Travel Report: Tongli Water Town Part II, China.
Want to get the full perspective? Before reading this, why not dip into my article Tongli Water Town Part I
December 2018. I’m glad I got to see Tongli Water Town in the off season. A friend told me the summer crowds here are horrible, so I made sure to appreciate the empty streets and abandoned boats as I wandered around.
The off season also gave me the perfect opportunity to indulge in a favourite pastime. Namely a solid spell of prime Sittin’ Doin’ Nothin’ spotting. There were a fair few candidates that day around town, but this guy won first prize for a spot in my article. The message was loud and clear. In the winter, things move slowly in Tongli.
Far more impressive though was this ancient old man making his way down the main canal street. His progress was so painfully slow I could actually follow his tracks on and off as I dipped in and out of several traditional residences. Overhearing a nearby English speaking tour guide, I learned that the man was ninety seven years old and that he was famed for doing the daily walk to his daughter’s house and back. It’s apparently a ritual he never misses, regardless of the weather. His fellow locals often pitch in and help him, especially on days where the streets are afflicted by patches of black ice.
Tongli Water Town.
Many consider this the most beautiful water town in China. As such, it has often been the filming location of choice for numerous Chinese movies and TV shows. These productions are commemorated here in a walk of fame style square across from the town’s ancient performance stage.
Tongli Water Town’s ancient stage still holds traditional dance and drama performances on weekends from 10:00-11:00 & 14:00-15:00. My visit came on a weekday, hence the stage and square sat eerily silent.
Tongli Water Town is mercifully straightforward to reach. In fact, it’s actually connected to Suzhou via the subway! Tongli Station is the last stop at the southern end of Line 4 and it takes about an hour from central Suzhou. From the station it’s either a forty minute walk to the town, or simply hail a DiDi for a ten minute drive.
Like this? There are more pieces to read on Tongli Water Town.
I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.