I visited Shaoxing as a one-day trip from Hangzhou. I have known the name of this city since middle school, as it showed up very often in textbooks, associated with many influential figures as their birthplace. I always wanted to visit, thinking it must be something special about this place that incubated those great people in China's history.
Indeed, Shaoxing is a hidden treasure for those who like the soft and tender ancient urban style of Southeast China. The thousand-year-old canals are still in function and connect the people who live above the water. Given the preservation and originality, Shaoxing is surprisingly low-profile. Unlike the touristy water towns, which segregated the historic areas to charge admission ticket, Shaoxīng is a contemporary city marbled with old, where modern housing blocks are shot through with rivulets and white-washed homes.
People peacefully live their lives here in the course of history. We are crossing the same watercourse as those colorful figures in the past centuries. Still water runs deep, just like Shaoxing.