Romance of Watertown
2-Day Essential Suzhou and Tongli Water Town Tour
The world heritage gardens and the nearby water towns are two highlights of Suzhou that should not be missed. This tour offers a great chance to appreciate Suzhou's classical gardens and Tongli water town. Explore the biggest classical garden and the smallest stone bridge. Take a small boat in Tongli for a leisurely trip.
- Visit one of China's top four gardens—the Humble Administrator's Garden
- Appreciate one of the smallest but also one of the most ingenious gardens—the Garden of the Master of Nets
- Take a rickshaw ride in Suzhou's alleys and catch a glimpse of local people's lives
- Stroll around in Tongli water town and relax on the boat trip there
About China Highlights
Since 1998 we've guided everyone ranging from US presidents, Australian Geographic and retired backpackers. Our goal is to create unique trips that take you off-the-beaten path, helping you discover China in a more authentic way. Our motto: "Discovery Your Way!"
Wonderful Suzhou experience
We had another amazing tour with China Highlights. Cultural tour to Suzhou was so informative and fun with our amazing guide Mr Lin and our wonderful Wendy who brought us together. Many thanks to both of you! Looking forward to our next adventure. more
Your private guide will be waiting for you at your hotel. Starting from the hotel in Shanghai, you should arrive in Suzhou in about 1.5 hours, via a comfortable non-smoking vehicle.
Note: If you prefer to take a bullet train, we can arrange train tickets.
Enjoy a hassle-free transfer to Suzhou, and start your exploration at the biggest classical garden there, Humble Administrator's Garden. Your guide will help you understand more about the garden, especially its history. See picturesque pools, pavilions, and rocks.
Have lunch at a local Suzhou restaurant. The most famous Suzhou food is Squirrel-Shaped Mandarin Fish. The fish is sweet and sour, cooked in the shape of a squirrel.
The Garden of the Master of Nets is only 1/6 of the size of the Humble Administrator's Garden, but it is the most ingenious classical garden in Suzhou. It also has the smallest stone bridge in Suzhou—only 2 meters long.
Take a rickshaw ride to explore the alleys of Suzhou, where local people live. You will find a hammam (a communal bathhouse), food markets, ancient wells, and stone pagodas, and you'll probably see people washing clothes by the river.
After the trip, we'll take you back to your hotel in Suzhou.
An Evening Recommendation
The "Night Garden" in the Garden of the Master of Nets is a good place to enjoy a live traditional Chinese music performance. Ping tan (storytelling and ballad singing in the Suzhou dialect), Kunqu Opera, flute, and Chinese zither are all performed in different halls.
Opening times: mid-March to mid-November, 19:30–22:00
After a western-style breakfast in the hotel, you will visit Tiger Hill, also known as Surging Sea Hill. It 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. For bonsai lovers, there is a little bonsai garden on the hill.
We'll then drive 30 minutes to Tongli water town, often praised as the Venice of China. Take a small boat along the canal to see the old town. It's a great place for ancient architecture and traditional culture. Have lunch in a local Tongli restaurant.
After the visit in Tongli, we'll drive you back to your hotel in Shanghai and wave goodbye.
Customizing the Tour — According to Your Needs
This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, and extend or shorten it to suit your schedule.
For example, you can extend it by 1 day to visit Shanghai or 2 days to add a tea culture experience in Hangzhou.
What's the Best Time to Visit Suzhou?
You can visit Suzhou at any time. Every season has its own peculiar beauty. Beautiful flowers in spring and colorful leaves in autumn make spring and autumn most popular. Avoid Chinese national holidays like May 1st, or the China National Day holiday (Oct. 1st-7th).
Suzhou & Neighbors
Suzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai are the most famous cities of the Yangtz Delta. The other two places are convenient to reach from Suzhou at a short distance.