11 Days China Water Town Tour to Beijing Xian Hangzhou Suzhou and Shanghai

Looking for China tour to ancient water towns and classical gardens? You should take this luxurious 11 days tour itinerary across China from the glamourous Beijing to see some world-class attractions, to Xian, one of oldest capitals in the world with many fabulous ancient sites. Then discover the cultural delights of Hangzhou and Suzhou, taking in the beautiful cultural landscape of classical gardens of Suzhou and the quaint atmosphere of Jiangnan water towns. End the vacation in Shanghai, enjoying its cosmopolitan allure.

Trip Highlights

  • Get under the skin of old Xian & Beijing
  • Admire UNESCO-listed gardens
  • Soak up Chinese water town culture
  • Explore the fantastic sights of Shanghai

Customizable Tour Itinerary

Begin your China vacation in the country’s capital, Beijing. Upon arrival at the airport, be greeted by your guide and driver. Transfer to your hotel for a rest. Alternatively you can explore a bit of this charming city, a modernized urban star but also with fascinating historical traces.

  • Hotels: Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel, Beijing Fairmont Hotel, Beijing Aman Summer Palace
Forbidden CityForbidden City

Come to the center of China, both politically and culturally. Walk the large Tiananmen Square to see the historical monuments. Go through the red-painted wooden door to get in Forbidden City or now better known as the Palace Museum. Everything here, from the colored glazed tiles, stone lions, chambers, gardens to the hundreds of thousands of precious treasures, is a symbol of royal dignity and a witness of China’s chequered history.

From the rear entrance of Forbidden City, cross an avenue and begin to climb Jingshan Hill. On the Wanchun Pavilion of the hill, enjoy the panoramic view of Forbidden City and look out for White Pagoda of Beihai Park.  

After lunch, get on a rickshaw zigging through hutongs to discover the old town of Beijing and trace the city’s cultural root. The genuine natives of Beijing still live in traditional courtyard houses.

Tonight you have a chance to watch a real Shaolin Kung Fu show (optional).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Great WallGreat Wall

This morning explore the sacred Temple of Heaven with its architectural groups for sacrifice. The ancient Chinese believed that heaven was the universal god and the kings were the chosen one and the representatives of god. So for hundreds of years, the kings worshiped heaven here.

One of the absolutely most outstanding man-made wonders in the world, the Great Wall of China is fruit of Chinese civilization and a significant carrier of history. Take cable car to get in Mutianyu Great Wall, one of the best-kept sections. Learn from your expert guide all about this ancient military fortification.

Enjoy a tasty local specialty dinner with Beijing Roasted Duck (optional).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Temple of HeavenTemple of Heaven

Enjoy a relaxing morning touring Summer Palace, a grand royal garden and the best of traditional Chinese gardens. Discover both its architecture beauty of palaces, bridges, corridors and pavilions and landscape beauty of rivers and hills. We arrange you a leisurely dragon boat cruise on the Kunming Lake.

Board a bullet train from Beijing to Xian, where there are more historical sites are waiting for you to explore. 

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Wyndham Grand Xian South
Summer Palace with CruiseSummer Palace with Cruise

The celebrated capital of ancient China, Xian was known to the world due to the thriving of Silk Road. And today it is one of the top destinations in China mainly because of Terracotta Army. This amazing archeological find dates back to the 3rd century BC, when Emperor Qinshihuang, who just unified China, decided to build or actually craft this army by clay as burial objects after he died.  

Visit a famous Silk Road site - Big Wild Goose Pagoda inside Ci’en Temple. In 652, Master Xuan Zang built this pagoda to preserve the Buddhist scriptures brought back to Chang'an (ancient name of Xian) from Indian via Silk Road.

Enjoy classical Tang Dynasty Music and Dance at a dumpling banquet tonight (optional).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Terracotta Warriors MuseumTerracotta Warriors Museum

After breakfast, come to the ancient city wall of Xian, from where the merchant travelers used to depart their hometown and travel along the Silk Road to West Asia and even Europe. On China’s best-kept ancient city wall, experience the unique atmosphere that blends history and modernization.  

