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2-Day Essential Suzhou and Tongli Water Town Tour

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Apr. 7, 2024

Romance of Watertown

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

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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1Private Transfer from Shanghai to Suzhou, Appreciate Suzhou's Gardens
Lunch Pan Pacific Suzhou (5-star)/ Jasmine Holiday Inn (4-star)


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

Suzhou's Garden Suzhou's Garden
Day 2Tongli Water Town Leisure Tour
Breakfast, lunch


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.

Tongli Water Town Tongli Water Town

Trip Notes:

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.

Tour Price

FromUSD 399 p/p Based on a private tour for 2 people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people and chosen hotel

Price includes:

  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling

Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

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