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Weekend Trips from Shanghai: 16 Refreshing Getaways

Weekend Trips from Shanghai: 16 Refreshing Getaways

Written by Coco YangUpdated Mar. 1, 2022

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 15 fun and convenient Shanghai weekend getaways.

1. Anji: the Famous Bamboo Town

Anji - Weekend Trip from ShanghaiTry a thrilling raft ride and challenge yourself in Skyland

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.

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:

  • Visit the impressive bamboo forest.
  • Try a thrilling raft ride and challenge yourself in Skyland.
  • Enjoy leisurely rafting.
  • Relax in a hot spring.
  • Taste a cup of Anji White Tea.

Recommended Anji Tours:

2. Huangshan: Home of the Yellow Mountains

Yellow Mountain Yellow Mountain

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:

Recommended Huangshan Tours:

3. Wuyuan - the Most Beautiful Countryside in China 

Wuyuan

Wuyuan, about 2 hours by car from Huangshan, is often called ‘the most beautiful countryside in China’ because of its incredible picturesque views in both spring and autumn. Its Huangling Village even earned the honor of 'Sino-Foreign Most Beautiful Shooting Location' at the 74th Venice International Film Festival in 2017. Dozens of movies and TV series have been filmed there… 

Spring (late-March to mid-May) is the most pleasant time, especially in April. The mountains are decorated with red azaleas; the hills are covered by green tea plants and golden blooming rape flowers. When the colors of nature meet the white wall and black tile, a harmonious picture comes into being. More about how to plan a trip to Wuyuan.

3-Day Wuyuan Spring Tour >>>

4. Jingdezhen: Porcelain Capital of China

Jingdezhen Yaoli Ancient TownJingdezhen Yaoli Ancient Town

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:

  • Explore the world's oldest porcelain production line in Ancient Kiln Folklore Exhibition Area.
  • Try china-making yourself and make a ceramic work that is uniquely yours.
  • Encounter a potter in a pristine mountain village (Sanbao International Ceramic Art Village).
  • Visit the hometown of porcelain — Yaoli Ancient Town.

3-day Jingdezhen Porcelain Tour >>>

Or contact us directly for more about Jingdezhen tours.

5. Qiandao Lake - Picturesque Family Staycation Destination

Shanghai Weekend TripsStaycation at Ahn Luh Qiandao Lake Hotel

Ahn Luh Qiandao Lake Hotel is a greet destination for a short break from Shanghai. Located in Qiandao Lake (2.5 hours' train journey from Shanghai), this staycation has everything you want for relaxation. Whether you want to spend your free time enjoying a pretty landscape, or just want to avoid the hassle of arranging a holiday for your kids or your lover, this could be your optimal choice. 

Ahn Luh (安麓 Anlu ‘Peaceful foot of a Hill’) is a destination hotel well known for traditional Chinese-style architecture surrounding amazing landscapes. Sitting on one of their charming balconies will make you feel like you are relaxing in a Chinese landscape painting. 

The breathtaking lake views, outdoor infinity pools, and large variety of activities will never disappoint you. All you need to do is enjoy! What you can do there?

  • Hiking or biking around the island, enjoying nature’s beauty
  • Explore the charms of an old village, and see how local people live
  • Experience China’s tai chi and yoga classes, relieve your stress and anxiety
  • BBQs and picnics

Besides Qiandao Lake, Zhujiajiao Ahn Luh (1 hour from Shanghai) and Shaoxing Ahn Luh (2.5 hours from Shanghai) provide great experience as well. Drop a free inquiry to check the room availability, price and the transport service fee. 

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

Chongming lsland Xitan Weland Park Chongming lsland Xitan Weland Park

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.

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:

  • Bird watching and sunrise shoots in Dongtan Wetland Park. November to February is the best time to watch the birds on Chongming Island.
  • 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.
  • See the sunset in Xisha wetland.
  • Have a crab-catching experience. Chongming Island is known as "crab island". There are many small crabs in its wetlands.

Send us a free inquiry for an escape to Chongming Island

7. Tantou Island: the Camping Paradise

Tantou Island Tantou Island

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!

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:

  • Go sea fishing on a boat.
  • Enjoy the sea breezes and seaside relaxation.
  • Stroll on the beach.
  • Camp on the sand.

Send a free inquiry for an escape to Tantou Island.

8. Moganshan: a World of Coolness

Moganshan Moganshan

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.

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:

  • Relax in the cool tranquility of a mountain villa hotel.
  • Hike in the mountains.
  • Explore the scattered villas.

Contact us to plan a worry-free Moganshan tour. 

9. Sheshan: Back Garden of Shanghai

Shanghai Sheshan Catholic ChurchShanghai 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.

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:

Contact us to plan a Shanghai weekend trip to Sheshan. 

10. Wuxi: the Pearl of Taihu Lake

Cherry Blossoms in YuantouzhuCherry Blossoms 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.

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:

  • Climb Qingming Bridge, the oldest stone arch bridge on the Grand Canal.
  • Ride or walk by Lihu Lake.
  • Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Taihu Lake in Yuantouzhu.

Contact us for a personally-customized Wuxi trip.

11. Nanjing: Capital of Six Dynasties

Nanjing Ming Xiaoling MausoleumSnow Scenery in Nanjing Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

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.

12. Suzhou: Venice of the East

Suzhou Lingering GardenSuzhou Lingering Garden

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.

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:

Recommended Suzhou Tours:

13. Hangzhou: Heaven on Earth

Hangzhou West Lake Hangzhou West Lake

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:

RecommendedHangzhou Tours:

14. Wuzhen: The Last Riverine Town in China

Wuzhen Water Town Wuzhen Water Town

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. 

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:

  • Take a boat cruise in the East Area of Wuzhen.
  • Have a night stay in the West Area 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>>>

15. Yangzhou: First City of Canals in China

Yangzhou Slender West LakeYangzhou Slender West Lake

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.

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:

  • Visit the classical Chinese gardens, such as Ge Garden and He Garden.
  • Take a walk by Slender West Lake and Daming Temple.
  • Try Yangzhou morning tea.

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

16. Enjoy the Enchantment of Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai DisneylandShanghai Disneyland

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.

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

 4-Day Shanghai Family Disneyland Tour >>>

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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