15 Cities Known as the ‘Venice of the East’

It’s not every day that you chance on a dreamy city like Venice; but when you do, it’s easy to fall in love. This Floating City has been held as a standard for quite a lot of towns around the world — many of which proudly claim the nickname, “The Venice of the East.”

So what is it about these cities that allow us to compare them to Venice? Do they sport charming boats and gondolas such as the City of Canals? Do they have equally impressive architecture? Oh, and do they lack cars, too? To answer our questions, these following cities tell us all.

15 cities that are known as The Venice of the East

1. Alleppey, India

Alleppey, India

Blessed with an abundance of waterways, India boasts of multiple cities that are hailed as the Venice of the East. One of the most famous cities with this moniker is Alleppey, popularly known as the Venice of Kerala, because of its picturesque backwaters and houseboat cruise experience.

Some must-see attractions in Kerala: Eravikulam National Park, Athirappilly Water Falls, Varkala Beach, Chembra, Cherai Beach, Edakkal Caves

2. Udaipur, India

Udaipur, India

Another Venice of the East in India is Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes. Evidently, its scenic waters are responsible for such its title. Breathtaking lake palaces line this city in Rajasthan. And in addition to its royal residences, artificial lakes also lead to the grandeur of Udaipur. 

Some must-see attractions in Udaipur: City Palace, Lake Pichola, Jagmandir, Jagdish Temple, Fateh Sagar Lake, Saheliyon-ki-Bari

3. Ine, Japan

Ine, Japan

An underrated Japanese city, Ine also holds the nickname “the Venice of Japan.” Tranquil waterways sprawl across this sleepy fishing town; wooden boat houses line its water’s edge. Unlike most of its counterparts around the world, Ine barely has any visitors.

Some must-see attractions in Ine: Funaya, Ine Sightseeing Cruises, Funayano-sato Park, Urashima Shrine, Sanin Kaigan Jio Park

4. Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok may now be a lot more urbanized than it once was, but some parts still evidently show traces of its Venician look. Its rivers and canals that have now become popular for sightseeing and shopping. Floating markets abound this Venice of the Orient; many travelers still flock to these spots taste exotic food and gather memorable experiences.

Some must-see attractions in Bangkok: The Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Arun, Khaosan Road, Chatuchak Weekend Market, Lumphini Park

5. Malacca, Malaysia

Malacca, Malaysia

Known as a center for trade, Malacca (or Melaka) was once hailed as the Venice of the East — especially by those from Europe and Asia. Seafarers used to linger around Malacca River, treading through cities through scenic canals. Today, Melaka remains a rich cultural spot in Malaysia as well as a tourist spot for food, nightlife, and shopping experiences.

Some must-see attractions in Melaka: A Famosa, St. Paul’s Church, Stadthuys, Jonker Street Night Market, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum, Christ Church Melaka, Kampung Kling Mosque

6. Suzhou, China

Suzhou, China

In 1276, Marco Polo visited Suzhou and pronounced it as the Venice of the East. Until today, its stunning canals and stone bridges reel in tourists to enjoy its beauty. Aside from its waterways, Suzhou also prides itself on its numerous classical gardens, so much so that UNESCO recognized its gardens as a World Heritage Site.

Some must-see attractions in Suzhou: Humble Administrator’s Garden, Classical Gardens of Suzhou, Lingering Garden, Suzhou Museum, Lion Grove Garden, Master of the Nets Garden

7. Srinagar, India

Srinagar, India

Srinagar, sprawling with lakes and wetlands, is known as another Venice in India. Deservingly so, it’s also called the Paradise of Earth — panoramic landscapes surround the lake towns, its reflections creating an even more astonishing site.

Some must-see attractions in Srinagar: Dal Lake, Shalimar Bagh Mughai Garden, Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, Pari Mahal, Shankaracharya Temple, Bonafide Multi Brand

8. Barisal, Bangladesh

Barisal, Bangladesh

The Venice of Bengal owns such a title because of its many rivers. In Barisal, one can hear a natural phenomenon called “Barisal guns” or “fog guns” — loud booms that are produced by seismic activity underwater.

