Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
A short walk directly east of the Garden is the Museum of Ancient Chinese Sex Culture 5
[map] (Zhongguo Gudai Xing Wenhua Bowuguan; ; daily
8am-5pm; charge), which was relocated here from Shanghai in 2004 because of rising rents
in the city. The museum houses the private collection of noted sexologist and Shanghai
University professor Liu Danyin, who has amassed a comprehensive collection of more than
1,200 artefacts on the history of Chinese sexuality. The well-curated museum is organised by
themes such as sex in literature and the arts, and sex and evolution. There is insight into
Chinese culture, with exhibits on foot binding, dowry trunks (explicit paintings of copulating
couples at the bottom of these trunks were meant as an instruction manual for newly-wed
daughters), lovemaking chairs, statues and sculpture. Much of the exhibition is quite graphic.
For a different perspective on Tongli, head for the Gondolier Pier, a short walk south of the
museum. You can hire a gondola (RMB 70) for a relaxing ride through the canals, sometimes
accompanied by a singing gondolier.
You can also visit Luoxing Islet 6 [map] (Luoxing Zhou), in Tongli Lake, to the east of the
town - the price is included in your ticket. A pleasant boat ride takes you over to the islet,
which has a strong religious legacy that dates back to the Yuan Dynasty. There are three
temples here - Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian, all of which have been rebuilt in recent
Tongli is one of several historic watertowns close to Shanghai, with ancient whitewashed
houses and temples built along winding canals crisscrossed by arched stone bridges. Each
of the following watertowns can be reached in a daytrip from Shanghai. Avoid weekends and
public holidays when tourist crowds are out in full force.
About 90 minutes from Shanghai, Zhouzhuang is one of China's oldest watertowns and
one of the larger ones - it's also one of the busiest. The 900-year-old Taoist Chengxu Temple
provides a welcome retreat from the crowds. Pretty Xitang had a starring role in Mission Im-
possible III , with Tom Cruise leaping across its ancient bridges. It's about an hour and a half
from Shanghai and several canal-side guesthouses are available if you wish to stay the
night, when the town becomes quieter and more alluring. What Qibao lacks in size and au-
thenticity, it makes up for in convenience - you can reach it via Shanghai's Line 9 metro in
under 30 minutes. There is a pleasant temple and a tiny shadow puppet theatre that are
worth visiting.
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