9 days Shanghai Suzhou tour with Huangshan hiking adventure
This tour gives you a full glimpse of eastern China. The classical gardens of Suzhou show you not only the superb architectural skills but also reflect the Chinese appreciation for harmony and balance. Mount Huangshan, the masterpiece of nature dazzles numerous people with its unique features: the legendary pines, sea of clouds and hot spring. Less traveled but must see is the Zhouzhuang the Venice of Asia.
Just a sample of all the unforgettable stops waiting for you upon arrival in China.
When you arrive at Shanghai airport, your local guide will greet you and drive with you to the hotel. Once settled in choose between taking a rest or exploring on your own.
This packed day starts with a visit to Yuyuan Garden or Yu Garden to many locals. It is a Shanghai must-see attraction for domestic and international visitors. Only here can you catch a glimpse of a delicate Chinese classical garden within bustling downtown Shanghai. After if you want to taste some sweet local snacks, then head over to Yuyuan Market with your guide.
A short ten-minute drive from Yu Gardens helps you reach Shanghai Urban Planning Hall. Here, you can easily get a clear understanding of Shanghai's development and its future blueprint. Most people think they know Shanghai is big, but this put it all into perspective. You will be shocked to see this huge city model and the countless skyscrapers that complete Shanghai's skyline.
Rest in one of the nearby cafes, where you can choose to Shanghai, western or any other cuisine you like for lunch. After filling your tummy your guide will lead you to Shanghai World Financial Center Observation Deck. With a height of 492 m. (1,614 ft.), this tower yields an unmatched city view. Afterward, you will be driven to Nanjing Road, with the reputation as the busiest street in China, where you can see both Shanghai's old brands and first-class international brands like Prada on this modern street.
This morning is left for you to sleep in, or pick some spots that catch your eye, having experienced a bit of Shanghai. After lunch, you will head to the train station for the high speed train to Huangshan (about 3 hours train ride). Once arrived your local guide will greet you and transfer you to Huangshan downtown to check in. The rest of the day will be on your own, we suggest you to go for a relaxing stroll on the 900-year-old Tunxi Ancient Street to appreciate authentic old Huizhou-style architecture. Or take an interesting visit to the Hu Kaiwen Ink-stick Factory to find out how ancient Chinese people produced ink sticks, a major item used for writing and painting in ancient times.
Mount Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) is on UNESCO's list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites. During the Ming dynasty, it was said, "If you have come to Huangshan, you will find that no other mountain is worth visiting."
Today, you will spend a day and night exploring the stunning Mountain. It takes approximately one hour from central Huangshan City to reach the foot of the mountain. Your journey begins with a ride on the Yungu cable car, where you'll be treated to magnificent views during the 10-minute ride (round-trip cable car is included).
Your guide, an expert who spends over 200 days a year on the mountains, will customize the route based on your preferences.
For experienced hikers: Descend the cable car and hike for around 30 minutes, mainly down stairs, to reach the hotel. Along the way, see the Umbrella Pine and Black Tiger Pine. After lunch, embark on a three-hour trek to explore the West Sea Grand Canyon, covering the 1st and 2nd rings, and the bottom of the canyon. If you have enough time and energy, you can further explore the Flying-over Rock and watch the sunset at Bright Top. It takes approximately 40 minutes to get back to the hotel from Bright Top.
For beginners, children, and senior citizens: After disembarking the cable car, take a leisurely 30-minute stroll to the hotel and admire the Black Tiger Pine and Dream Flower Pine along the way. After lunch, hike to West Sea Grand Canyon. You can decide how far you would like to walk: reaching the 1st ring and returning takes approximately two hours, while reaching the 2nd ring and returning takes approximately 2½ hours. Finally, enjoy the sunset at Cloud-dispelling Pavilion before returning to the hotel in approximately 30 minutes.
