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East China Discovery: Yellow Mountain, Water Town & Gardens

East China is the perfect blend of past and present, traditional and vibrant, natural marvels and cultural charms. Take the 9 days East China tour from Shanghai to Huangshan, taking in the iconic highlights of this magical metropolis before venturing to Yellow Mountain and nearby pristine old villages. Travel further to Hangzhou and Suzhou, with historical traces dating to thousands of years ago, where you will discover China’s best ancient water towns and UNESCO-protected gardens.

CCT Advantages:

  • 1. Hop on a vintage motorcycle sidecar through the Bund, ornately decorated high-buildings and discovering the old corners of Shanghai;
  • 2. Marvel at the other-worldly landscape of Yellow Mountain;
  • 3. Explore Hongcun and Nanping villages famous for the elegant village layout and beautiful Huizhou dwellings, visiting local families and learn to cook Chinese dishes;
  • 4. Sit back on a boat floating on West Lake, taking in the stunning urban landscape of Hangzhou;
  • 5. Soak up traditional Chinese garden art on a trip of Suzhou gardens;
  • 6. Immerse yourself in enticing poetic Tongli Water Town, discovering its ancient bridges, residences, folklores… on a sculling boat tour.

9 Days China Water Town Tour to Shanghai Huangshan Hangzhou and Suzhou

9 Days China Water Town Tour to Shanghai Huangshan Hangzhou and Suzhou

Day 1, Shanghai Arrival

Meals: No Meals

Fly into Shanghai. One of the busiest and shiniest cities on the planet, Shanghai features charming traditions and many old structures hidden under skyscrapers. Meet with the exclusive guide and driver for you for an airport to hotel transfer. Enjoy yourself the wonderful night life of Shanghai.  

Recommended hotels:

  • Shanghai luxury hotels: Peace Hotel, Les Suites Orient Bund, Peninsula or similar
  • Shanghai boutique hotels: Hotel Indigo on the Bund, The Yangtze Boutique or similar

Day 2, Shanghai Sidecar Ride, Yu Garden, Shanghai Museum

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

During the morning visit of Yu Garden you will discover some of the beautiful garden architectures and designs from wooden carving doors, dragon roofs to winding corridors and lovely artificial ponds. Right close to the garden is the bustling Yuyuan Bazaar, where food stalls lining the old streets await you.

Continue your Shanghai discovery on a sidecar trip, riding through the boardwalk of the Bund to view both the striking colonial architectures and the skyscrapers on Pudong Skyline on another side of Huangpu River. Thrust into the old town of Shanghai to see the elder Shanghainese living traditional relaxing life on Nongtang lanes.

Later visit Shanghai Museum, one of China’s best museums, with rich collection of ancient Chinese paintings, calligraphy works, bronze wares, jade wares, etc. Learn from your guide about the legends of those national treasures.  

Enjoy a fabulous acrobatics show after dinner (optional).

Day 3, Shanghai to Huangshan, Hongcun Village

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Embark on a high speed train from Shanghai to Huangshan. Upon arrival, you’ll visit a UNESCO-protected village – Hongcun Village. A paradise for photographers, painters and tourists alike, Hongcun is famous for profound Huizhou culture, as well as the black-tile-white-wall architectures that are reflected on Nanhu Lake and Yuezhao Lake.

Tonight, stay at a local quaint courtyard hotel, which was converted from a real traditional dwelling. Enjoy the peaceful countryside vibe.

Recommended hotels:

  • Huangshan boutique hotels: Pig’s Inn or similar

Day 4, Nanping Village Life Experience, Yellow Mountain Cableway

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Live a life like locals at Nanping Village, picking home-grown vegetables from the garden, cooking authentic Chinese dishes at a traditional kitchen and enjoying your fruits of your labor for lunch. If you prefer, learn from a local artisan to make a bamboo-weaving bird.  

Transfer from Nanping Village to Yellow Mountain Scenic Area. After taking Yungu cableway to the mountaintop, you begin about a 1.5 hour walk to the hotel, and enjoy spectacular views along the way, admiring Yellow Mountain’s unique pine trees growing on the rocky cliffs. Enjoy the sunset at Paiyun Pavilion.     

Recommended hotels:

  • Yellow Mountain luxury hotels: Xihai Hotel (the five-star building) or similar

Day 5, West Sea Grand Canyon, Huangshan to Hangzhou

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Get up early this morning, so that you may see the sunrise on Yellow Mountain, which is one of the four wonders of Yellow Mountain. If you still feel energetic, go hiking the West Sea Grand Canyon, the best part of Yellow Mountain that offers incredible views of steep peaks shrouded in clouds and mist (if weather permits).

Take cable car down the mountain, and board high speed train from Huangshan to Hangzhou.

Recommended hotels:

  • Hangzhou luxury hotels: Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale or similar
  • Hangzhou boutique hotels: Tea Boutique Hotel or similar

Day 6, Hangzhou West Lake, Lingyin Temple, Painting on Paper Umbrella

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

One of the most famous cultural sights in China, West Lake is more than just a scenic lake. It is a carrier of Hangzhou history and culture, showcased in the sites such as Su Causeway, Broken Bridge, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, etc. Embark a boat cruising West Lake to visit a lovely isle.

Then trace the Buddhism at Lingyin Temple located in the forests. This more than 1600-year-old temple is considered as a retreat of immortals. Also admire the Buddhist grottoes of Peak Flown from Afar, where there are statues of Maitreya, Avalokitesvara, Eighteen Arhats, etc, carved on the cliff. 

Enjoy a hands-on activity – paint pictures on a hand-made oil-paper umbrella, which can be taken home. One of the traditional Chinese handicrafts, oil-paper umbrella is good-looking, perfect in workmanship and works as a real umbrella in the rainy days.

Day 7, Suzhou Classical Gardens, Old Streets & Markets

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Enjoy 1.5 hour bullet train journey from Hangzhou to Suzhou. Upon arrival, pick up and explore the highlights of Suzhou city.

Visit Panmen Gate, its history can be traced to the 514BC, when Suzhou was the Wu Kingdom. It is more than an ancient gate, but also with old arched bridges, towers and delicate garden connected by winding corridors.

Then visit Lingering Garden, one of the four greatest gardens in China. With exquisite architectural arrangement and peculiar rockeries, this one single garden offers views of rurality, forests, courtyards and natural landscape. 

This is followed by a pedicab tour to ride through the old streets, lanes and traditional markets, and a leisurely stroll on Pingjiang Road, the most famous and best-preserved historical street in Suzhou.

Recommended hotels:

  • Suzhou luxury hotels: The Marriott, Hyatt Regency, Garden Hotel or similar
  • Suzhou boutique hotels: Tonino Lamborghini Hotel or similar

Day 8, Tongli Water Town - Relaxing Cruise

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Tongli is one of most beautiful and authentic water towns in East China, with a history of over 1000 years. Embark a hand-controlled boat – boatman paddling on the stream - to discover the Ming and Qing houses on the banks and experience this unique cultural atmosphere. Visit Tuisi Garden (Retreat and Reflection Garden), with a smaller size than Suzhou gardens but even more delicate.

Board another bullet train back to Shanghai.

Day 9, Shanghai Departure

Meals: Breakfast

Free at leisure in the morning, so you may enjoy last minute sightseeing of Shanghai. Drive to the airport and fly back home or to your next destination. End of your 9 days China tour.

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**Price per person per day Excludes Int'l Airfare but includes domestic airfare/train, excellent guide, private transfer, breakfast, fine lunch,some featured dinners, entrance fee, etc.

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