Glossy ribbons of water splice this ancient village, founded 1,700 years ago but with archaeological relics surfacing from some 5,000 years back. Situated roughly 30km outside of Shanghai, Zhujiajiao is a last bastion of historic Chinese culture, and stands remarkably preserved.
Boating is still the primary means of transportation, and the best way to observe the Ming and Qing-era architecture, old houses and the lion and dragon statues that perch from the 36 bridges erected over the ancient waterways. Walk up the one-kilometer-long stretch of “North Street,” the main tourist drag with its historic outposts and enviable views. Or, if you can stomach it, try the regional delicacy “chou doufu” (literally, “stinky tofu”), then wade through the throng of canal-front vendors peddling spices and dumplings to pick up a snack before resting in one of the town’s splendid parks, such as the Ke Zhi Yuan.