A customer buys sesame seed cakes via smartphone in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province. [Photo/China Daily]
Latest tech makes ancient town a place to experience modern lifestyles
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 which Wuzhen is affiliated.
Outside the Tongxiang high-speed 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 about how far 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 high-tech 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.