Travel Destinations: Tongli, Jiangsu Province, China

Lian Slayford By Lian Slayford, 29th May 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>China>Jiangsu & Zhejiang

This article explores Tongli as a great place to visit.

Travel Destinations: Tongli, Jiangsu Province, China

Travel Destinations: Tongli, Jiangsu Province, China

With so many different places to go to and explore in China, it can be very difficult for travellers to choose where they want to spend their limited time in. For most Westerners, it is Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong that mostly appeal, but many are choosing to pot for a river cruise along the Grand Canal.

The Grand Canal is a wonderful way to explore China as not only do you get to explore some major towns and beautiful scenery, but the smaller towns and little canal villages are simply lovely and give you the chance to get a sense of real China and some amazingly authentic historical sites.

Tongli is a canal town in Jiangsu Province, and a popular stop-off destination as you either cruise down the Grand Canal or make your way by bicycle or car. It lies only 18km from Suzhou and near Lake Tai and was established in the 9th century. Even today, it has managed to retain that ancient and charming historical feel to it with their traditional architecture, intricate roof carvings and black tiles.

The town’s streets are lined with willow trees and cobblestones. The old buildings have a weather-beaten charm to them which makes Tongli a popular tourist destination from either Suzhou or Shanghai.

To get the most out of the Old Town it is best to explore by foot. For those who get lost easily, keep to the sides of the canals. They are criss-crossed by a network of ancient stone bridges that you can imagine ancient Chinese people crossing with baskets of fruit and goods in their brightly coloured silk robes and dresses. Not only this, but as you admire the beautiful traditional buildings you get away from the other tourists.

At some point in your wanderings here, you will come to three residential houses that you shouldn’t pass up on the chance to visit. Gengle Tang is by far the best of them. This is a stunning estate containing 52 halls throughout five sprawling courtyards. These buildings have been lovingly restored to their original brilliance and have wonderful painting, furniture and calligraphy to create that ancient feel.

Pear Pagoda is in the north of the town dating back to the Qing Dynasty but has undergone recent restoration. In the east you will find Tuisi Garden, the highlight and famous landmark in Tongli. The name means ‘to retire and contemplate’ and was named so after it became an official’s retirement home.

The one attraction that does keep people coming to Tongli is the Chinese Sec Culture Museum. Westerners have long though Confucius was a prim and proper man, but once you find this museum, you will soon learn that he wasn’t. It was originally established in Shanghai but the government force it out and it found its home here.

Tongli is a beautiful place that should not be missed out upon. The words charming, lovely, quaint and beautiful do not do it justice.


China, Chinese, Jiangsu Province, Tongli, Trave, Travel, Travel Agency, Travel At Ease, Travel Budget, Travel By Train, Travel Nepal, Travel Tip, Travel Tips, Travelling

Meet the author

author avatar Lian Slayford
Lian is a Research Archaeologist, specialising in Religious Archaeology.

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