Welcome to Zhūjiājiǎo
What survives of this historic canal town today is a charming tableau of Ming and Qing dynasty alleys, bridges and gǔzhèn (古镇; old town) architecture, its alleyways steeped in the aroma of chòu dòufu (stinky tofu).
While first impressions aren't fabulous when you step off the bus – a gritty industrious town – as soon as you hit the old town and its canals (a 10-minute walk from the bus station), you'll be glad you came. The riverside settlement is small enough to wander completely in three hours. Souvenir shops and restaurants line the scenic canal, connected by quaint bridges and narrow laneways that make it genuinely reminiscent of Venice – albeit a very Chinese version.