Once the sun sets, the sleepy turned into a bright display of neons and LED. The night and day of Tongli are completely different.
There are people living in the town, actual residents that have stayed there for generations. Some entrepreneurial ones have converted part of their houses into bed and breakfast for tourists. Most just rented out their premises and stayed in one corner of their properties.
Most of these are eateries and pubs that cater to the tourists and with the pandemic, they were all affected by the sudden drop in tourist arrivals. The positive side? They reverted to the quiet, tranquil atmosphere of the water town used to be.
When the night falls, the lights came on. These were part of the investment by the township to make it one of the most attractive tourist destination in China. Who want to see old, dilapidated buildings and sleepy townsfolk when they go on a trip. While the Chinese tourists like to see the history and culture being preserved they expect the modern comfort and convenience everywhere they go.
The Three Bridges at Night
All 39 bridges in the township are adorned with beautiful LED lights and they come on when the sun goes down, depending on the season. The entrance fee is waived after 6pm, so you get to see these beautiful lights for free.
Everything becomes peaceful when the night falls because all commercial activities closed and the tourists retreated to their hotels or restaurants. I love to walk around during this time because there’s no crowd and every shot is beautiful.
While the KFC convenience store is real, the Lawson is a local knock-off. Besides the convenience stores, there are many supper eateries around the Tongli town outside the ancient town. However with the pandemic, the nightlife was pretty tamed and limited.
I don’t think the old man would come out to fish in the evening when this place is packed with tourist and merry seekers. But now, everyone longed for their return.
I recommend that you spend a night in Tongli to enjoy the wonderful sights at night. And if possible, stay in a local bed and breakfast like I did 16 years ago.
This is Part 4 of a Five-Part Special on Tongli
- #1/5 Jiangnan Water Town 同里水乡
- #2/5 Three Sights 同里三景
- #3/5 Sights and Sounds 同里声色
- #4/5 Night and Day 同里日不落
- #5/5 Memories 老朋友
Date Visited : Nov 2020