Suzhou and Tongli Ancient Watertowns
Add this Suzhou and Tongli water towns day tour to your stay in Shanghai. Most Forever Young tours end in Shanghai and include a free day at leisure, so this is the perfect tour to end your trip in China. Accommodation is not included since you already have the accommodation included on your China itinerary (You could however add an extra night's accommodation for only $59 at Yun's Paradise Hotel (4 Star).
Shanghai - Suzhou - Tongli - Shanghai (Lunch, Dinner)
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel in Shanghai. Journey for about 1.5 hours to the silk capital, Suzhou and start your tour visiting the Garden of the Master of the Nets. Continue on to the Silk Factory to see how silk is processed from the silk worm to the final woven cloth (Beautiful silk products on sale here!). After lunch visit the Embroidery Research Institute where you can see traditional hand-made silk embroidery (Chinese High Culture). Later, visit the lovely water town of Tongli (an hour by road north west of Shanghai) before returning to Shanghai in the evening. After dinner, you will be transferred back to your hotel.
Garden of the Master of Nets
Master of Nets Garden is one of the most well-preserved water gardens in Suzhou...dating back 1000 years. It is the smallest of the Suzhou residential gardens, yet it is the most impressive for its amazing aqueous landscaping, perfect proportions, exquisite design and the mood of tranquillity and harmony it reflects. The inner garden has the distinction of being used as the model for the Ming Hall Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and was also completely miniaturized for an exhibit in the Pompidou Centre in Paris in 1982.
Suzhou Silk Factory
Suzhou is not only a city of gardens, but also the silk capital of China. It has a long tradition of mulberry planting, silk worm raising, silk reeling and weaving. Suzhou silk is elegant and beautiful, regarded as the best in China. In the silk factory you can learn how silk is extracted from silk worms, and gain some hands-on experience turning it into the fine material used to create Chinese costumes. A chance to shop to your heart's content and choose from a vast selection of fine silk with excellent quality at very reasonable prices. (Silk duvets are a popular purchase here...as are shirts, dresses and "Suzy Wong-style cheongsams"!)
Embroidery Research Institute
Established in 1957, the Suzhou Embroidery Institute is located at Huan Xiu Villa the ''Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty' (the name of a Suzhou classic garden which has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO). Suzhou embroidery has a long history of more than 2000 years and is the trademark of this thousand-year old town. On display are outstanding examples of handcraft so exceptional that it is difficult to believe this was achieved by human hands. The intricacy of each piece defies comprehension.
Tongli is an ancient water town on an island in a lake in the "Venice of the East". The town is surrounded by water with many branching streams, stone bridges and old houses with black tiles and white wells. Explore the picturesque narrow canals, little streets, bridges and traditional houses which overhand the canals, visit well-preserved old residences , eat delicious fish and other local delicacies and enjoy the balladeers in the waterside tea houses. The drive from Suzhou passes through fertile farmlands full of lakes, canals, barges, ducks, rice, corn, bananas; everything grows here!
Zhozhuang (Tongli alternative)
More famous but also more crowded. If you prefer Zhouzhuang, Tongli can be replaced. Zhouzhuang is an ancient watertown situated on an island in a lake in the "land of rice and fish". surrounded by water with many branching streams, stone bridges and old residences.