Shanghai Weekend Trips: 14 Refreshing Getaways

Shanghai Weekend Trips: 14 Refreshing Getaways

By Coco YangUpdated Jul. 23, 2021

Shanghai is a multi-cultural, cosmopolitan melting pot, and there is a lot going on in the city. With all the hustle and bustle that is constantly taking place, both visitors and expats might want to take a break for some fresh air and a much-needed change of scenery. Our experts have compiled a list of the top 14 fun and convenient Shanghai weekend getaways.

Suzhou Tongli Water TownSuzhou Tongli Water Town

1. Suzhou: Venice of the East

Highlights: classical Chinese gardens

Getting there: about 25 minutes by high-speed train from Shanghai

Recommended visit: 1–2 days

Tour price: from CN¥1,280 (US$199) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Visit the classical Chinese gardens, such as Humble Administrators Garden, and Garden of the Master of Nets.

  2. Visit one of the four most famous water towns: Tongli Water Town.

Known as the "Venice of the East", Suzhou is a beautifully landscaped city located in the center of the Yangtze Delta region that features picturesque water towns, classic gardens and traditional operas. Leisurely activities include boat rides, shopping, and eating. Only 25 minutes away from Shanghai by bullet train, Suzhou makes for an ideal weekend getaway.

Recommended Suzhou Tours:

Suzhou Lingering GardenSuzhou Lingering Garden

2. Enjoy the Enchantment of Shanghai Disneyland

Getting there: about 50 minutes’ driving from Shanghai downtown. Contact us for a private transfer.

Recommended visit: 1–2 days

Tour price: from CN¥800 (US$119) per person based on 2 travelers  

Top things to do: try the different rides in the park

Shanghai Disneyland is definitely a fun weekend getaway for couples or families. The park features six themed lands including Treasure Cove, a land inhabited by pirates, and Tomorrowland where you can ride the TRON roller coaster on a light cycle. 

There are currently two themed hotels to stay at: Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel. There is also Disney Town just outside the park that is a blend of shopping and dining.

Recommended Shanghai Disneyland Tours:  4-Day Shanghai Family Disneyland Tour
Shanghai DisneylandShanghai Disneyland

3. Hangzhou: Heaven on Earth

Highlights: West Lake, Longjing Tea

Getting there: 2 hours high-speed train from Shanghai

Recommended visit: 1–2 days

Tour price: from CN¥1,280 (US$199) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Cycle or stroll by West Lake.

  2. Go to Longjing Tea village to taste a cup of the best tea in China, freshly picked.

  3. Explore the Southern Song Dynasty medieval streets of Qinghefang and Yujie.

  4. Praise the wisdom of the Sui Dynasty on the Grand Canal.

  5. Soak in Chinese Buddhism in the famous Lingyin Temple.

  6. Appreciate the spectacle of the Impression West Lake night show.

RecommendedHangzhou Tours:
Hangzhou West Lake Hangzhou West Lake

4. Huangshan: Home of the Yellow Mountains

Highlights: picturesque natural mountain views, ancient villages

Getting there: Huangshan is about 3 hours by high-speed train from Shanghai. The Yellow Mountains are about 65 km (40 miles) from Tunxi, downtown Huangshan.  Contact us for a private transfer from Tunxi.

Recommended visit: 3 days

Tour price for a 3-day trip: from CN¥3,700 (US$579) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Climb up among the famous Yellow Mountain cloud seas. The West Sea Canyon area is one of China's iconic travel attractions. See how to climb this iconic mountain cluster and avoid the crowds.

  2. Visit Hong Village and Xidi Village to see the photogenic Hui architecture.

  3. Relax in a hot spring, especially if you come in winter.


Recommended Huangshan Tours:

                            3-Day Ancient Villages and Yellow Mountains Tour

                            3-Day Huangshan Tour

                            4-Day Trekking in the Yellow Mountains

Yellow Mountain Yellow Mountain

5. Nanjing: Capital of Six Dynasties

Highlights: Chinese history, food tasting

Getting there: 2 hours’ high-speed train travel from Shanghai

Recommended visit: 1–2 days

Tour price for a 2-day trip: from CN¥2,500 (US$388) per person based on 2 travelers  

Top things to do:

Contact us for a Nanjing tour tailor-made for you.

Nanjing Ming Xiaoling MausoleumNanjing Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

6. Wuzhen: The Last Riverine Town in China

Highlights: stunning water town views

Getting there: about 2 hours’ driving from Shanghai. Contact us for a comfortable private transfer.

Recommended visit: 1–2 days

Tour price: from CN¥1,200 (US$186) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Take a boat cruise in the East Area of Wuzhen.

