In five days you can experience the highlights of Shanghai plus take a day trip to one of the most romantic cities in the region: Suzhou. First, you'll tour Shanghai's historic gardens and old neighborhoods, like the French Concession quarter, which is now a Bohemian enclave. Then you're off to Suzhou and adjacent Tongli, a town on a canal so beautiful it's known as the "Venice of Asia."

Highlights

  • Tour Shanghai's modern neighborhoods and ancient gardens
  • Visit the Bund to see epic views of Shanghai's skyline
  • Travel to the historic water city of Suzhou and take a gondola ride

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Shanghai Shanghai
Day 2 Full-Day Shanghai City Tour Shanghai
Day 3 Day Trip to Suzhou Suzhou
Day 4 Visit Tongli - Train to Shanghai Shanghai
Day 5 Departure from Shanghai  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Shanghai

Welcome to Shanghai
Welcome to Shanghai

Welcome to China!

Upon arrival in Shanghai, you'll meet a private guide in the terminal and take a bullet train from the airport to the Longyang Road Station. Here you'll transfer to your hotel in central Shanghai. After unpacking and shaking off the long flight, you can head out and explore. Shanghai is a global economic powerhouse and historic port city on the Yangtze River delta that offers great food, historic sights, and plenty of high-end shopping.

If you can't wait to discover the city's culture and entertainment options, you could visit an art gallery, take in an evening opera or acrobatic show, or revel in the diverse nightlife options that run the gamut from intimate lounge bars to thumping nightclubs. Or, if you're too jet-lagged, just enjoy dinner at one of the city's Michelin-starred restaurants before having a quiet night in the hotel and resting up for the day ahead.

Day 2: Full-Day Shanghai City Tour

Yu Garden
Yu Garden

After breakfast, you'll visit the historic Yu Garden. "Yu" translates to "pleasing and satisfying," and the five acres that comprise this historic green space embody those traits perfectly. Dating back over 400 years to the Ming Dynasty, the landscaping features exotic flora like spring bamboo and a ginkgo tree as old as the garden itself. Other impressive design elements include pavilions, ponds, tea houses, rockeries, cloisters, and covered bridges.

After touring the Yuyuan Market to sample some street food, you'll then visit a section of the waterfront known as the French Concession. It was controlled by the French from 1849 to 1943 and is known for its wide, leafy boulevards. Today it's a bohemian enclave abounding with boutiques, wine bars, breweries, cafés, and trendy restaurants.

Once the tour is over, you'll return to your hotel and will have the evening free.

Day 3: Day Trip to Suzhou

The
The "Venice of Asia"

In the morning you'll head to the river lands about 70 miles (112 km) west of Shanghai to the beautiful city of Suzhou. Regarded as the "Venice of Asia," Suzhou is an ancient city founded back in 514 BCE and which sits on China's Grand Canal. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best way to pass the time here is to embark on a romantic gondola ride on the narrow waters amid the old homes, ancient bridges, and flourishing gardens. 

Speaking of which, one green space you'll visit here is Master of the Nets Garden. This neighborhood garden dates back to 1140 ACE and is considered one of the most beautiful in all of China. After enjoying the waterways for a few hours, you'll return to Shanghai and will have the remainder of the evening free.

Day 4: Visit Tongli - Train to Shanghai

The waterways of Tongli
The waterways of Tongli

In the morning, you'll take a 30-minute drive from Suzhou to the classic water town of Tongli. With its tree-lined canals and arched stone bridges, this is one of the most photogenic locales in all of China. It makes a great spot to hang out, relax, and snap plenty of pics.

After a guided tour of the area followed by lunch, you'll transfer to the Suzhou railway station and catch a train back to Shanghai. You'll then transfer to your hotel and will have the remainder of the day free.

Day 5: Departure from Shanghai

Farewell, China
Farewell, China

At the scheduled time, your guide and driver will transfer you to the airport, where you'll catch your flight home. This concludes your grand China adventure. See you soon!

Map

Map of Shanghai & Suzhou Highlights - 5 Days
Map of Shanghai & Suzhou Highlights - 5 Days