Anchang Travel Guide

  • Guardian Against Development?
    Guardian Against Development?
    by ellyse
  • Locals enjoying snacks along the covered walkway
    Locals enjoying snacks along the covered...
    by ellyse
  • Boatman taking a rest
    Boatman taking a rest
    by ellyse

Anchang Things to Do

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    by ellyse Updated Jan 10, 2010

    Anchang used to "produce" many private advisors to magistrate officials in ancient China. There're a few small museums here (admission fee required), about this subject and others. I'm not sure what they're like inside as I didn't go in any of them.

    At the doorway of the Private Advisor Museum
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    by ellyse Written Jan 10, 2010

    Wupeng boats are an integral part of traditional life in this part of Zhejiang province. Here, at a cheaper price than in the tourist attractions of Shaoxing, you can enjoy rides on these boats and savour a different view from walking along the covered walkways on the canal banks.

    Boatman taking a rest Is someone photographing me? Heading home at the end of the day Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream...
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Anchang Local Customs

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    by ellyse Written Jan 10, 2010

    Anchang traditionally had village opera performances on religious festivals. Nowadays the village opera festival is in the 12th lunar month of the year, which's usually in January-February. It might also have changed to take advantage of the 3-day public holiday for the Western New Year, on the 1st 3 days of January. If your visit date is flexible, it might be worth coming during this time to experience the festivities.

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Anchang Warnings and Dangers

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    by ellyse Written Jan 10, 2010

    Anchang water village has to be one of the most untouched and authentic water villages in this part of China. That said, it's not easy to find -- it's a long bus ride from downtown Shaoxing (you do need reasonably decent Chinese language skills if you go by this mode of transport), and on my 2nd trip there, our driver (from Shanghai) spent a long time trying to find it as there were new roads all over the area!
    Perhaps best to hire a taxi and driver for the day, from Shaoxing. Make sure the driver knows the way otherwise you'll be going in circles.

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Anchang Off The Beaten Path

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    by ellyse Written Jan 10, 2010

    "An" means peace, and "chang" means prosperity. In olden times, Anchang was originally called Changle, which means "always happy". Now, away from the hustle and bustle of modern cities, it exudes an air of tranquility and simplicity in the quiet ripples of the canal waters, in the slow pace of life, in this place that feels a world rather than a few hours away from Shanghai, one of the biggest and busiest cities of China.
    Anchang has a "lived-in" feel about it. The shops, rather than selling tacky tourist souvenirs, sell commodities which the locals need for their day-to-day life. Most of the residents are the elderly and the very young, as adults mostly seek their fortunes in the bigger cities of the region.

    Innocence of a child's smile Locals enjoying snacks along the covered walkway Commodities for sale A quiet street
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Anchang Favorites

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    by ellyse Updated Jan 10, 2010

    Favorite thing: Anchang water village has to be one of the most untouched and authentic water villages in this part of China.
    "An" means peace, and "chang" means prosperity. In olden times, Anchang was originally called Changle, which means "always happy". Personally I feel that these names reflects the simple, unsophisticated wish of the ordinary folk who would like to enjoy a stable life away from strife and poverty.
    There was no admission fee involved both times I visited, but not sure if this has changed.

    Fondest memory: Now, away from the hustle and bustle of modern cities, it exudes an air of tranquility and simplicity in the quiet ripples of the canal waters, in the slow pace of life, in this place that feels a world rather than a few hours away from Shanghai, one of the biggest and busiest cities of China. There're no noisy, gawking tour groups here led by a flag-toting guide yakking away on a loudhailer.
    If you want to see a water village which hasn't been "prettified", dolled-up and Disneyfied for the tourist dollar, this might be it. I've been here twice, once in May 2007 and the later in August 2008. The 2nd time round I found a street of new buildings (made to look "old" with traditional Chinese-style architecture) leading up to the entrance of Anchang, that's typical of more tourism-developed water villages such as Zhouzhuang and even Tongli. To me, this is a distressing "development", but perhaps unstoppable and irreversible. Maybe by now these new "old" buildings are already full of shops selling the same tacky, common souvenirs that can be seen at any nondescript tourist-oriented store in mainland China. Hurry to see this simple gem before it's lost to the winds of change.

    Relaxing in Anchang A place that scarcely sees foreigners A local wupeng boat Peek-a-boo bridge Map at the entrance
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    by ellyse Written Jan 10, 2010

    Favorite thing: Despite the Chinese government's valiant efforts to promote English, "Chinglish" is more usually the end-product, especially in places where the local populace don't come into frequent contact with the language and who have no practical use in their daily lives for the extra language.
    Here, Anchang boasts of a "Fork Museum" -- I would've expected one about chopsticks to be more in tune with China! Oh well, at least they tried...

    No chopsticks here?
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    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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