  2. Have a night stay in the West Area of Wuzhen.

As one of the four most famous water towns in China, Wuzhen offers its own spin on a Chinese water town and the Wuzhen restoration and in-theme expansion is a gorgeous example of the preservation of an ancient town for tourism.

Wuzhen Water Town is divided into its East Area and West Area. In the East Area you will find folk performances such as shadow plays, Huagu Opera, martial arts performances on boats and bamboo pole climbing. As exciting as the East Area sounds, the West Area offers an even better experience with its undeniably charming architectural features including colonnades, small bridges, balconies, and piers.  A night stay in the West Area is highly recommended to feel the charm of Wuzhen. 

Contact us to arrange a Wuzhen tour including the round-trip transfer between Shanghai and Wuzhen.

Besides Wuzhen, there are many other famous water towns around Shanghai, and most of them are within 2 hours’ driving from Shanghai. They are all good for weekend getaways. More water towns near Shanghai>>>

Wuzhen Water Town Wuzhen Water Town

7. Anji: the Famous Bamboo Town

Highlights: the bamboo forest, various outdoor activities

Getting there: About 4 hours’ driving from Shanghai. Contact us  for a comfortable private transfer.

Recommended visit: 1-2 days

Tour price for a 2-day trip: from CN¥2,999 (US$460) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Visit the impressive bamboo forest.

  2. Try a thrilling raft ride and challenge yourself in Skyland.

  3. Enjoy leisurely rafting.

  4. Relax in a hot spring.

  5. Taste a cup of Anji White Tea.

This offbeat, serene, and green location is truly a perfect getaway from the contrasting hustle and bustle of Shanghai's metropolitan city. Anji is a tranquil, lesser-known weekend getaway that is famed for being the place where parts of the movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon were filmed.

Recommended Anji Tours:
Anji Skyland

8. Jingdezhen: Porcelain Capital of China

Highlights: porcelain, ceramic art, china manufacturing history

Getting there: 4½ hours’ bullet train travel from Shanghai

Recommended visit: 3 days

Tour price for a 3-day trip: from CN¥3,980 (US$599) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Explore the world's oldest porcelain production line in Ancient Kiln Folklore Exhibition Area.

  2. Try china-making yourself and make a ceramic work that is uniquely yours.

  3. Encounter a potter in a pristine mountain village (Sanbao International Ceramic Art Village).

  4. Visit the hometown of porcelain — Yaoli Ancient Town.

Recommended Jingdezhen Tours:

        3-day Jingdezhen Porcelain Tour

Or contact us directly for more about Jingdezhen tours.

Jingdezhen Yaoli Ancient TownJingdezhen Yaoli Ancient Town

9. Yangzhou: First City of Canals in China

Highlights: classical Chinese Gardens, slender West Lake, special morning tea

Getting there: around 3½ hours’ drive from Shanghai to Yangzhou. Contact us for a private transfer

Recommended visit: 2 days

Tour price for a 2-day trip: from CN¥999 (US$149) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Visit the classical Chinese gardens, such as Ge Garden and He Garden.

  2. Take a walk by Slender West Lake and Daming Temple.

  3. Try Yangzhou morning tea.

Yangzhou is an ancient city with more than 2,500 years of history. Compared with Suzhou and Hangzhou, it is a less-touristy destination. You should not miss the Yangzhou morning tea, which is a kind of folk diet custom following the style of Huaiyang cuisine. You can see many different tea houses in Yangzhou, and the time-honored Fuchun Tea House and Yechun are most famous.

Contact us for a tailor-made Yangzhou trip including a private transfer from Shanghai.

Yangzhou Slender West LakeYangzhou Slender West Lake

10. Moganshan: a World of Coolness

Highlights: leisurely summer resort

Getting there: about a 1½-hour road trip from Hangzhou and a 3-hour trip from Shanghai. 

Recommended visit: 1–2 days

Tour price: from CN¥999 (US$149) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Relax in the cool tranquility of a mountain villa hotel.

  2. Hike in the mountains.

  3. Explore the scattered villas.

If you're craving fresh air and relaxation away from the crowded city, then Moganshan's bamboo-lined hills are the perfect option. The sea of green bamboo, clear mountain springs, scattered villas, and charming scenery of different seasons make Mogan Mountain a famous resort for leisure tourism and summer retreats.

There are more than 200 villas on Mogan Mountain, and they are all in different styles with different building characteristics. Therefore, Mogan Mountain is also known as "World Museum of Modern Architecture" and is of great artistic value.

Contact us to plan a worry-free Moganshan tour. 

Moganshan Moganshan

11. Sheshan: Back Garden of Shanghai

Highlights: mountain forest, pilgrimage site

Getting there: 1 hour’s driving from downtown Shanghai 

Recommended visit: 1–2 days

Tour price: from CN¥900 (US$139) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Go for walks in Shanghai Sheshan National Forest Park.

