Silk Mill

Experience how world famous South China silk is made by visiting a real silk mill.

TravelCurious Tip

Its not just clothes that are made of silk: there are various beauty products too. Try them!

The silkworm feeds on mulberry leaves and produces the silk strands that people weave into garments. The worm undergoes complete metamorphosis in its lifetime: from egg, to larva, to pupa, and finally to moth. China was the first country in the world to recognise their value and raise silkworms to make silks. Tombs over 4,000 years old in China have been discovered that contain jade depictions of silkworms, so raising silkworms is an ancient tradition.

Legend has it that the process was first invented by the wife of the Yellow Emperor, Leizu, around 3000BC. The idea came to her when she was having tea in the imperial gardens and a cocoon fell into her cup. It unravelled and she saw it was actually made from a long thread that was both strong and soft. She then invented the silk loom to combine individual threads into a soft cloth, which could be fashioned into garments.

Much of the process remains the same today, and you can visit silk mills across China to experience it. A tour can show you how the larva hatch from eggs, are fed mulberry leaves for a month until they are plump and spin their cocoons. Then the cocoons are first steamed to kill the developing moth within, before being rinsed in hot water to loosen the threads. The threads are then woven into cloth before being pounded to make it softer.

The process was kept secret by the Chinese was thousands of years, until 550AD when it allegedly became known to other countries after two monks from the Byzantine Empire managed to smuggle silkworm eggs out of the country hidden in their bamboo walking sticks.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Shanghai
Sheng jian bao
Similar to the Xiao long bao, these dumplings are pan fried and dangerously delicious.
Deep fried Wonton
Delicious pork dumplings deep-fried and served with vinegar.
Fangsheng Bridge
Take part in the tradition of buying live fish then releasing them back into the open water for good luck.
Kezhi Garden
Commonly called the ‘Ma family Garden’, it is home to a beautiful courtyard and historical buildings.
Moon View Pavillion
A beautiful courtyard in the Kehzi Gardens.
Qiao Family Road
Named after the richest trading family in Shanghai, this road dates back to this amazing city's origin.

Related Tours

Private Tour of Zhujiajiao Ancient Water Town
Shanghai today is an intoxicating mix of the traditional and the modern, and no trip would be complete without an excursion to ancient water town Zhujiajiao.

  • Meet your private guide and journey to Zhujiajiao 
  • Discover a photogenic canal town rich in charm dubbed the 'Venice of the East'
  • Explore a settlement rich in ancient history, dating back to the Ming Dynasty
  • Stroll cobbled streets, hemmed by canals, strung with red rice-paper lanterns
  • Enjoy a local lunch, recommended by your guide (price not included)
  • See Chinese cartographers, tea shops, pavement artists and paper cutters
  • Enjoy a gondola ride through timeless scenery to a Chinese folk song serenade 
With its quaint stone bridges, mist-cloaked canals and wooden gondolaspicturesque Zhujiajiao feels a world away from modern China  Dubbed the Venice of the East, it oozes with sleepy charm where the water’s lap against the canal-side echoes the slow-paced rhythm of daily life. Fishermen wait patiently for the telltale tug on a line as housewives haul laundry from the shallows of the glassy inky-blue water. 

On this fascinating Private Tour of  Zhujiajiao Ancient Water Town, you will venture into the mighty Yangtze River delta region where bicycles outnumber motorized vehicles. Everything centres on the waterways in Zhujiajiao, evoking memories of old Shanghai. Wooden gondolas ferry rice sacks and crates of fish up and down the river, sending silvery ripples across the surface of the canal. Skinny cobbled streets form a chaotic riddle through Zhujajiao criss-crossed by alleyways bedecked with red lanterns. 

Meander into the heart of Zhujiajiao where fortune-tellers, paper cutters and tea shops are backdropped by fine 13th-century Chinese buildings. As you stroll across bridges and along the canal side, see locals playing cards at rickety tables or taking tea. Of course no visit to Zhujiajiao is complete without the timeless pleasure of a gondola ride and on your private, guided tour you will pass moored sampans where artists brush-stroke vivid colours onto silk-strung easels, to create glorious pictures of birds and blooms. 


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