Suzhou and Tongli Tour

ShanghaiWater TownsSuzhouShanghai
Pingjiang StreetPingjiang Street in Suzhou Price: Duration: Dates: Tour code: Overview: Ask for a quotation 1 day As you request TCG-106 This tour begins and ends at your hotel in Shanghai. Tongli is one of the most authentic and picturesque water towns outside Shanghai, a little over one hour’s drive away. After walking through the narrow lanes and having a canal cruise you continue on to Suzhou. In Suzhou you will visit the Humble Administrator's Garden as well as the Silk Museum, to learn all about silk production. Finally a walk on Pingjiang street gives you a look at how Suzhou has developed into a modern city while retaining its culture.

What makes this tour special:

Suzhou and Tongli have both been called the “Venice of the East.” The tranquil environment of canals and waterways is unique part of the culture of the Yangtze River Delta.
day 1
  • Drive to Water Towns
  • Tong Li Water Town Read more about Tong Li Water Town  narrow lanes and canals, one of the hidden gems around Shanghai
  • TongLi Canal Cruise Read more about TongLi Canal Cruise a relaxing canal cruise through Tongli's narrow waterways
  • Lunch Read more about lunch on a tour Chinese style meal, can eat beside a canal weather allowing
  • Drive to Suzhou
  • Humble Administrator's Garden Read more about Humble Administrator's Garden The largest classical garden in Suzhou and generally thought to be the most beautiful in Southeastern China. Great place for kids and first thing in the day
  • Pingjiang Street Read more about Pingjiang Street One of the original main streets of Suzhou running along a narrow canal and lined with shops, restaurants and teahouses. Go punting, sip tea, shop or wander
  • Drive to Shanghai
  • Meals: lunch
Tong Li Water Town
Tong Li Water Town
TongLi Canal Cruise
TongLi Canal Cruise
Humble Administrator's Garden
Humble Administrator's Garden
Pingjiang Street
Pingjiang Street
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  • Tour price
  • Our advantages
  • Included
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  • Let us modify the tour's itinerary for free and with no-obligation to suit your needs. We can change the activities, add or change hotel rooms, flights or trains as you wish.

Tour price
Guests Cost per guest
Ask for a free quotation
Tour code: TCG-106
  • » Your tour day starts and ends at a hotel in the city, which may or may not be included. If a hotel is included it is listed by name on the itinerary for each night.

  • » Discounts for children in China are based on height. Let us know your child's age and height and we can calculate accordingly.

  • Why book a tour with The China Guide?
  • » Flexible schedules and itineraries. Our tour itineraries are just suggestions. Our agents will help you design the perfect trip.
  • » Handpicked guides. Our experienced guides do more than just recite the guidebook.
  • » Meals in quality local restaurants. The best way to experience the local culture is often through the food.
  • » Passion for China, Western-style travel sense. Our multilingual team of native speakers is available 24/7.
  • » Experience working with families. Pick a dedicated family tour or customize an itinerary with family-friendly activities.

  • Read more about why choose The China Guide as your travel agency and meet our travel agents.
  • Included in the tour price
  • » Private English speaking guide (selected/trained by our western staff), experienced Chinese speaking driver and quality, air-conditioned vehicle
  • » Admission tickets to all sights listed on the itinerary - no hidden costs
  • » Free bottled water supplied in your vehicle
  • » Meals as specified in quality local restaurants with unlimited standard drinks (Coke, Sprite, bottled water, Chinese tea)


  • Not included in the tour price
  • » Tips to your guide and driver
  • » We do not provide international travel insurance, however, we are happy to offer advice on where and what kind of travel insurance to purchase. We highly recommend our trusted partner Compass Benefits; read more about their plans here: http://www.compassbenefits.com/client/thechinaguide


  • For tour booking terms & conditions, please review our company policies.

Tong Li Water Town   同里

Tongli Water Town is one of the hidden gems around Shanghai. Some might say it is more interesting than it's wealthier cousin Suzhou. It is small, pedestrianized and has village charm. While it receives a lot of tourists, it still has people living in it and the atmosphere has not been compromised.

