Xitang at Night is Absolutely the Movie in Your Mind

Xitang at night is absolutely the movie in your mind. It’s the one you always see in Chinese soap operas, classic telenovelas, and films. On the night I arrived there, I wasted no time. I hurriedly checked into my hotel room, changed my t-shirt and off I went to the water town. It’s a convenient two-minute walk from my hotel, so I did not worry about going back late. After 8 in the evening, and during the off-season, there were only a few tourists.

Xitang at Night is Absolutely the Movie in Your Mind China
Xitang at Night is Absolutely the Movie in Your Mind (China).

It was my first glance at the ancient town, so I had no idea what to expect.

Things to do in Xitang
These red lanterns add beauty to this ancient village in China.
I entered through a long and narrow alley lit only by a few red lanterns.
Xitang at Night is Absolutely the Movie in Your Mind (China).
Xitang at Night is Absolutely the Movie in Your Mind (China).

When I emerged, four grandmothers sitting on a wooden stool with their fans, looked at me with a puzzled look. Did I scare them with my three-week-old beard? That I would never know. 😀

Xitang at Night is Absolutely the Movie in Your Mind (China) Travel Blog
Xitang at Night is Absolutely the Movie in Your Mind (China).

Shops lined on both sides of the narrow streets.

Xitang at Night China Asia Travel Blog
This ancient village is absolutely the movie in your mind (China).

Red lanterns were ubiquitous, and I felt like I was living in the past, or I was part of a movie shoot.

Hotel in Xi Tang China Hostel
This ancient village is absolutely the movie in your mind (China).

Out of curiosity, I went into very narrow alleys to check out what was in there. I found courtyard houses free from renovations, unlike the ones you see on the main street.

Hostel Xitang Hotel Travel Blog
This ancient village is absolutely the movie in your mind (China).

As you can see in these photos below, the white-washed houses along the canals retain its pure form and architecture.

Sightseeing in Xi Tang
Xitang is photogenic at night.
The stone bridges are high enough for the boats to pass under them.
This ancient village is absolutely the movie in your mind (China).
Xitang at Night is Absolutely the Movie in Your Mind (China).

Imagine a transport like that ages ago – going from one village to another.

Things to do in Xi Tang Hostel Hotel
It’s a walk to remember after sunset.

I found out later that Xitang’s water canals are coming from nine rivers.

Photogenic places in China Travel Blog
This is one of the most photogenic places I’ve been to.

Therefore, there are other water towns in the area that are as old (if not older) as Xitang.

UNESCO China Travel
This ancient village is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

If the movie “Mission Impossible III” (Tom Cruise) were not shot here, the village would still have been quiet today.

Hostel Xi Tang Hotel China Travel
The water town is just a short trip from Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou by train.

At night, Xitang is photogenic in every angle.

The Watertown is is just a short trip from Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou by train.
The Watertown is just a short trip from Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou by train.

It’s magical. It’s absolutely romantic, too!

Romantic towns in China
A walk at night around the village is romantic. 😉

As I strolled under covered corridors and crossed countless bridges, I heard loud music – electronic music.

bar district in xi tang
There’s a bar street inside this ancient village.

As I got nearer, I realized, I was about to enter the “bar street.”

Things to do in Xitang Hotel Hostel

And yes, there are bars and clubs with bouncing dance floors and patrons with their glow sticks! Oh dear!

Things to do in Xi Tang China

I was amused, and at the same time, wondering, “Why on earth there’s a bar street” in this ancient village?

Tourist attractions in Xi Tang China

It would be like having McDonald’s or Starbucks inside the Forbidden City. (By the way, there was once a Starbucks inside the Forbidden City, but they closed in 2007.)

Tourist attractions in Xitang China

Hotel in Xitang

I found a cheap hostel just outside the ancient village – Xitang Hotel. It’s only a minute or two to the entrance. It is clean and though the staff can’t speak English, they have a very reliable translator app. There are also shops and restaurants in the surrounding area. You can book it via BookingTripAdvisor or Expedia

VPN in China

Remember that while most hotels in China have free access to wifi, I recommend that you install your own VPN to access your social media accounts. And yes, there’s no Google here, too. If you have Gmail and other Google products, you have to have a VPN to access them. 

Buying a Train Ticket Online in China

Buying train tickets at the train station anywhere in China can be confusing for those who don’t speak the language. What I always do is book via TRIP because it’s the most convenient, and they only charge $3. You wasted no time joining the long queue there. However, on the day of your trip, make sure to be at the station at least an hour and a half. Go directly to the window booth where they issue the real tickets. You have to show the reservation number/s. Train attendants usually allow passengers to check-in between 20 minutes before the scheduled departure.

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