  2. Have fun in Shanghai Happy Valley.

  3. Admire Sheshan Catholic Church.

Sheshan National Tourist Resort, located in Songjiang District, Shanghai, is the only natural mountain forest resort in Shanghai. It is an easy option for a last-minute break from Shanghai.

Sheshan National Tourist Resort includes Shanghai Sheshan National Forest Park, Shanghai Yuehu Sculpture Park, Shanghai Happy Valley, Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden, Shanghai Sheshan International Golf Club, and more.

Located on the west of She Mountain, Shanghai Sheshan Catholic Church is as famous locally as the Notre Dame Cathedral is in France. It is the most important pilgrimage site of Catholicism in China.

As the back Garden of Shanghai, there are also many hotels located in Shezhen, such as Yuluxe Sheshan Shanghai — a tribute portfolio hotel, Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental Hotel, and Sheshan’s “underground” hotel (InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland) the world's first hotel with underwater rooms.

Contact us to plan a Shanghai weekend trip to Sheshan. 

Shanghai Sheshan Catholic ChurchShanghai Sheshan Catholic Church

12. Wuxi: the Pearl of Taihu Lake

Highlights: ancient water city; beautiful Taihu Lake views

Getting there: 40 minutes by high-speed train from Shanghai

Recommended visit: 1–2 days

Tour price: from CN¥900 (US$139) per person based on 2 travelers  

Top things to do:

  1. Climb Qingming Bridge, the oldest stone arch bridge on the Grand Canal.

  2. Ride or walk by Lihu Lake.

  3. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Taihu Lake in Yuantouzhu.

Close to Taihu Lake to its south, with the Beijing–Hangzhou Grand Canal passing through, Wuxi is known as the Pearl of Taihu Lake. Wuxi has been a land of fish and rice since ancient times, and it is a national historical and cultural city now.

Yuantouzhu is the best place to enjoy cherry blossoms in Wuxi, and March is the best viewing time. If you are interested in Buddhist culture, you can also go to Lingshan Scenic Spot to experience Chinese Buddhism in a natural setting.

Contact us for a personally-customized Wuxi trip.

Cherry Blossoms in YuantouzhuCherry Blossoms in Yuantouzhu

13. Chongming Island: Largest Estuarine Sand Island in the World

Highlights: island views; wetlands

Getting there: It is only a one-hour drive from the center of Shanghai to Chongming Island thanks to the Shanghai Yangtze River Tunnel. 

Recommended visit: 1–2 days

Tour price: from CN¥800 (US$119) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Bird watching and sunrise shoots in Dongtan Wetland Park. November to February is the best time to watch the birds on Chongming Island.

  2. Visit Dongping National Forest Park and get close to nature. It is the largest man-made forest on flat land in East China. There are barbecue areas and camping bases deep in the park.

  3. See the sunset in Xisha wetland.

  4. Have a crab-catching experience. Chongming Island is known as "crab island". There are many small crabs in its wetlands.

Located at the mouth of the Yangtze River, Chongming Island is the third largest island in China. It is also the largest alluvial (river) island in the world. Although it is only a short bus ride away from Shanghai, this island may feel like a different world, with its own unique language, cuisines, and culture.

Send us a free inquiry for an escape to Chongming Island.

Chongming lsland Xitan Weland Park Chongming lsland Xitan Weland Park

14. Tantou Island: the Camping Paradise

Highlights: sandy beach; seaside camping

Getting there: A 2-hour train ride from Shanghai to Ningbo followed by a 35-minute boat ride from Shipu Harbor.

Recommended visit: 2 days

Tour price: from CN¥1,200 (US$189) per person based on 2 travelers

Top things to do:

  1. Go sea fishing on a boat.

  2. Enjoy the sea breezes and seaside relaxation.

  3. Stroll on the beach.

  4. Camp on the sand.

Tantou Island is actually two isolated islands, about one kilometer apart, which are connected by a sand channel. The east side of channel is called Waishatou, and the west side with a pebble beach is called Lishaotou. They are called the "sister beaches" together.

Tantou Island is a paradise for young people. At night, you can camp on the sand and, if you are lucky enough to have a clear night, you can see vast galaxies of stars. Never miss the early sunrise!

Send a free inquiry for an escape to Tantou Island.

Tantou Island Tantou Island

We Can Help You See More around Shanghai

Instead of taking public transportation to these locations outside Shanghai, the quickest, most efficient, and often most enjoyable way to enjoy these places is to go with a private driver and tour guide. Our tour guide can quickly help you find good accommodations and help you find what you are looking for.

We would be happy to tailor-make a special trip that's just for you. All our itineraries can be customized. Here are some more suggestions for a Shanghai visit, or weekend escape:


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