You can enjoy a home cooked lunch along the canals or stop for a coffee or tea. Lots of narrow lanes and canals lend to its charm. A canal cruise is optional. Walking the canal banks can be just as rewarding since its nice to check out the shops and take photographs.

While there is a small hotel in Tongli with traditional style architecture, most visitors just pass through on their way between Shanghai and Suzhou. It is a convenient stop along the way.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
3
Opening hours:
7:30am - 5:15pm

TongLi Canal Cruise   同里游船

Enjoy a relaxing canal cruise through the narrow waterways of Tongli. You may even see Cormorants catching fish. Rowed by an oarsman, you experience a traditional and ancient boat ride through an amazingly well preserved village.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:30am - 5:15pm

Humble Administrator's Garden   拙政园

This, the largest garden in Suzhou at nearly 52,000sqm, is one of the most flowing and beautiful classical Chinese gardens in all Eastern China. A garden was first built on this site in the 1100's. Since then it has been modified, destroyed, rebuilt and changed ownership many times. The Chinese government brought all the parts back together again in 1949 and opened it to the public. It has enjoyed UNESCO World Heritage status since 1997.

The grounds and flowing waterways are lovely any time of the year, but mid April thru May is when the flowering trees are most in bloom. It is a great place for children, but peace and serenity only abide before the crowds and megaphones join the flow from 10AM. Keep in mind that the beautiful carved stone steps and paths are not pushchair or wheelchair friendly and allow yourself a good 2 hours to meander through all the elements.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
2
Opening hours:
7:30am - 6:00pm with last admission at 5:00pm

Pingjiang Street   平江街

Pingjiang Street is found on Suzhou maps as far back as the Song Dynasty (960-1279). This narrow flagstone street and the lanes extending from it are lined with old-style architecture, housing shops, teahouses, hotels and homes depicting life before motor vehicles. You can shop here for quality handicrafts, clothes and other items, or sit sipping tea enjoying a Pingtan performance of ballads and storytelling. While-away an hour punting along the narrow canal that runs parallel, gliding beneath arched stone bridges and past white washed homes featured in many a Chinese painting. Or simply wander through the quarter watching local life go on. There are restaurants serving delicious Suzhou dishes and pastries and the lights lit at night along the canal increase its romantic atmosphere. It is a wonderful mix of the antiquated and the modern, worth a couple of hours plus a canal cruise.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1

Shanghai 上海

Shanghai, China’s largest city, visually and culturally represents the relationship between China and the West. Although that history may be tainted with war and oppression, the results of this arrangement can be seen in the architecture and local culture of this city. An example of this is the qipao (cheongsam), the tight-fitting Chinese dress we are all familiar with. Its modern form was born in Shanghai, influenced by Western styles, and it exhibited a new fashionable style of clothing for local Chinese. Many Chinese today still view Shanghaies as displaying more cultural openness and as having experienced globalization on a greater scale.

Architecturally, The Bund is a visually impressive example of the aforementioned West’s interaction with China. On one side of the Huangpu River are old and beautiful colonial buildings, including great consulates and exquisite hotels. At night, gazing across the river to the...   Read more

Water Towns 水乡

There are a number of traditional water towns around Suzhou and Shanghai, each with their own traditional characteristics. Popular towns include Tongli, Zhouzhuang, and Zhujiajiao. Stroll down historic cobbled streets, take a boat ride, browse little shops, and see historic sights. Enjoy lunch or a drink in small local restaurants along the canals.

Most of the water towns can be seen as a day trip from Shanghai, or as a stop between Shanghai and Suzhou.

Suzhou 苏州

Today, Suzhou is one of the largest and most prosperous industrial cities in China. It is also one of China’s most popular tourist destinations full of UNESCO World Heritage listed traditional Chinese gardens, romantic canals with arched stone bridges, pagodas and temples dotted amongst the modern city elements. It makes a great one or two day tour outside of Shanghai, being just one and a half hours by car or 25 minutes on the high speed train.

