Start your private tour with a pickup from your central Shanghai hotel. Relax into your private, air-conditioned vehicle with your private guide, and travel through the buzzing streets to Suzhou, located to the west of the city.
Along the way, hear intriguing facts about Suzhou, an ancient canal city that’s especially famous for its silk-making, and UNESCO-protected classical gardens.
After about an hour and 40 minutes, arrive in Suzhou’s historical center, a charming old quarter criss-crossed with waterways and stone-flagged streets.
Stop first at the Master of the Nets Garden, the smallest, but one of the most exquisite of the city’s classical gardens. Learn how it was laid out in the 12th century, and take in the main pond, pavilion, halls, courtyards, and bridges during a stroll.
Next, continue to the Humble Administrator's Garden, the biggest of Suzhou's gardens. Meander around this 4.9-square mile (12.6-square kilometer) masterpiece, designed in 1509, and admire the lotus ponds, bamboo groves, elegant bridges, and shady pavilions – all perfect for peaceful wandering.
Break for a Chinese lunch at a local restaurant (own expense), and call at the Suzhou Silk Museum. Chart the silk-making process from silkworm to loom and finishing, and discover how Suzhou’s delicately embroidered silk has made the city China’s silk capital.
During the Ming and Qing dynasties, most of the silk used by China's imperial families was made by Suzhou’s weavers. Even today, pieces of its embroidered silk can take years to create, and can command high prices as a result.
Admire some of the prized, historical pieces of silk on show, and perhaps purchase some silk (own expense) at the museum stores.
Afterward, relax on your ride back to Shanghai, where your tour concludes with a hotel drop-off at about 5pm.