulness.
石皮弄, I always mistaken it as 后皮弄 :-p — Interesting narrow lane huh, isn’t it?
The households are connected with narrow lanes, naturally forming one of the striking features of this ancient town – narrow lanes. The town has a total of 122 lanes, narrow or wide, and long or short. Some are dark all year round; some are simply the drain of two families; most of them were the main artery of the town in the old days. 石皮弄 (弄 = lane) is the most famous 弄 here as it’s the narrowest lane in Xi Tang with only o.8 metre. 石皮弄 was formed by 2 houses owned by Wong’s family. In ancient time, wealthy families extended their great houses to the maximum and provides space for only one person to pass through at a time.
Time-honored history and brilliant Chinese civilization endow the country with numerous historical and cultural relics. Vast field gives birth to many beautiful mountains and rivers. The uniqueness of its relics can’t be found in the rest of the world. So China is definitely one of the countries that I would want to fully explore, probably after I retire.
Admission Fee: CNY 100 (tickets include both the scenic region and 11 sightseeing spots); CNY 50 (tickets for the scenic region only)
Opening Hours: Whole Day