Suzhou is best known for its meticulously manicured gardens such as the Humble Administrator's Garden, Lingering Garden, and Garden of the Master-of-the-Nets. Prepare to be whisked away from the noise and chaos of the city to the peaceful symbolic life of the traditional Chinese garden. A drift along the old canal-ways past Shantang Old Street to Tiger Hill, under arched stone bridges and white-washed homes busy with local life, lends a romantic air to a step back in time. A...   Read more

Breakfast

Most hotels come with breakfast, or if not it can be added at a cost. Four and five star hotels will generally offer a good western and Chinese buffet breakfast. Three star hotels may only have a Chinese breakfast, or a Chinese interpretation of a western breakfast. Anyway a Chinese breakfast is not bad - rice porridge, eggs, Chinese style breads and vegetables.

Drinking Water

Most of our tours offer unlimited bottled water in the vehicle so you can keep hydrated and healthy all day long. Grab a couple bottles to take to your room for the night. Tap water in big cities in China is not going to make you sick, it is chlorinated. Fine for brushing your teeth but best to stick to bottled water as you don't want to upset your system on your big trip.

Children and Special Diets

Our guides are accustomed to handling special diets or the selective eating of children. Let us know in advance if you have food allergies or other special requests and we can plan for you. Children often find they like certain Chinese dishes, such as noodles, fried rice or sweet and sour pork. If a stop at McDonalds or KFC is required your guide can do this on the go.

Lunch on Tour

We consider experiencing good Chinese cuisine to be an important part of the tour experience. When on a tour, lunch is generally Chinese style and normally included in the price. Our guides will help you order according to your taste. Mild, spicy, meat, vegetables, rice and/or noodles. Dishes are served family style and shared by the guests. The driver may eat on his own but the guide will join you if you like.

Food in Beijing is quite good quality and we take our guests to genuine local restaurants, not tourist traps. We consider it distasteful to ask you for small amounts of money during the tour, so we offer unlimited standard drinks including Coke, Sprite, local bottled water and Chinese tea. You also won't leave the table hungry, if you need more to eat just let your guide know.

We don't have fixed restaurants we must use, it depends on where you are at the time you are hungry. When traveling around China we normally have the same arrangements outside Beijing but this may vary depending on your exact itinerary.

Drinking Water

Most of our tours offer unlimited bottled water in the vehicle so you can keep hydrated and healthy all day long. Grab a couple bottles to take to your room for the night. Tap water in big cities in China is not going to make you sick, it is chlorinated. Fine for brushing your teeth but best to stick to bottled water as you don't want to upset your system on your big trip.

Children and Special Diets

Our guides are accustomed to handling special diets or the selective eating of children. Let us know in advance if you have food allergies or other special requests and we can plan for you. Children often find they like certain Chinese dishes, such as noodles, fried rice or sweet and sour pork. If a stop at McDonalds or KFC is required your guide can do this on the go.

Dinner on Tour

Unless there is a special activity planned or you prefer to have all your meals catered, guests often prefer to relax after a day tour and arrange their own dinner. This gives you flexibility in time and cuisine. Having all your meals catered every day can be tiresome. Handling your own dinner allows you to have some control and also strike out on you own. Your guide can give you restaurant suggestions and in big cities you can find lots of options for fine dining, fast food, both western or Chinese. Hotel staff can often make restaurant recommendations within walking distance.

If you get the taste for a burger or pizza after a lot of Chinese food, this is easily found in Beijing, Shanghai and many other cities around China. Many hotel restaurants offer nice food. China also has its share of McDonald's, KFC and Subway sandwich chains if you need a fix.

Drinking Water

Most of our tours offer unlimited bottled water in the vehicle so you can keep hydrated and healthy all day long. Grab a couple bottles to take to your room for the night. Tap water in big cities in China is not going to make you sick, it is chlorinated. Fine for brushing your teeth but best to stick to bottled water as you don't want to upset your system on your big trip.

Children and Special Diets

Our guides are accustomed to handling special diets or the selective eating of children. Let us know in advance if you have food allergies or other special requests and we can plan for you. Children often find they like certain Chinese dishes, such as noodles, fried rice or sweet and sour pork. If a stop at McDonalds or KFC is required your guide can do this on the go.

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