Don't miss the unforgettable sight of a Mount Huangshan sunrise! We recommend watching the sunrise from Refreshing Terrace, just a few minutes' walk from Beihai Hotel. On clear days, you can see the sun's golden rays piercing through the mist, with rocky peaks rising above the ever-changing sea of white clouds. After watching the sunrise, return to your hotel for breakfast.
Continue your sightseeing on Yellow Mountain and visit the famous Dawn Pavilion and Stone Monkey Watching the Sea on Lion Peak (1690m). Then walk along the wooden path to the cable station to take the cable car down the mountain. Your driver will be waiting at the foot of the mountain to transfer you to Shexian County, stop for lunch and to stretch your legs on the way.
Shexian County, also known as She County, is a historic county located near Mountain Huangshan. The county is famous for its ancient Huizhou-style architecture, which dates back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. The buildings in Shexian County are known for their exquisite craftsmanship, unique layout, and artistic style, and they reflect the cultural heritage of the region.
One thing that proves its deep cultural connection to China is the ink slabs. The art of ink stone making has been famous for over 800 years and is the foundation of a whole style of art. Shexian County is famous for many things, including "The She Ink Slab," one of the best in China, the "Hometown of Archways" for the thousands of arches scattered within the county, and "Hometown of Tea" for the production of high-quality tea in large quantities.
Late afternoon return to Tunxi for the overnight.
Today, you will be driven to Yixian County, which will take about one hour. It's a great opportunity to experience the ancient countryside charm of China. Among its towns, Hongcun and Xidi Ancient villages are two of the most well-known villages. Both have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their well-preserved Chinese ancient architecture and are considered national treasures for their cultural significance.
In Hongcun and Xidi Villages, you can stroll along the ancient streets and admire the traditional buildings, reflecting the typical Huizhou architecture. You can also visit the museums and galleries to learn more about the history and culture of these villages.
After exploring these villages, you can visit Nanping ancient village, which is also famous for its well-protected ancestral halls. Walking through these villages is like traveling through a painting made from traditional Chinese ink.
These beautiful villages are so enchanting that you may want to linger forever.
Late afternoon return to Huangshan city for the train to SuZhou (about 3.5 hours train ride). Your Suzhou guide will pick you up at the train station and transfer you to hotel.
Suzhou is located about 110km from Shanghai. It is known for its beautiful gardens, canals, and ancient architecture. It has a history of over 2,500 years and was once an important center of trade and culture in China. Suzhou is often referred to as the "Venice of the East" due to its numerous canals and waterways. It is also famous for its silk industry and traditional Chinese handicrafts. Suzhou has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its classical gardens, which are considered among the finest in the world.
Today you will have the opportunity to explore two of the most famous ones, the Humble Administrator Garden and Lingering Garden. These gardens are not only renowned for their stunning landscapes but also for their cultural significance, having inspired many ancient Chinese artists and poets. Afterward, you can enjoy a leisurely cruise along the Grand Canal, which connects the north and south coastal regions of China. This experience will give you a deeper appreciation of the city's history and charm. A visit to a Suzhou Silk Factory can be arranged if you are interested in learning about the traditional silk-making process and perhaps purchasing some high-quality silk products.
Today drive to visit Tongli Water Town from Suzhou, which is about a half-hour drive away. Tongli Water Town is a small but well-preserved water town with a history of over a thousand years. The town is surrounded by water on four sides, and the waterway is the main transportation, which gives the town a unique charm.
Upon arrival, take a leisurely stroll along the canals and bridges, and enjoy the traditional architecture, including old residences, temples, gardens, and ancestral halls. Some of the top sights to see include the Tuisi Garden, Chongben Hall, and Jiayin Hall. Tongli is known for its tranquility and authenticity, and it's easy to imagine life as it was centuries ago when wandering through the narrow streets and lanes.
In the late afternoon, drive back to Shanghai (about 1.5 hours). Check into your hotel and spend the evening exploring the vibrant city on your own.
Today, you will leave Shanghai by air. Your local guide will help you with your luggage and drive you to the airport. If you want to continue traveling China, WindhorseTour will be happy to design an extension that fits your travel needs.