Afternoon Tea Boat Cruise at Zhujiajiao Water Town's Jing Ting

By Sophie Steiner, February 7, 2022

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We first visited Jing Ting  an upscale homestay-style bed & breakfast situated an hour outside of Shanghai in nearby water town Zhujiajiao – back in September.

And, honestly, we can't get enough.

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Image courtesy of Jing Ting

We found ourselves craving the bygone allure of this elegantly restored historical building, the exploratory feeling of walking down hundred-year-old alleyways, the never-ending flow of laden dishes brimming with delectable local delicacies served at Jing Ting's 700-year old teahouse, known as the Jiang Nan First Tea House.

READ MORE: Escape to Jing Ting, a Zhujiajiao Ancient Town Retreat

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So we did what any (in)sane person would do, and skipped a visit to any of the million other villages and towns around the behemoth landmass that is China and instead booked ourselves a second stay at Jing Ting, this time experiencing it as a winter wonderland (fake snow included).

Afternoon Tea on a Boat Experience

The biggest update is that they now offer an afternoon tea experience, while simultaneously taking a boat ride through the winding canals that weave their way through Zhujiajiao. 

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Guests can sip on their choice of tea from around the country, paired with local fruits, cakes, sweet soups, nuts and an assortment of nibbles, all while learning about the history of the buildings and alleyways they pass during the boat ride.

Boat Tour Pricing (from March 2, 2022):

  • Afternoon Tea Set for two people: RMB1,288/1 hour river cruise, RMB1,888/1 hour river cruise plus live music performance

Booking Details:

Book your stay at Jing Ting ahead of time by scanning the QR code below:

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Year of the Tiger Activities

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Despite visiting just last month, we are already planning another visit, especially after hearing about all of the festive Chinese New Year celebrations that took place. Every day saw an offering of Chinese New Year breakfast sets at the teahouse. 

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Image courtesy of Jing Ting

Each set included a traditional spread of warming congee, vegetable steamed baozi, sticky, meat-filled zongzi, luck long noodle soup, steamed sticky rice cakes filled with sweet black sesame paste and loads more bits and bobs for sharing and snacking. 

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Outside of daily breakfast offerings for ringing in the Year of the Tiger, there was also welcome card mailing, fake snow simulators and much more. 

About Jing Ting

Jing Ting is a restored historical building that's walkable distance from the thousand-year-old village’s attractions, like Fangsheng Bridge and Kezhi Garden, yet is secluded enough that guests can enjoy a getaway from busy city life.

The more than 800-square meter structure is designed in a courtyard pattern, with prevalent wood, brickwork and traditional carvings throughout. 

Read More: Shanghai Day Trip: Zhujiajiao Water Town, a Lavender Paradise

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This B&B offers guests three distinct courtyards – as is traditional for dwellings south of the Yangtze River – along with nine guestrooms completely unique in shape, size, layout and design.

Each room is also accompanied by its own private tea room and lounge.

Guest rooms are equipped with AESOP brand toiletries, Italian silk bedding and plush towels, and accented by Chinese calligraphy paintings and local handicrafts so that visitors can truly feel like they are at a home away from home.  

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Built at the end of the 19th Century, the Qing Dynasty original building was owned by the Zhou family, but later sold to the Yang family in the 1930s.

Over the years, the space has been used for both the wheat and furniture business. Finally, in 2004, this historic conservation building was declared an immovable cultural relic by Qingpu District authorities.

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The current proprietor, Mrs. Jiang, took over the house in 2018, and spent over two years completing the renovation process to preserve the natural structure, yet still enhance it with modern comforts, like floor heating and PAD intelligent light control.

The courtyards offer guests a four-season experience, with sakura trees blossoming in spring, lotus flowers blooming in summer, sweet osmanthus buds filling the air in autumn and a plum blossom tree sprouting in winter. 

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During a stay at Jing Ting, visitors can witness stunning sunrise views over the town from its very own tea house, located on the river.

Here, the local shushus meet daily from 3.30-8.30am to catch up on the latest town gossip and enjoy free local tea, a tradition that dates back to the tea house's original construction during the Yuan Dynasty – more than 700 years ago – that Mrs. Jiang has carried on. 

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The tea house offers one of the widest selections of tea in South China, with over 100 varieties hailing from around the country; guests can choose their personal preference based on the season.

Tea masters present guests with a tea pouring ceremony, along with breakfast in the morning and local snacks in the afternoon – like youdunzi, or fried radish cakes, and chou doufu, an elevated version of the China-famous street snack, stinky tofu. 

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Upstairs, the private dining area can be booked in advance for a full meal service, cooked in an elevated countryside style.

Using a mix of local and seasonal ingredients, the meal is different every time, tailoring the exceptional dining experience to each group of patrons.

From the private space, guests are rewarded with stunning views across the entire old town, lit up with lanterns in the evenings.   

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Following this one-of-a-kind dining experience, visitors can enjoy an evening stroll along the cobblestone streets, or take in the historical village’s sights via river boat back to Jing Ting. 

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Outside of observing the local customs, like the daily 5pm turn down service and curtain hanging ritual, guests at Jing Ting can also relish in all that Zhujiajiao has to offer.

From beautiful gardens to 100-year-old pickle shops to winding canals to historical temples, this year-round getaway offers something for everyone. 

To learn more about what to do during a trip to Zhujiajiao, click here

Jing Ting, 56 Xijing Stree, Zhujiajiao Ancient Town

Tel: 021 3988 9696 / 180 1742 1262


[Cover image courtesy of Jing Ting]

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