Prepare to be transported to a different world! Water towns and gardens are unique to China.
You will first visit a famous Chinese garden in Suzhou and have a rickshaw ride there.
In the afternoon, you will visit Tongli. In ancient times, this was a favorite place for poets, painters, Confucian scholars and government officials. Listen to the beautiful and sad stories about things that once happened in fluid Tongli.
There are still many well-preserved buildings from the Ming (1368–1644 AD) and Qing (1644–1912 AD) dynasties, and locals still live there. It is one of the less commercialized and less crowded water towns.
What You Can Expect
Our guide and transfer car
The night before your tour: Confirmation of the exact pickup time
Your guide will call you between 7 and 8 pm the night before your tour, to confirm the exact pickup time based on your preference. If you don’t answer the phone, your guide will leave a message at the front desk.
If you don’t receive a call by 8 pm or a message at your hotel desk, please call our Shanghai Office on 13910694045. We will aim to resolve any problem immediately.
- Your car is a 7-seater air-conditioned business car.
- Your guide, fluent in English, knows the culture of the water towns very well.
- Your driver is a professional with over 5 years of experience.
8:30-10:30 Shanghai hotel pickup and transfer to the Humble Administrator Garden in Suzhou
Your guide will wait for you at your hotel lobby at the appointed time. Your private party will then be transferred directly to Suzhou. You will spend about 2 hours on the road.
Your guide will introduce you to the highlights of the trip, to Shanghai and to Suzhou. You can ask any questions, and your guide will endeavor to answer.
Good to Know
If you plan to leave Shanghai after the tour, you can check out from your hotel. We can transfer you to the airport or train station after the tour for an extra fee. When booking, please tell us your flight departure time, so we can arrange your transfer.
10:30-11:30 Visit Humble Administrator Garden (Zhuozheng Garden)
Created in 1509 during the Ming dynasty, this is the largest and most renowned classical landscape garden in Suzhou. Lots of pools, meandering rock paths, little hills, old trees and flowers make you feel you are away from the busy world.
The stories behind the buildings are interesting, so listen carefully to your knowledgeable guide.
11:40-12:10 Ride a Rickshaw to See Suzhou
After walking for an hour, you can have a rest in a rickshaw. Your rickshaw driver will take you from the garden to Pingjiang Cultural Street.
Narrow alleys, small streets, and small tributaries of the ancient canal decorate the ancient city. Many local people still live there. You will see that Suzhou is not only about gardens, but also about fashion.
12:10-13:20 Lunch in a Local Restaurant
After the rickshaw ride, it’s lunch time. You will be transferred to Yangyang Dumpling Restaurant or the Li Private Cuisine.
- Yangyang Dumpling Restaurant offers dumplings and local food.
- Li Private Cuisine is well-known for its local food, such as fish from Lake Tai, duck with local sauce and fried eggs.
13:20-14:00 Transfer from Suzhou to Tongli Water Town
After the Suzhou tour, your guide and driver will take you to Tongli Water Town.
14:00-16:00 Relax in Tongli Water Town and Tuisi Garden
Tongli is a beautiful, picturesque Chinese water town. It has stone bridges and well-preserved ancient architecture, including private gardens, temples and houses. It's not difficult to imagine how life must have been there 100 years ago.
Rain in Tuisi Garden
Tuisi Garden (Retreat & Reflection Garden)
A notable attraction is the beautiful Retreat & Reflection Garden, a private garden. It was built in 1885–1887 during the Qing dynasty and it has been recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take a gondola ride down the waterway and see quaint bridges
Water is a major form of transport in Tongli. You will take a gondola from Tuisi Garden to the Three Bridges.
There are 49 stone bridges, in a variety of styles, joining 7 islands created by 15 rivers and 5 lakes. Each bridge has a poetic name.
The most notable are Peace and Tranquility (Taiping) Bridge, Lucky (Jili) Bridge and Lasting Celebration (Changqing) Bridge. These are known as Three Bridges as they cross three rivers at their confluence and form a natural ring road.
The Three Bridges are lucky symbols in the eyes of the local residents, who believe that walking over them on weddings or birthdays generates good luck..
You may see an interesting show involving cormorants, which will have a rope around one of their legs attached to the boat. For a fee, a fisherman will drop the birds into the water, where they will dive to catch fish.
Good to Know
- It’s uncommon to find western-style toilets in the water towns, but our guides know where they are.
- You may come across some tour groups in Tongli. But it is less crowded than other water towns.
- There are almost no signs in English in Tongli and local people know very little English.
16:30-18:00 Transfer from Tongli Water Town to Shanghai
After the tour, you will be transferred back to Shanghai. We’d be more than happy to help you if you need to be transferred to the airport, cruise terminal or train station.
Please note that you should arrive at the airport 1.5 hours ahead of departure time for domestic flights, and 2.5 hours for international flights.