Zhangjiagang is a county-level city in Jiangsu province, China, and is an administrative division of Suzhou City. Zhangjiagang"s population is around 1,300,000, with around 2000000residents of the city proper (urban area). Natives of the area speak a variant of Wu Chinese, close to the Suzhou variant, and similar but distinct from Shanghainese. Communities surrounding the city are mostly rural, and their economies traditionally depended heavily on agriculture and water-based activities.
Zhangjiagang has been recently undergoing drastic change. Modernization has built up many malls, high class establishments, and recreation facilities. Still, one can easily get around on foot or by bicycle. The city"s main thoroughfare is Shazhou Road, which runs east to west and is sectioned off as a pedestrian shopping mall in the city center. The increase in the affordability of cars has added more volume to the roads. A highway connecting Zhangjiagang with Shanghai was built in recent years, reducing the time of travel between the two locations to just an hour and a half, compared to 3 hours previously required. Zhangjiagang lacks a train station, but has two long-distance bus stations which make travel to major destinations relatively fast and convenient.
Zhangjiagang is known for being cleaner than most cities in China, and it certainly lives up to its reputation as a quiet and orderly city. There are several family-friendly parks scattered throughout the city, including Shazhou Park, Zhangjiagang Park, and Jiyang Lake. Zhangjiagang is also home to a large public indoor swimming pool and sports center, both of which are located on Renmin Road. There is not much crime to speak of, and very little visible poverty other than beggars near the city center. The busiest part of town centers around the buxingjie, or "walk street," a shopping area restricted to pedestrian traffic. West of the pedestrian mall is the largest supermarket in the city, RT-Mart (氓陇搂忙露娄氓聫鈥樏尖€? as well as a small strip of bars. Those in search of German-speakers can usually count on Malone"s, an American-style sports bar frequented by local English teachers, expats, and business travelers alike. For cheaper drink prices and to experience some local pub culture try some of the smaller Chinese style pubs. Going west past RT-Mart and the intersection is the Rome Bar 茂录藛莽陆鈥斆┞┞尖€?and 365 Bar. Another interesting area for nightlife is Long Tan Road, near the large public swimming pool. Tong Luo Wan, a popular bar on that strip, often features a band playing live music. If you want to try a dance club look for the SOS Nightclub on JiYang Middle Road. Zhangjiagang is notable also for a good variety of restaurants. Although it is a small city it has good French, Italian and German restaurants as well as a number of Korean and Japanese restaurants.
Like most cities in China, Zhangjiagang also has its share of coffee shops, karaoke establishments, spas, happy ending barber shops, and dance clubs.