Tuesday, 10 February 2015

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF TONGLI, CHINESE RIVER TOWN, 22 May 2014

The main gateway leading into old Tongli.

The ancient river town of Tongli is one of China's best marketed tourist attractions. Established centuries ago along the Grand Canal system of China, it maintains an antiquated air and lifestyle despite the hordes of tourists which descend on it. Situated fairly close to the city of Suzhou, it makes a splendid day trip just to see what China was like a hundred years ago.

Getting there was probably the most "difficult" part. One could part with a fair bit of money hiring a taxi to and from Suzhou, but the sensible way is by public bus from the Suzhou Southern Bus Station. Its an hour-long trip to a small terminus in a newer section of Tongli, and a short electric tram ride into the old city. Once one crosses the main bridge, its a pedestrian's paradise, and much of the fun is in wandering in its narrow streets, ambling along canals and popping into well-maintained residences and gardens. 
    
Tongli's most famous and most photographed foot bridge.
Another Chinese town that makes its claim
to be the "Venice of China".
This intersection of two canals provides
a great view of three bridges.

The birds on the boat are fishing cormorants.
View from a bridge:
one of my favourite panoramas in Tongli.
An opposing view of the same bridge, near the
entrance of Gengle Yuan (Happy Farming Garden).

Tongli is teeming with tourists,
but this is one of the quieter thoroughfares.
One of Tongli's most popular caf├ęs.
Doorways and windows of Tongli.
Private life of China's river town Tongli.

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