There is much to enjoy in this tour of immersion into ancient Chinese culture, architecture, craft and gardens, when you can try your hand at traditional skills. Whether picking tea, making an umbrella or kite, wondering at the skill of monks’ carvings, being enchanted by the picture post-card beauty of the lake or ancient buildings, there are so many memorable experiences waiting for you.
|Vehicle||Air-conditioned vehicle with licensed driver|
|Guide Service & Language||Professional English-speaking guide|
Upon arrival in Hangzhou (before 13:00 is recommended) you will be picked up by your travel guide and transferred to the old block of Hangzhou to begin exploration of the city’s colorful folk culture. The tour begins at the Workmanship Demonstration Pavilion, a craft center where you can experience making such things as a kite or an oiled paper umbrella, while learning about folk art and culture of Hangzhou (at your own cost).
Outside the pavilion you will board a cruise to travel across the longest and oldest Grand Canal in the world, travelling past traditional Chinese residences, gardens and arched bridges, to arrive at the Dadou Road Historical Block. Stroll the cobbled streets in this revitalized residential area to discover fine examples of architecture from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Peek into the past in the majestic Xiangji Temple, stop off at the museums and displays of traditional crafts, or indulge yourself at the cafes, restaurants and gift shops.
You will be transferred to the pre-booked hotel for check-in at the end of the day.
Meals included: None
Tips: Make the most of your tour by enjoying some of the wonderful Hangzhou evening entertainment. Options include the Enduring Memories of Hangzhou show (West Lake Impression) or the spectacular night view at Qiantang River on weekends.
After breakfast, take a relaxing cruise on West Lake. Board an ornate boat, from which you can appreciate fully the beauty of this man-made lake, designed for poetic serenity in the tradition of Chinese gardens, which forms the scene printed on the one yuan banknote. Magical views of hills, willows, bridges and well-placed structures, invite photographic and artistic endeavor, especially at sunrise or sunset. Cycling around this symbol of Hangzhou is another way to capture its beauty (at your own cost).
A short drive away is the most sacred Buddhist center in southern China, Lingyin Temple, with its 500 bronze seated statues of Arhats in the grand hall. You will be amazed by the massive number and scale of Buddha statues carved in Feilai Peak and the exquisite carvings on the approach to the Temple. History and legends of the sites will be revealed by your guide along the way.
At a visit to a tea plantation, the whole cultural cycle of tea production will be revealed, as you get a close look at how tea grows on the rolling terraces and even pick some leaves, if your visit coincides with the harvest season. Further understanding of Chinese tea history and culture can be gained at the China National Tea Museum that holds collections of tea varieties, tea sets and machines for making tea. You will then be returned to the hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast
Tips: For those who don’t like boating, biking is an alternative way to explore the beauty of the West Lake. Your tour guide will suggest an itinerary from which you can choose (at your own expense).
After breakfast, you will be transferred to catch the bullet train to Suzhou. On arrival in this beautiful garden city, you will be met by your local guide and start your tour. First stop is Tiger Hill, a large hill park steeped in history and incredibly beautiful scenery. A particular feature is the leaning Tiger Hill Pagoda. The Master of the Nets Garden is a dainty, classical garden of exquisitely laid out pavilions, rockeries, corridors, bridges and ponds, all in breathtaking harmony. Another wondrous sight is the Humble Administrator’s Garden, a masterpiece of landscape planning around waters and pavilions, truly representative of a Chinese garden.
You will then be driven to the pre-booked Suzhou hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast
A short 30 minute drive from Suzhou will take you to Tongli Water Town, which has been conserved basically unchanged for more than a thousand years. The town comprises a sprawling network of rivers and bridges and narrow streets carrying specialty stores, handcrafts and snacks, each street different. Roam the streets to take delight in the residences with gardens and public buildings, all favoring Song dynasty architecture. Bridges in Tongli are interesting for their architecture as much as the legends about them, making enduring memories and photos.
The tour concludes when you are transferred to Suzhou for the departure flight or train to your next destination.
Meals included: Breakfast
Tips: Transfer to Shanghai airport is available for an extra charge. Please contact your travel consultant for details.
Inclusions / Exclusions
- Admission fees: to sightseeing spots and activities specified.
- Activities specified in the itinerary.
- Excellent professional English speaking guide.
- Ground transport with licensed drivers in an air-conditioned vehicle.
- 4-star or 5-star hotel accommodation with breakfast, based on double/twin occupancy.
- Bullet train from Hangzhou to Suzhou (2nd class seat).
- Boat rides on West Lake and Grand Canal.
- Travel agency liability insurance during the tour.
- Government taxes and fees.
- International/domestic flights and trains to/from Hangzhou and Suzhou (except bullet train from Hangzhou to Suzhou).
- China visa.
- Gratuities to guides and drivers and any expense of personal nature.
- Meals:Lunches and dinners are excluded allowing you flexibility around meal choices. Your guide is able to make recommendations and order for you, if required.
- Cycling around the West Lake.
- Craft making activity at Workmanship Demonstration Pavilion.
- Optional evening entertainment show.
- Boat ride at Tongli Water Town.
- Our tour package does not include travel insurance. Please purchase travel insurance before your trip to protect for any unforeseen circumstances.
- This is a private tour for your group of family or friends. No other travelers will join you. It’s always available for your schedule.
- Smart casual dress and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
- Prices based on twin occupancy.
- The prices shown above are not valid during China’s Official Holidays (such as National Day and Chinese Spring Festival etc.).