An underrated Weekend Trip to Wuxi from Shanghai

Ever heard of the city of Wuxi? Neither had I until I needed to escape the busy metropolis of Shanghai. I love Shanghai but after a frustrating week at work, I had an overwhelming urge to escape. I did not want to go too far nor anywhere too touristy such as Hangzhou or Suzhou. With that in mind, I looked on a map to see which nearby cities I had not yet visited. I saw a city on a lake called Wuxi. It was just half an hour by train.

One Saturday morning I hopped on a train and headed to Wuxi. A few colleagues had told me I had to visit Lingshan but apart from that, I had no real idea what there was to see in Wuxi. Would there be much to see and do there? 

I can happily report that I had an incredible time in Wuxi and was surprised at how much there was to see. I spent two days in Wuxi and only scratched the surface of this underrated destination. Here are 6 things you must do when visiting Wuxi.

Visit the Lingshan Buddha

Want to see one of the biggest Buddhas in the whole of China?

Although it isn’t as old as the famous Leshan Buddha it is still very impressive. At 88m high the Lingshan Buddha stands proudly on a hill overlooking Lake Tai.

There are many other things to see including a live show about the story of Buddha and a beautiful Tibetan temple. I thought I would spend an hour or so at the site, but I ended up spending most of the day exploring. The park is quite an interesting concept as it seems to display lots of different aspects of Buddhism creating a type of Buddhist theme park, indeed it is marketed in English as a ‘Buddhist Wonderland’. I found it fascinating and really did enjoy seeing all the different types of Buddhist temples.

Whilst it was fairly busy by the giant Buddha there were parts of the park which were not busy at all despite the fact it was a Saturday.

You will want to spend at least a few hours here. The show takes half an hour and you are allotted a time slot upon purchasing your ticket which costs around CNY 210. It is easy to get straight to the Lingshan Buddha from the high-speed train station simply by hopping on bus number 88.

Try amazing Street Food

In the centre of ancient Wuxi near Nanchan Temple is a huge choice of delicious street food.

Visit the Nanchan Temple area with an empty stomach and work your way through the stalls. Stroll down narrow allies and brace yourself for an overload of senses. Intense spices and aromatic scents waft through the air. The heat radiates from the stalls creating a microclimate within the city. Hundreds of people are laughing, chatting and eating on the small tables in the centre of the street.

I tried many different types of tofu, fresh fruits and melt-in-your-mouth potatoes coated in various spicy sauces. You may have to fight to get a space on the table, but you can also end up making friends. As the only foreigner in Wuxi I attracted a lot of attention and lots of people asked me where I was from and what I was doing in Wuxi!

Nanchan Temple

Now your belly is full of all the yummy street food you can enter the Nanchan temple for free. For a small charge of 10 RMB you can climb the 7-story pagoda to walk off you the street food and see a fantastic view of the city. At night, the 6th century Temple it is lit up and sparkles in the city centre. Whilst I was there, there was lots of dancing outside the temple walls from traditional Chinese dancing to hip hop dancers!

In the day the Temple is equally as impressive. Enter this oasis of calm within the bustling pedestrian zone for some peace and quiet. I loved the red lanterns swaying gently to the hum of Buddhist chants. The beautiful pagoda is wonderful to behold. Make sure you also stroll over towards the canal. The lovely canal area has many pretty bridges and old architecture either side of the water. This canal eventually reaches the grand Hangzhou-Bejing Canal which is the oldest and longest canal in the world.

Go Hiking in Huishan Forest Park

Whilst Wuxi is not situated in a particularly mountainous area, it’s certainly not as flat as Shanghai. The rolling hills around the city allow for a little exertion in return for beautiful views of the lake and the city.

I really enjoyed my walk in Huishan Forest Park. Huishan translates into the very pretty name of “Kindhearted Hill”. The park underwent a major reforestation project in the 80ies restoring it to its former green glory. Once I left the main trails I had this wonderful patch of nature to myself, something I was desperately seeking after feeling a little claustrophobic in Shanghai. There are many paths in the Huishan forest park. Don’t go through the Xihui Park entrance as they will charge you a fee as a foreigner. Download the app to see alternative paths into the Forest Park. There are lots of paths strewn across the mountain. A steep but short hike will take you into this leafy world far above the stress of the city below.

For those who wish to admire the views but don’t fancy a steep hike, there is also a cable car to take you up to the peak.

Visit Huishan Ancient Town

Huishan Ancient town is a lovely collection of ancient buildings. Beautiful ancestral halls with typical Chinese features adorn the pedestrian street. Go early morning and see the locals haggling for breakfast items and to catch the sun rising above the mountains.

