You will be picked up from your hotel and taken in an air-conditioned coach for an excursion outside Shanghai to the water villages of Suzhou and Zhouzhuang. An English-speaking guide will accompany you on this tour. The drive from Shanghai to Suzhou takes approximately two hours.
Arrive in the old city of Suzhou, one of the oldest towns in the Yangtze basin, founded in about 600 BC.
The first visit will be at the Net Master’s Garden. This is the best and most celebrated Ming Dynasty Garden in all of Suzhou. The Garden of Master of the Nets is a typical private garden which combines a residence and is the smallest of all Suzhou's gardens. Rock arrangements and beautiful fish pools balance each other as well as the house and garden. The garden also contains many examples of using lattice windows to frame scenes of flowers or bamboo.
Proceed to view the Ancient City Wall, the Grand Canal. The Pan Gate was the only entrance to the ancient city wall built in 514 B.C. that surrounded and protected Suzhou. This well preserved water-and-land city gate consists of the land city gate, the water city gate, the city gate tower, the Weng City and the city wall on both sides. The double water city gate is a pioneering work in architectural history.
This will be followed by a tour of a silk spinning factory to see how Chinese silk has been produced since the 14th century.If the time allows, we will also have the chance to visit Suzhou Museum & Zhong Wang Mansion (Not available on every Monday).
After lunch, visit the water town of Zhouzhuang. See its simple architecture that has been well preserved for over 900 years. The majority of the town’s residences were built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and nearly 100 classic courtyards and 60 carved-brick archways are still in use. See how the locals still live life on waterways, doing everyday activities from washing clothes to shopping from vendors in boats. Board a Chinese-style gondola to cruise the waterways of the city.
At the end of the tour, you will be dropped back at your hotel in Shanghai.