Water town

5-Day Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou Bullet Train Tour

This tour is designed to take advantage of the 144-hour visa-free transit policy.
From: $901
Photography Relaxing Culture

This tour offers a chance to see the 3 most important cities of the Yangtze Delta: Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou. Connecting by bullet train, enjoy ancient and modern Shanghai, cruise on the romantic and heavenly West Lake, and stroll through ancient Chinese culture in Suzhou gardens and Tongli Watertown.


  • Experience the luxury and elegance of the Bund by having an in-depth Bund Culture Discovery tour
  • Take a bird’s-eye view of the city on the 360° glass viewing platform of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower
  • Enjoy a relaxing cruise on West Lake and visit the beautiful island
  • Visit Lingyin Temple, the oldest temple in Hangzhou, constructed about 1,600 years ago
  • Explore Humble Administrator’s Garden, one of the “Four Famous Chinese Classical Gardens”
  • Visit Tongli Watertown, the Venice of the East; smaller than Venice, yet exquisite and with some unique attractions

What's Included

  • Entrance to attractions and villages in the itinerary
  • Private transfers between airports, attractions, villages, and hotels
  • Private tour guide and driver service throughout the tour
  • Meals in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation with breakfast

Price Per Person in US Dollars

Apr.1 - Oct.31 4-star 5-star
2-5 Persons $953 $1,188
6-9 Persons $661 $896
Nov.1 - Mar. 31 4-star 5-star
2-5 Persons $901 $1,060
6-9 Persons $613 $772

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 Shanghai Arrival

Recommended Hotel: The Bund Hotel Shanghai (4-star)/Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World (5-star)

Your private guide will be waiting for you at the airport. A trouble-free transfer in a comfortable non-smoking car awaits you. Your guide will help with your hotel check-in. Have a good rest to prepare for your trip the next day.

Evening Ideas:

  • If you are still full of energy at night, you can stroll along Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s most popular pedestrian street. Or walk along the Bund to get a feeling for Shanghai’s magnificent modern nightlife.


Day 2Discover Shanghai

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Recommended Hotel: The Bund Hotel Shanghai (4-star)/Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World (5-star)

You will have Western breakfast at your hotel. Your private driver and guide will be waiting in the lobby after breakfast, prepared with drinks and map, ready to maximize your time.

Your sightseeing begins with a visit to Shanghai Museum, one of the best museums in China. It is home to more than 120,000 precious historical relics, many of which you will see, including the most precious two: a cooking vessel with a dragon pattern from the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046BC) and a special cursive-style work of calligraphy (based on the Red Cliff Ode, 赤壁赋).

Yu Garden is an oasis of peace and calm in the midst of the busy streets of Shanghai. It is the perfect place for some quiet time after a busy morning of sightseeing in the city. Built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), it used to be a private garden. You can see there the layout and style of a traditional Chinese garden, and appreciate classical Chinese architecture: pavilions, winding cloisters, decorated walls, dwellings, and the most distinctive building there – a ship-like living room by a pond.

You’ll have lunch at Home’s Restaurant, which specializes in Shanghai cuisine using the best local ingredients! Smoked fish and red jujube with sticky rice are well known Shanghai fare. The restaurant enjoys a great reputation with diners from many parts of China and abroad.

If you are a thrill-seeker, don’t miss the 360° glass viewing platform on the Oriental Pearl TV Tower! This is Shanghai’s major landmark, standing across the Huangpu River from the Bund. You will browse Shanghai’s history in the Shanghai History Museum, located on the ground floor.

End the day enjoying the sunset, with a relaxing walk along the Bund. This 1.5-kilometer-long embankment runs along the western bank of Huangpu River. On its west side is an "architectural gallery" with 52 well-preserved old European-style buildings. Once the major trading and commercial center of old Shanghai, the Bund has now taken on new vitality, with futuristic developments, chic restaurants, up-market shops and bars all offering plenty to see and do – and by night it's magic!


Day 3 Beauty of Hangzhou

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Recommended Hotel: Merchant Macro Hotel Hangzhou (4-star)/Sofitel Westlake Hangzhou (5-star)

After Western breakfast at your hotel, your private guide and driver will escort you to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station with pre-booked train tickets, and then you can experience the speed of one of China’s fastest trains – a bullet train to Hangzhou. The journey takes about 50 minutes and your tour guide in Hangzhou will be ready to meet you at the train station exit.

