Essential Suzhou and Water Town from Shanghai

The world heritage site gardens and China water towns are two highlights that should not be missed in Suzhou. There are two options to discover the beauty of Suzhou according to your time.


A great chance to appreciate Suzhou’ double highlights-Suzhou private gardens and China water towns. Take a small boat in Suzhou and Tongli for a leisurely journey. This tour will help you deeply experience Suzhou’s unique features.

  • Visit exquisite Humble Administrator's Garden
  • A small boat cruise along historic Pingjiang Road
  • Get a sight into ancient life at Lingering Garden
  • Stroll and leisure boat cruise in Tongli Water Town

What's Included

  • Entrance to scenic spots listed in the itinerary
  • Lunches mentioned in itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation with breakfast
  • Private tour guide and driver service
  • Comfortable transfers between Shanghai and Suzhou

Price Per Person in US Dollars

All Year Around 5-star 4-star
2-5 People $389 $358
6-9 People $282 $251

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 Transfer to Suzhou, Appreciate Suzhou’ Representative Gardens
Lingering Garden

Your private guide will wait for you at your hotel. After starting your trip from the hotel in Shanghai you should arrive at Suzhou in 1.5h via a comfortable non-smoking car. Enjoy a hassle free transfer to Suzhou, and start your journey at Humble Administrator's Garden. Your guide will help you to appreciate more about the garden, especially its history. See picturesque pools, pavilions, and rocks. Take a small boat along the Grand Canal between Humble Administrator's Garden and Pingjiang Road for a sight of local life.

Later, visit Lingering Garden, another exquisite Suzhou garden with a nice atmosphere with a good mix of typical garden styles in the garden. Live traditional Chinese music is performed during the daytime. Enjoy a short performance of Suzhou’s unique ping tan (storytelling and ballad singing in Suzhou dialect) in Lingering Garden.  Lunch in Yangyang Dumpling Restaurant in Suzhou.

3-star hotel: Suzhou Garden Hotel/similar hotel
4-star hotel: Jasmine Holiday Inn/similar hotel
5-star hotel: Pan Pacific Suzhou/similar hotel

Good to know:

If you need to be picked up in the airport and start the tour, your itinerary is flexible. You will be driven to Tongli Water Town on the 1st day, and then visit two of Suzhou’ most famous sites the Humble Administrator's Garden and Lingering Garden. See Suzhou’s history in Suzhou Museum and walk along the Pingjiang Road. Transfer back to Shanghai on the 2nd Day.

Day 2 Tongli Water Town Leisure Tour

Tongli Water Town

After a western style breakfast in the hotel, you will visit Master of Nets Garden; a small but exquisite garden with fewer visitors. It is the smallest of the Suzhou residential gardens but the most impressive one due to the ingenious use of space.

Tongli water town is praised as the Venice of China. Take a small boat along the water to see the old canal town. A great place to see ancient architectures and old life. Lunch in Tongli Nanyuan Tea House in Tongli

Good to know:

Master of Nets Garden is the only garden still open in the evening. There is a wonderful evening cultural show held in the garden.

Trip Notes

1. Suzhou Tourist Map

Map of Suzhou

2. What’s the best time to visit Suzhou?

You can visit Suzhou at any time. Every season has different beautiful scenery. Beautiful flowers in spring and colorful leaves in autumn make them more popular. Avoid Chinese national holidays like May 1st, China National Day (Oct.1th-7th).

3. How to get there?

High speed train from Shanghai to Suzhou can be as short as 40 min. But we will arrange a non-smoking car to maximize your comfort and time. 

4. Extend to Suzhou’s Neighbors

To Wuxi(1 day)
Easily reached by car within a 1h journey from Suzhou. Suggested day trip: Yuantouzhu Park, Liyuan Garden at the bank of Taihu, Xihui Park for exquisite colorful clay figurines, and Plum Garden.

To Nanjing(1-2 days)
Nanjing is one of the capitals of ancient China. Go to Nanjing to see some Chinese historical sites: Sun Yatsen Mausoleum, Nanjing Confucian Temple, the Qinghai River, Xiaoling Tomb of Ming Dynasty and Zhonghua Gate.

To Hangzhou (1-2 days)  
Arrange 1 to 2 days to experience the unique Hangzhou: the romantic and heavenly West Lake, Lingyin Temple, the Former Residence of Xueyan, an in-depth Dragon Well Tea culture exploration.  

To Shanghai (1-2 days)
Add Shanghai before or after the Suzhou tour: Yuyuan Garden, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, the Bund and Zhujiajiao Water Town.