Suzhou, China
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clock-o8 hours (Approx.)
TransportHotel pickup offered
ticket-oMobile ticket
commentOffered in: English and 1 more

Overview

Visit two ancient water towns and enjoy a traditional Chinese lunch and dumpling making on this 10-hour tour from Shanghai. Explore the canals, bridges, and 19th-century garden at Tongli, and then visit a courtyard home in the primitive water village of Jinze. Here, enjoy a home-cooked lunch, tea ceremony, and dumpling making class, and try some Chinese calligraphy. Includes entrance fees, lunch, tea ceremony, dumplings, drinks, and central Shanghai hotel pickup and drop-off.
  • 10-hour Tongli and Jinze water towns and courtyard house lunch and cooking experience from Shanghai
  • Explore the canals, houses, and classical garden at Tongli water village
  • Visit a courtyard teahouse in the rustic water town of Jinze
  • Enjoy a home-cooked lunch, tea ceremony, and calligraphy instruction
  • Join a dumpling-making class and savor your creations for supper
  • Small group of eight travelers or fewer
  • Entrance fees, lunch, drinks, dumpling supper, and pickup and drop-off at central Shanghai hotels included
Depart your central Shanghai hotel by air-conditioned vehicle, and travel eastward with your guide and small group of eight travelers or fewer.
Pass through Shanghai’s suburbs, and hear all about your destination: the ancient water town Tongli south of Suzhou. With a history of 1,500 years, Tongli boasts an old canal system and lakes, and offers a glimpse into the customs of old China, with many residents still living much as their ancestors did.
On arrival, hop out and enjoy a walking tour of Tongli’s picturesque canal sides and alleyways. Admire the tree-lined waterfronts, stone houses, and antique bridges, and stroll around the exquisite, UNESCO-listed Retreat and Reflection Garden, a 19th-century oasis of winding paths, reflecting ponds, and pavilions.
Next, continue west to the water village of Jinze, also famous for its canals, bridges, and old architecture — with some buildings dating to the Song dynasty of the 10th century. Absorb the atmosphere of this primitive village, whose lifestyle is hardly touched by time or tourism, and visit a courtyard teahouse for an 8-course home-cooked lunch.
See your home chef at work in the kitchen, and then enjoy the traditional dishes with drinks such as fresh juice, wine, beer, and tea. Afterward, enjoy a Chinese tea ceremony, sampling delicate teas, and hearing about the different leaves, tea sets, and ritual’s history. If you wish, try some Chinese calligraphy, learning how to read and write particular words with a traditional brush and ink.
Next, join in a dumpling making session led by your host. Watch as they manipulate the dough, and then make and cook three versions of these tasty parcels before enjoying them as a light, early supper.
Your trip then ends with an evening drop-off at your central Shanghai hotel.

Reviews

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S
, Nov 2017

Enchanting, fun, educational, and delicious! This is the trip of a lifetime in that you experience what life in quaint, picturesque, small Chinese water towns are really like. And, along the way there are opportunities to purchase local crafts like hand painted, hand made umbrellas. Why, we even walked back into a secluded courtyard sheltering a grouping of private homes and Miki, our guide, chef, and new best friend, spoke with the village women and the next we knew, we had an impromptu tour of a typical home. The best part of the entire day was the time spent with Miki, and especially at Miki's charming home cooking and being served the most delicious meal of our entire trip to Shanghai Well, Lost Heaven is great, but this was SPECIAL and home cooked. Learned so much, loved every minute, and the driver was safe and great, the car comfortable and clean. I highly recommend this to those wanting a unique and fabulous day.

A
, Nov 2017

Truly amazing tour. You will get your money worth. Tongli and Jinze are still pristine water villages with local residents going about their daily life. But the cherry on this sweet cake is the authentic home cooked lunch, served in a local house by the canal. Fantastic meal. The tea ceremony is performed elegantly by Miki herself. Highly recommend to friends and all travelers to choose Miki tours for water village tour!

K
, Jun 2017

I can't say enough about this amazing tour! It lasted from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM and was very well paced, with magical surprises unfolding throughout the day. After two weeks in China, this was definitely our highlight. Miki is professional, knowledgeable, interesting and very talented. We learned so much, ate the best lunch possible, enjoyed accessing the real China, and have memories that will last for years. A fantastic bargain for a special and unforgettable adventure! This should be on everyone's DO NOT MISS list.


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