Relax by Lake Tai

After a day of sightseeing, you should gather some left-over strength and cycle to Taihu. Scientists can’t agree how this lake was formed but many believe that it was the result of a meteor impact. Regardless as to how it was formed, you should visit the third largest freshwater lake in China to admire the spectacular sunset.

What I loved about Wuxi is whilst there were touristy spots it felt very liveable. I visited at the weekend, yet Wuxi never felt too overcrowded. The lake in Hangzhou is always overflowing with tourists’ whatever part of the lake you stumble across. In Wuxi however, I managed to find a perfect quiet spot to watch the golden rays over the lake. It was a lovely end to my trip.

What else is there to see and do in Wuxi?

There was a lot more to do in Wuxi than I managed to squeeze into a quick weekend trip. I have heard that during spring, Wuxi’s beautiful traditional gardens such as the Plum Garden and Turtle Head Isle are a sight to behold. There is also the Three Kingdom city which is one CCTV Television Bases and a renowned tourist attraction due to the films produced there.

If you are ever in Shanghai and fancy a different day trip to Hangzhou or Suzhou take the fast train to Wuxi and I promise you will be pleasantly surprised.

Check out this ultimate guide to catching a train in China!

Would you like to visit Wuxi?

Have I managed to convince you to visit Wuxi? Let me know in the comments below if you would like to visit Wuxi!

Why you should visit Wuxi - 6 things to do in the city of Wuxi on Lake Tai just 30 minutes from Shanghai, China. Forget Suzhou and Hangzhou, escape the crowds and take a weekend trip to Wuxi in Jiangsu province and see the world\'s tallest Buddha! #wuxi #shanghai #chinaWhy you should visit Wuxi - 6 things to do in the city of Wuxi on Lake Tai just 30 minutes from Shanghai, China. Forget Suzhou and Hangzhou, escape the crowds and take a weekend trip to Wuxi in Jiangsu province and see the world\'s tallest Buddha! #wuxi #shanghai #china

11 Replies to “An underrated Weekend Trip to Wuxi from Shanghai”

  1. I have been to Shanghai. Yes, it is such a huge metropolis. A getaway to Wuxi would indeed be relaxing!

  2. Nope, I have never heard of Wuxi. I’ve been to China but not Shanghai and that is where I’d like to go (and Chengdu) if I went back! The Nanchan Temple is beautiful and I would have to see it for sure! And that view from Huishan Forest Park…yes, please!

  3. I’ve never even been to China! But, like you, I often seek out a little solace from the hectic nature of a city. I love finding the hidden gems!

  4. We loved this post! In our travels we absolutely seek out places that may not be on any list, so to speak. Simply having no real expectations of a site/sight/city is such a good way to see a place for what it is – and not always being expected (as a tourist!) can be really refreshing.

    Also, the more we learn about big cities in China (Shenyang, for example) the more amazed we are to learn there are so many places worthy of exploration that deserve a mention, like Wuxi. The city looks like a great place to get lost for a bit – underrated, indeed!

    As for the food, I am sadly allergic to sesame. Does sesame feature in much of the cuisine in China? I think I would have to very careful…

    Your Drifters,
    Jerry and Fiona

  5. Im in Southern China so i was delighted to read another blogger is in China like me. I still havent been to Shanghai yet or the surrounding area but im glad to read about some fascinating places near there so i know where to go when i do visit. Thanks again for touring us around Wuxi. Cheers!

  6. Spontaneous trips to random places sometimes turn out to be the best eh? When I return to China, I’ll definitely have to hit Wuxi up as it seems like a lovely place to spend a weekend! I’ll go for a hike in the forest park for sure 🙂

  7. I’ve actually never heard of Wuxi either. If I ever visit China, I would definitely like to visit here. That Buddha statue is huge indeed. How many steps does it take to reach? I would also love to spend time in Huishan Forest Park and Lake Tai as they seem like perfect places to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I’ve never heard of Wuxi, but it sounds like a great place to explore. The food here sounds especially yummy. I am a tofu lover and those potatoes sound so interesting. PS. I love your photography!

  9. I’d never heard of Wuxi either but now I’m dying to go! The Lingshan Buddha looks incredible and the Ningshan temple looks like an absolute dream for my (hungry) heart 🙂 Top it all off with a walk through the forest and it sounds like a recipe for an absolutely perfect weekend. Great tips, thanks!

  10. Never heard of Wuxi, though have never been to China. So many friends of mine have gone to Shanghai on a business trip, but we are kinda skeptical to go to China because of the food. We are vegetarians, please give your views on finding vegetarian door in China.

  11. No I had never heard of Wuxi until now! I can’t believe this is just 30 minutes outside the bustling city of Shanghai. Seems worlds away! Also, I’d go for the cable car 😉

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