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Water Town explorations highlight Expo tour

Expo fever is on the rise in today's travel market, but for many visitors who have come a long way to Shanghai, one tour about the Expo Garden doesn't seem enough for all the effort. So, they seek nearby tourist attractions. And among all the choices, the ancient water towns which Shanghainese often use as weekend retreats are the most popular.

About 60 miles from the Shanghai Expo site

Qiandeng

Located in Kunshan city of Jiangsu province, Qiandeng is considered to be a history museum, which is more because of its richness in cultural celebrities than the well preserved old houses. Qiandeng is home to father of Kunqu opera Gujian and Qing dynasty thinker Gu Yanwu. New Stone Age ruins that dates back to six thousand years ago were discovered here and are protected as national heritage.

There is also the modern side to Qiandeng. Its new town area has attracted many technology companies to build their headquarters which has greatly spurred the local economy.

Qiandeng holds a tourism festival each year from March to May and this year, in addition to the usual activities, locals will organize traditional celebrations on the Dragon Boat and Mid Autumn Festivals to attract Expo visitors.

Travel tips

tickets: 40 yuan

opening time: 8:00 to 16:30

About 120 miles from the Shanghai Expo site

Yanguan

Facing the long narrow Qiantang River which reaches out to the East Sea, Yanguan in Haining city of Zhejiang province has long been a manufacturing base for salt. The small township also has a legendary tie to royalty. It is recorded history that Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty visited Yanguan four times during six inspections of southern China.

However, what Yanguan is more famous for is its magnificent tidal waves. Numerous visitors flock to Haining to watch the rising tide on August 18 on the Chinese lunar calendar, a tradition that has been carried out over the last four hundred years. And in the whole of Haining city, Yanguan is the best place to view the waves. Additionally August 18, the first and fifteenth day of each lunar month, the tidal waves reach the climax, drawing viewers from near and afar.

Travel tips

ticket for the tidal waves viewing area in Yanguan: 90 yuan

opening time: 8:00 to 16:30.