Although located in the centre of the city, Lingyin Temple is like an unsullied land far away from the busy world. It is the oldest temple in Hangzhou and is believed to be the most effective one. Devout pilgrims come to visit from all over China; you too can burn 3 incenses to the Buddha and make a wish.

Move on to Hangzhou’s iconic West Lake. Take a cruise to the island on the lake and enjoy the comfortable breeze from the water; a good way to relax.
Have lunch at the Zhangshengji Restaurant, a popular old Hangzhou restaurant with the philosophy that food doesn't have to be fancy or to use exotic ingredients to be delicious. Duck casserole and West Lake vinegar fish are the first dishes that come to mind for most people when Zhangshengji is mentioned.

Tea culture is an important part of Hangzhou and in the afternoon you will visit the Meijiawu Tea Plantation. This tea village is located behind West Lake Park and it’s probably the most important base for tea production in the area. This is a beautiful natural environment. Just relax and enjoy the special tea culture, sipping the fragrant tea while appreciating the beautiful village scenery.

Good to know:

  • An alternative for people who have no interest in temples: Bike around West Lake and experience local life in the morning. The cycle route around West Lake is a relaxing route with picturesque scenery.


Day 4 Suzhou Highlights

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn Jasmine Suzhou (4-star)/Pan Pacific Suzhou (5-star)

Take the bullet train from Hangzhou to Suzhou; the journey takes about 1½ hours. Suzhou is famous for its Chinese classical gardens, and today you will visit 2 of the most representative ones.

Humble Administrator's Garden is the best example of a Chinese classical garden, with a history of more than 500 years. Outstanding for its smart use of ponds, this elegant 5.6 hectare (13.8-acre) garden shows you how traditional Chinese architects and landscapers used pavilions, winding corridors, ponds, rockeries, and trees to create a relaxing harmony.

Tiger Hill, also known as Surging Sea Hill, is a large hillock, standing 36 meters high and covering an area of some 14,100 square meters. Going up the hill, you will find a number of historical sites, including some from 2,500 years ago, as old as Suzhou city itself. Built in the 10th century, the leaning Cloud Rock Pagoda stands atop Tiger Hill. The pagoda began tilting over 400 years ago and today the highest point is more than 2m from its original position.

Have lunch in a local restaurant and take a rickshaw ride to discover the old city area of Suzhou, where the streets, lanes, canals, and dwellings are maintained much as they were decades ago. You will also visit the bird and flower market, and the food market, to get a glimpse and taste of local people’s life.

Good to know:

  • The Master-of-Nets Garden is open to the public in the evening. It’s good not only for people to see the garden itself, but also to be able to appreciate a traditional Chinese musical performance there, played by people in ancient costume.


Day 5 Tongli Watertown, Shanghai Departure

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Tongli is a lovely ancient water town in Suzhou. It takes about 30 minutes to drive there from Suzhou and about 1.5-hours from Shanghai. The town is famous for its many stone bridges and its ancient architecture, beautiful private gardens and ancient houses. You will have a boat-ride and enjoy a relaxing time.

After lunch in Tongli Watertown, your driver and guide will escort you directly to Shanghai Pudong Airport. Your guide will assist you with your luggage and check-in to ensure you will have a stress-free departure. We trust that you have enjoyed your time in China and we look forward to serving you again. Have a pleasant flight home.


Trip Notes

Customizing the Tour — According to Your Needs

This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, extend or shorten it to suit your schedule. If you prefer other water towns, feel free to let us know!

144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy

A short stay (up to 6 days) in Shanghai and surrounding cities is more convenient now, for there is no need for a visa! Since Jan. 30th 2016, citizens from 51 countries can transfer in China via any of the following ports of entry – Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Railway Station, Nanjing Lukou International Airport, or Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport – without Chinese visas, by producing their own valid international travel documents and onward air/ship/train tickets to a third country (region), with confirmed date and seat within 144 hours of arrival; and can stay within the administrative precincts of Shanghai municipality, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province for up to 144 hours.

Guiding Service

Your personal tour guide will accompany you throughout the tour, providing guidance and local knowledge. He/she will be ready and willing to help you solve any problems that may arise while on the tour.

Payment Methods

We now offer three payment methods: PayPal, credit card authorization via fax, and wire transfer. PayPal is recommended for its safety and efficiency. If you do not have a PayPal account, you can pay directly with your credit card or debit card using USA dollars, Australian dollars, Euros, or British pounds.

Cancellation Policy

In the event of cancellation, we will refund any payment made to China Highlights (unless any cancellation fee is applicable) within 14 days of receipt of your written cancellation request. Visit here for more details.