Enjoy a brisk stroll on Muslim Quarter. Muslim Hui people are main residents of Xian, apart from Han. Hui Muslim cuisine blends in local traditional cuisine, which can be discovered and tasted on this famous food street.

Enjoy a hands-on activity – making dumpling at a local Xian family’s home. Learn from the host about the real life of China and the step-by-step guide on making the most popular Chinese food.

Fly from Xian to Hangzhou, known among Chinese as a heaven on earth.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Grand Hyatt Hangzhou, Banyan Tree Hangzhou, JW Marriott Hotel Hangzhou
Dumpling Making ExperienceDumpling Making Experience

Experience the peace at the 3rd-century Lingyin Temple hidden in woods. This beautiful temple is a finest example of Chinese Buddhist architecture. And admire the amazing grotto art of Peak Flown from Afar, looking out for Buddha sculptures of various sizes, carved based on those legendary stories. Later marvel at Six Harmony Pagoda to view the scenery of Qiantang River.

Cruise West Lake and get in a lovely islet to enjoy beautiful views and some cultural landscape, including Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon and the stone-arched Broken Bridge.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
West LakeWest Lake

Move to Suzhou by 1.5 hour bullet train.

The history of Panmen Gate 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.

Sit back on a rickshaw zigging through the ancient streets and alleyways of Suzhou, discovering the lively traditional markets and glimpsing the local way of living. Also ramble on Pingjiang Road, regarded as the epitome of the old town of Suzhou.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
  • Hotels: Hyatt Regency Suzhou, Suzhou Marriott Hotel, W Suzhou
Suzhou Pingtan (a form of musical storytelling)Suzhou Pingtan (a form of musical storytelling)

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.

Private transfer or bullet train journey to Shanghai.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Tongli Water Town by BoatTongli Water Town by Boat

Enjoy the art display at Shanghai Museum, one of the finest museums in China. The art works of ancient China, including jade wares, bronze wares, Chinese calligraphy and painting masterpieces and ceramics are the highlights.

Thereafter, discover the cultural and culinary delights of Shanghai, rambling in the Yuyuan Market, where there are various food stalls and traditional architectures. Right close to the bazaar, Yu Garden is the best traditional garden in Shanghai, elegantly designed and sophisticated constructed.

Later walk down the Bund hand in hand, seeing century-old European-colonial hotels, banks and trade buildings. Cross the Huangpu River and ascend one of world’s highest buildings – Shanghai Tower to view the astounding and cheerful newness of this metropolis.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Shanghai City God TempleShanghai City God Temple

Be transferred from hotel to Shanghai Pudong International Airport and return home. End of your 11 days China tour of water towns and gardens.

  • Meals: Breakfast,
Shanghai Pudong areaShanghai Pudong area

Price Includes

  • In-country transportationas noted in the itinerary.
  • Admission fees and activity expenses as noted in the itinerary.
  • Luxury or boutique hotels centrally located.
  • Meals in local restaurants as noted in the itinerary with complimentary drinking water.
  • Your own English-speaking guide service.
  • Your own chauffeur and vehicle service.

Price Excludes

  • International transportation.
  • Chinese tourist visa. (which enquired for most foreign passport holders)
  • Travel and medical insurance.
  • Meals, snacks, alcohol, etc. apart from those included in the itinerary.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Sights, excursions and activities not included in the itinerary.
  • Gratuities to guide and driver.


This tour is tailor-made and we can tailor to meet your reqeusts. Your personal travel consultant will contact you within 24 working hours!


CHINA OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2019 We researched several companies and studied reviews on Trip Adviser before contacting who did a very China Culture Tour with an initial query. Right from the outset Grace who owns the company was excellent. She emailed detailed with pictures information and a suggested…read more details

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