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Water Town Discovery Starting From Shanghai

3 Days / 2 Nights

Overview

Be transported back in time with a trip to China’s water towns. Bike along narrow cobbled streets, criss-crossing canals and soaking in the atmosphere of Suzhou’s old town. Witness traditional artisans at work and wander along the shores of West Lake, an iconic UNESCO-heritage site.

Trip Highlights

Water Town Discovery Starting From Shanghai

Explore Suzhou’s canals

Bike through China’s most famous water city, exploring the maze of waterways and traditional houses that echo of the past.

Discover deep-rooted traditions

Watch a shadow puppet performance, tour an old distillery and witness ancient printing techniques for a taste of Chinese culture.

See UNESCO-heritage West Lake

Take an in-depth tour of West Lake, learning about its origins and enjoy its scenic islands, bridges and gardens.

Itinerary

1

Shanghai - Suzhou - Wuzhen

Shanghai – Suzhou (approx. 100 km): 1h30 Suzhou – Wuzhen(approx90km): 1h15

This three day tour exposes China’s stunning Wuzhen water town and Suzhou city. Begin the tour heading from Shanghai towards Suzhou, the most famous of the ‘Venices of China,’ particularly known for its world-renowned Suzhou Gardens.

Begin the Suzhou experience with a morning bike ride around the narrow streets of the old town, a good way to avoid the early tourist crowds that flood the gardens. Cycling along the cobbled streets, take note of the white sculpted wooden facades and black tile roofs of the local houses, along with the beautiful canals, which many locals still use to wash their clothes and clean their homes.

Continue on to discover the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Master of the Nets Garden. Understanding that Chinese gardens traditionally are a miniature reproduction of nature (rocks representing mountains, ponds represent lakes and running water imitating rivers) helps to enjoy the lush settings all the better. Chinese gardens generally take precedence over harmony rather than geometric patterns like many western gardens.

Continue onwards to the Wuzhen water town. Wuzhen offers a unique style that differs quite a bit from Suzhou. Though this small town has largely been restored, it still maintains its own charming identity. It is home to wooden houses, cobbled streets, and beautifully sculpted stone bridges that beautifully evoke feelings of ancient China. If time permits, enjoy a sunset stroll along the main canal, reflecting the red lantern-lit stilt houses alongside it.

Overnight in Wuzhen

2

Wuzhen - Anji - Hangzhou

Wuzhen - Anji (approx 130km): 1h45 Anji – Hangzhou (approx 80km): 1h15

Continue the Wuzhen water town visit with an assortment of daily visits. The entrance fee for the village provides access to a number of major sites, which differ vastly in attraction. Depending on personal interests, the day’s plans can be altered, with a professional guide happy to provide guidance along the way.  Below are some excellent day choices:

-  Guided tour of the Gongsheng Distillery

Optional: wine-tasting session. Not interested in trying the local wine? Don’t hang around too long as the fragrance itself is intoxicating!!

- Watch one of the brilliant daily performances at the flower drum opera. The Chinese shadow puppet theatre also offers daily shows which provide the possibility to marvel at an ancient Chinese art form.

For literature fans, pay a visit to the ancestral home of Mao Dun, a famous 20th century revolutionary writer. For those who’d prefer the visual arts of dyeing and printing, head to the blue printing atelier which explains the techniques used in the production of traditional Chinese clothing.

After the optional morning visits, move onwards to Anji. Stand awestruck at the largest bamboo forest in China: one of the greatest examples of ecotourism in the whole country. Not only has the bamboo forest become one of the important exports of Anji, but it has also helped to life the whole province of Zhejiang from poverty.

Stroll through the heart of this silent, emerald green forest where bamboo trees bend gracefully in the slightest breeze.

After the bamboo forest, pay a visit to the tea plantations of Hangzhou. Home to Longjing tea – one of the most prized and expensive teas in the world, these fields not only produce some of the world’s finest tea, but also are a visually stunning visit. During the stroll, there will an opportunity to meet a local tea producer who will be able to introduce different types of tea: green tea, black tea, Oolong tea, fragrant tea, white tea or even ancient ‘tea bricks’.

Continue onwards to Hangzhou, the ancient capital of the Southern Song dynasty (1127 – 1279) and the current provincial capital of Zhejiang province.

Overnight in Hangzhou

3

Hangzhou / Shanghai

Hangzhou city – train station (approx 6km): 10 min Shanghai Hongqiao train station – Shanghai city :( approx. 20km): 30 min

Kick off Day 3 with a visit to the 8th century ‘West Lake’, which was recently added to UNESCO’s world heritage sites. Harmonious gardens, shops, and pagodas adorn this former marshland, with attractions changing with each season: in winter, the snow rests upon the water and transforms the lake into a piece of art with frozen plants; in spring, the peach and plum trees are in full bloom bringing colour back to the park; in summer, innumerable water-lilies create a perfumed blanket on the lake’s surface. Locals believe the moon is bigger and more beautiful in autumn, best viewed from the ‘three pools mirroring the moon’ on Xiaoling Island.

A peaceful bike ride around the area will be the ideal way to soak in the natural beauty of West Lake. Curved bridges lead to small islands in the heart of the lake where, amongst other things, the charmingly romantic Quyuan gardens await.

From here the ride extends into the hills near the lake where tea-leaf fields cover the region like an enormous green carpet.

Continue a little further west to complete the religious stage of the route, stopping at one of the best known Buddhist temples in the entire country, the Lingyin Temple. Marvel at the famous 20 metre high camphor statue of Buddha, one of the biggest of its type in China, and the impressive wall of figurines that accompany it. Perhaps the most unique attraction of the area are the Buddhist sculptures found alongside and in the caves of Feilaifeng. A pleasantly green walk leads towards these key Buddhist statues, depicting, among others, the famous Chinese monk Xuanzang (who inspired the story Peregrination to the West.)

After leaving the beauty of Suzhou, the Wuzhen water town, and West Lake behind, there will be a provided transfer to the train station for a high-speed train back to Shanghai. A driver will be awaiting at the station for a transfer to the final destination.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in selected hotel
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
  • English speaking guide without shopping(for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and Domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance

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