Want to visit a water town while you're in Shanghai? Don't have time to get to Tongli or Zhujiajiao? Visit Qibao instead! It's an ancient water town that was once, long, long ago, miles from Shanghai; but is now surrounded on all sides by its sprawling western suburbs. But it's so easy to get to you can see it in the morning and whizz back to People's Square by early afternoon. And if you half-close your eyes you can see just the pretty canals and bridges, and squint out the high-rise apartment blocks in the background.
Once there, you can sip oolong tea overlooking a canal, eat some delicious snacks including those from one of Shanghai's most famous chòu dòufu 臭豆腐 (stinky tofu) vendors. Hold your nose while you eat it!
There isn't much serenity to be had on a weekend - a weekday morning will be your best bet for peace and quiet. And Chinese national holidays? Avoid the place like the plague, unless you're trying to cure your agoraphobia with repeated exposure to really intense crowds.
There are occasional quiet spots to be had. Have your photo taken sitting in a pavilion in front of the realistic mountain scene mural. Try not to include the apartment windows.
Or peer into the little alleyways, where you will often find a more peaceful scene.
So how to get there? From People's Square subway station take Line 2 to Xujiahui station (5 stops), then change to Line 9. From here it's 6 stops to Qibao. Once outside the station follow the crowd, the entrance is about 200m away.
Labels: food, Qibao, Shanghai, street food