Some must-see attractions in Barisal: Epiphany Cathedral, Bangabandhu Udyan, Barisal River, Lakhutia Zamindar Bari, Durga Sagar, Baitul Aman Mosque, Swarupkathi Floating Market, Bibir Pukur, Kuakata

9. Basra, Iraq

Basra, Iraq

Like Venice, Basra was also a center for culture and trade. With so many waterways, its canals have become crisscrossed with one another. Unfortunately, Barsa is now facing a water problem — the tourist spot is yet to regain its former glory.

Some must-see attractions in Basra: Sinbad Island, Basra Family Park, Al Maqal Port

10. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Also known as the City of Mosques, Dhaka oozes of rich cultural history. But its comparisons to Venice comes from the famous canals and lush landscapes across the city. Natural wonders indeed envelop Dhaka, and its grand structures serve as a bonus for travelers to the city.

Some must-see attractions in Dhaka: Ahsan Manzil Museum, Lalbagh Fort, National Parliament House, Star Mosque, Bangladesh National Zoo

11. Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An is a sleepy town, sometimes known as the Venice in Vietnam. However, its copious culture creates a great distinction of it being the Asian counterpart of the European city.

Hoi An, while interspersed with canals and alleys like Venice, has vibrant streets and a spirited locality to it, making it unforgettable to most travelers.

Some must-see attractions in Hoi An: Japanese Covered Bridge, An Bang Beach, Old House of Tan Ky, The Old House of Phung Hung, Hoi An Ancient Town, Hoi An Night Market

12. Lijiang, China

Lijiang, China

Lavish from sea to summit, Lijiang has tranquil rivers as well as majestic snow-capped mountains. Traditional houses also dot this Little Venice of China, making it a beautiful destination for travelers curious about the Eastern counterpart of the Floating City.

Some must-see attractions in Lijiang: Tiger Leaping Gorge, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Old Town of Lijiang, Blue Moon Valley, Shuhe Ancient Town, Black Dragon Pool

13. Osaka, Japan

Osaka, Japan

At the heart of Osaka lie hush waterways that flow from the Osaka bay that surrounds the very city. “Venice of the East” has long stood as one of the Japanese city’s nicknames — before World War II, Osaka played a major part in developing Japan through its waterways. Today, Osaka sports a modern look as compared to Venice. But, it never fails to awe travelers regardless.

Some must-see attractions in Osaka: Osaka Castle, Dotonbori, Universal Studios Japan, Tsutenkaku, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Umeda Sky Building

14. Wuzhen, China

Wuzhen, China

The Wuzhen water town is often regarded as being the Venice of China because of its many canals, stilted homes, and charming old bridges. As it is a tiny town, Wuzhen is often a side trip of tourists traveling to Shanghai. 

Some must-see attractions in Wuzhen: Ancient Bed Museum, Folk Customs Museum, Wine Distillery Workshop, Indigo Fabric Workshop, Shadow Play Theater, Huagu Opera, Wuzhen Grand Theater, Water Market

15. Sitangkai, Philippines

Sitangkai, Philippines
Image credit: Princelee 20

In the southernmost part of the Pearl of the Orient, a Venice of the Philippines rests. The town of Sitangkai in Tawi-Tawi dons a floating jetty where ferries and speedboats meet. And like Venice, this humble town is also bare of wheeled transportation. To get around, one can only either walk the narrow streets or ride wooden longboats across canals. 

Some must-see attractions in Sitangkai: Omapuy Island, Tumindao Island, Gusi Island, Sicolan Caloh Island, Andulinang Island, Panguan Island

Other cities known as the Venice of the East

  • Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
  • Fengjing, China
  • Luzhi, China
  • Nanxun, China
  • Tongli, China
  • Xitang, China
  • Zhouzhuang, China
  • Zhujiajiao, China
  • Nan Madol, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Srinagar, India
  • Banjarmasin, Indonesia
  • Palembang, Indonesia
  • Semarang, Indonesia
  • Hiroshima, Japan
  • Kurashiki, Japan
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Matsue, Japan
  • Otaru, Japan
  • Sakai, Japan
  • Tamayu, Shimane, Japan
  • Yanagawa, Japan
  • Manila, Philippines
  • Cheongna, South Korea
  • Chuncheon, South Korea
  • Jinhae, South Korea
  • Tongyeong, South Korea
  • Yeosu, South Korea

Which Venice of the East city will you be visiting first?

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