Get­ting a taste of tra­di­tion and tech­nol­ogy

Lat­est tech makes an­cient town a place to ex­pe­ri­ence modern life­styles

China Daily (USA) - - WUZHEN - By ZHU LIXIN in­Wuzhen, Zhe­jiang zhulixin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

To tourists from around the world, Wuzhen, a town in eastern China’s Zhe­jiang prov­ince, is a place not only to en­joy the an­tiq­ui­ties of the water­town but also to ex­pe­ri­ence modern life­styles shaped by the lat­est tech­nolo­gies.

With a his­tory of nearly 1,300 years and many cen­turies-old tra­di­tional res­i­dences, Wuzhen is known as the “Venice of the East”, since the town was built along some an­cient canals and wa­ter sys­tems.

To tour the town with travel agen­cies is prob­a­bly not a pri­mary choice for tourists any more. A more flex­i­ble way is now taken by more of them.

Thanks to high-speed trains from Bei­jing, Shang­hai and Hangzhou, tourists can first ar­rive at Tongx­i­ang, the city to whichWuzhen is af­fil­i­ated.

Out­side theTongx­i­ang high­speed train sta­tion, new-en­ergy ve­hi­cles have been made avail­able for rental since April. To get the cars, the users need to down­load a smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tion named Yiyi Auto and reg­is­ter on­line.

When they ar­rive at Wuzhen, vis­i­tors can park the cars at any of the park­ing lots on the streets, and click on the app to fin­ish the pay­ment.

As for which ho­tel to stay in, there no need to worry much abouthow­far it is from tourist ar­eas any more, since now the town has hun­dreds of home inns. Most of the inns are avail­able for book­ing on­line.

For those who want to go fur­ther and visit more places than merely the tourist ar­eas, pub­lic bi­cy­cles, which are seen ev­ery few hun­dred me­ters in the town, are rec­om­mended. The way to get such a bike is sim­i­lar to that for a car, while a bike can be used for two hours with­out any charges.

If the tourists can read Chi­nese, they can en­joy more con­ve­nience by using an­other app, which in­cludes in­for­ma­tion on where to en­joy the most beau­ti­ful scenery, which ho­tels to stay in, and what foods the tourists can en­joy.

The app can be down­loaded by scan­ning a QR code at the bi­cy­cle park­ing lots via a smart­phone.

Don’t worry if you have no change to pay for the ser­vices and goods. Even sesame cake ven­dor own­ers in small lanes know how to use Ali­pay and WeChat for pay­ment.

Af­ter en­joy­ing cer­tain ser­vices pro­vided by lo­cal ho­tels, restau­rants and stores, don’t for­get to ex­press your likes or dis­likes on­line.

If the tourists are tech­nol­ogy fans, Wuzhen is the right place to ex­pe­ri­ence the most ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies, es­pe­cially the in­ter­net and the in­ter­net of things.

Since Wuzhen is now the per­ma­nent site of the World In­ter­net Con­fer­ence, many of the coun­try’s lead­ing high­tech com­pa­nies have set up branches in the town.

If they want to know more about the tra­di­tions of Wuzhen, such as how crafts­men make bam­boo plait­ing prod­ucts, they can also watch live video broad­casts on the app.

Though there are so many apps to down­load and things to ac­com­plish on­line, the tourists don’t need to worry about data usage fees, since pub­lic and free Wi-Fi is now avail­able in the en­tire town.

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