This 5-day tour including Suzhou, Tongli Water Town, Mountain Huangshan and Hongcun Village, will take you to explore the gentle mountain-and-river scenery in South of China. You will not only appreciate the classical Chinese garden and water town culture, but also immerse yourself into the exciting mountain hiking. Plus, you will learn more about the local Hui culture by visiting the heaven-like Hongcun Village.
*Take a cruise on the amazing Grand Canal which is one of the oldest canal.
*Appreciate the only existing amphibious gate in China—Panmen Gate.
*Feel the unique local lifestyle in Shantang Old Street.
*Appreciate the natural landscapes in “the most fantastic mountain in the world”—Huangshan Mountain.
*Stroll on Tunxi Ancient Street to search and bargain for trinkets.
*Enjoy an in-depth visit to Hongcun, a dreamy little village with the mountains as its backdrop.
*Visit one of the first batch of traditional Chinese villages—Xidi Village.
- Day 1: Suzhou Arrival & Suzhou City Tour (L)Humble Administrator’s Garden, Grand Canal, Panmen Gate, Shantang Old Street, Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory
Upon your arrival at Suzhou airport / train station,our local English speaking tour guide and driver will be waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name and your exploration begins!
The first site will be Humble Administrator’s Garden, an excellent example of classical Chinese garden. It enjoys equal fame with Summer Palace in Beijing, Emperor Kangxi’s Summer Mountain Resort in Chengde and Lingering Garden also in Suzhou as one of China’s four most famous gardens. In 1509 of the Ming Dynasty, the supervising censor Wang Xianchen resigned and went back to his homeland because of disappointed ambition in politics and spent 16 years building the garden.
Next, go for a walk along one of the ancient China’s greatest engineering projects -Grand Canal and enjoy a far view of Panmen Gate which was originally built in 1351 in the Yuan Dynasty.
Afterwards, follow your guide to stroll down the Shantang Old Street. It was once a prosperous commercial street in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Here you can enjoy the old residential houses and sample some local snacks.
Last, pay a visit to Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory, which was founded in 1926 as a state-owned factory, it is a good place to know how local expertise harvesting silk. The highlight of this tour is seeing threads of silk woven together by old silk spinning machines which has operated for more than 80 years. If you visit the factory in late spring and summer, there is a great chance to see silk worms producing cocoons in the demonstration area which is the first step of silk production. The rest section is designed for displaying and selling silk products.
Accommodation: Overnight in Suzhou
- Day 2: Suzhou-Huangshan by High-speed Train (B, L)Tongli Water Town
After hotel breakfast, drive around 50 minutes to the amazing Tongli Water Town.
With a history of more than 1000 years was established in the Song Dynasty, Tngli Water Town is a typical ancient water town in southern Yangtze River with bridges, flowing water and households. It is divided into 7 islands by 5 streams and connected by 49 old bridges. There are many nice gardens, mansions and former residences of celebrities. You will see that the daily life of the local residents is perfectly integrated with historical buildings.
Your tour guide will take you to see the old residential houses scattered in the alleys of the town. Most of them were built in the Ming and Qing dynasties. They are truly a gem left by the past time. Brick carving is a big highlight of these houses. You will be captivated by the architectural beauty.
Among all the gardens in this old town, Retreat and Reflection Garden is the only one included in the World Cultural Heritage List. It was built from 1885 to 1887 during the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty. Although it is small with an area of 5674 square meters, it has all kinds of pavilions, corridors, rockeries and ponds which are pleasant to the eyes. Strolling around the garden will make you feel like you're back in the ancient China.
Another must-see is the elegant stone bridges throughout the town. The most famous ones are Taiping Bridge, Jili Bridge and Changqing Bridge. The local people have the custom of crossing the three bridges on their wedding day. You can have a walk on the bridges, look at the boats floating on the streams, and fill your camera with many beautiful photos.
Finishing the relaxing sightseeing, transfer to train station for high-speed train to Huangshan. After 3.5 hours train riding, you will arrive at Huangshan, the amazing city with the famous Yellow Mountain. Our local driver will be waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name upon your arrival, and drive to local hotel for check-in. Have a good rest for tomorrow’s mountain hiking!
Accommodation: Overnight in Huangshan City
- Day 3: Mountain Huangshan Tour (B, L)Mountain Huangshan
After hotel breakfast, meet your guide and drive around 1 hour to the mountain. Upon arrival, you will take the shuttle bus to Cloud Valley Temple and then take a cable car up the mountain.
Then hike to enjoy the beautiful scenery at North Sea, Beginning-to-believe Peak, Cloud-dispelling Pavilion and West Sea Valley. There will be many staircases that go up and down, but all the tiredness of climbing will be gone when you see the breathtaking scenery. If you are still in good shape and time & weather permits, you can continue to Sky Sea Scenic Area to enjoy gorgeous sunset at Bright Summit and explore Flying-over Rock. Please do not watch your camera or phone while walking.
Tonight you will stay at a hotel on the mountain so as to catch sunrise next day.
Accommodation: Overnight in Huangshan Mountain
- Day 4: Mountain Huangshan Tour (B, L)Mountain Huangshan, Tunxi Ancient Street
If weather permits, you will get up in the early morning to witness the incredible sunrise. When the mountain is still sleeping under starry sky, you will leave the hotel to occupy a vantage point and quietly wait for the thrilling moment. With the passage of time, the color of sky will change slowly. The sun finally show its head and the peaks are bathed in dazzling gold.
After enjoying the sunrise, follow your guide to go back to the hotel and have breakfast. Then move on to explore Lion Peak which got its name from the look like a crouching lion. You will visit Dawn Pavilion and see an interesting rock called “Stone Monkey Watching Sea”.
Next, you will hop on cable car and descend the mountain to get back to Huangshan downtown. Then, follow your guide to explore Tunxi Ancient Street, China’s most well-preserved ancient street combining architectural style of the Southern Song Dynasty, Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. Just stroll on the street leisurely and appreciate the Hui-style buildings. Then we will visit Hu Kaiwen Ink-stick Factory which was founded by Hu Kaiwen in 1765 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty to see how the ink stick is made. Ink stick is one of the four treasures of Chinese study (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper), and the best ink stick in China comes from Anhui Province, the home of Huangshan Mountain.
Accommodation: Overnight in Huangshan City
- Day 5: Local Villages Tour & Huangshan Departure (B, L)Hongcun Village, Xidi Village
Today you will explore the real local culture in old villages. First, drive to Hongcun Village, locates at the southwest foot of Huangshan Mountain. It is reputed for its long history and nice natural environment. The village covers an area of 19km2. The village can be dated back to the Song Dynasty in 900 years ago. At present there are 138 architectures from the Ming and the Qing Dynasties. In 2000, the village was listed as a World Cultural Heritage site.
After lunch, continue your visit to another must-see site - Xidi Village. It was originally built in the Song Dynasty and welcomed its peak time in the early Qing Dynasty. By now the village has a history of 960 years. The village has 300 families and over 1000 people. The beautiful landscape of the village wins its name “village in picture”. Xidi Village is also a World Cultural Heritage site.
After the relaxing sightseeing, you will be dropped off at Huangshan airport / train station for departure.