Join us on a three-day, two-night discovery of a collection of China’s picturesque water towns that have been dubbed the ’Venices of China’.


3 Days, 2 Nights     FROM US$ 795 PER PERSON

This tour discovers the small towns of Suzchou and Wuzhen which are compared to the illustrious Italian city because of their intricate network of canals and stone bridges, as well as Hangzhou, described by Marco Polo as a “Heaven on Earth”, at least in part due to the West Lake, a recent addition to UNESCO’s world heritage sitesAlong the way you’ll learn, absorb and savor the sights, sounds and subtle nuances through unique interactions that only a trip with Backyard Travel can offer.

Your guide will show you behind the scenes of the real China as you experience the wonderful watery towns, and step back in time to the rural areas.


Each of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and our destination based teams will start planning a unique and personalized trip.

The Backyard Travel Team,


Take a morning bike ride round the narrow streets of Suzhou’s old town.
Discover the old wooden houses, cobbled streets and beautifully sculpted stone bridges of Wuzhen.
Spend time with bonsai specialist who will show you his art.
In Wuzhen,have the choice between 04 different optional day tours, including visits to either a Chinese water puppet theatre, take part in a wine-tasting session, pay homage at the home of Mao Dun

Daily Itinerary

Daily Itinerary

  • Start
  • Day 1: Shanghai - Suzhou - Wuzhen

    The first day of your scenic study of the ‘water towns’ will start with an hour-long journey by car to Suzhou, the most famous of the ‘Venices of China’ you’ll visit on this wonderful tailored tour. The world-famous Suzhou Gardens are considered some of the most beautiful in China.

    Once in Suzhou you can take a morning bike ride round the narrow streets of the old town, a good way to avoid the early crowds that come to see the famous gardens. China’s love affair with the bicycle over the last 15 years is no more evident than in Suzhou. Cycling along the cobbled streets, you will notice the white sculpted wooden facades and black tile roofs of the local houses. The chances are, as you cruise along the many canals you will also notice the locals still using the canals to wash their clothes.

    You’ll then have the chance to discover the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Master of the Nets Garden, guided by a native gardener who will talk to you about his art, in particular the penjing (which literally translates to ‘the countryside in a flowerpot’) also better known as bonsai. Traditionally, Chinese gardens are a miniature reproduction of nature; the presence of rocks represents mountains, ponds symbolize lakes and running water imitates rivers.

    The quest for harmony takes precedence over the rigorous geometrical planning that you would see in most Western gardens. Their shape is therefore never rectangular, encouraging visitors to wander around with only their thoughts and no definite aim. The Chinese believe that one should tend to their garden as one would their soul, a lifestyle practised by retired scholars and rich merchants of the region.

    After visiting the beautiful gardens, your next stop will be Wuzhen, located around 60 - 90 minutes away from Suzhou. Wuzhen is another scenic water town, but differs in style to that of Suzhou. Even though Wuzhen has largely been restored, it still maintains its own identity and character. Home to wooden houses, cobbled streets and beautifully sculpted stone bridges, your time in Wuzhen will allow you to dive head first into ancient China.

    If time permits, you will then be able to take a sunset stroll along the main canal which reflects a mirror image of the houses on stilts alongside it, adorned with an increasing number of red lanterns as the evening wears on.

  • Day 2: Wuzhen - Anji - Hangzhou

    The morning of day two of your tour gives you full control of what you’d like to do. As your stay in the village grants you access to a number of major sites which differ vastly, our options provide something for everyone. Depending on what interests you most, you can tailor your day’s plans and your guide will be happy to give you any advice you need.

    We have selected the following activities for you to choose from:Option 1: Guided tour of the Gongsheng Distillery followed by a wine-tasting session. If you don’t want to try the local wine then don’t hang around too long, even just a whiff of its strong fragrance could get you tipsy!Option 2: You will be taken to watch one of the daily performances at the flower drum opera. The Chinese shadow puppet theatre also puts on daily shows which demonstrate the ancient Chinese art form of puppeteering. The practice, which dates back over 2,000 years, can be attributed to Liu Bang, a famous Han army general, who used shadow puppets to trick his enemies into retreat by making them believe that there were thousands of soldiers waiting and ready to defend from attack. Option 3: Perfect for fans of literature, with this option you can visit the ancestral home of Mao Dun, a famous 20th century revolutionary writer, critic and journalist, whose most famous work was Ziye, a grand novel depicting life in cosmopolitain Shanghai and Spring Silkworms as well as many short stories. Option 4: Or, if you are interested in the art of textiles, then you can visit a printing atelier who will explain the techniques used in the production of traditional Chinese clothing.

    Following your morning visits, continue to Anji County which is a 2.5- hour drive from Wuzhen. Here, see the greatest examples of ecotourism in the whole country - the largest bamboo forest in China. In the past years, the local government hasbecome aware of the environmental importance of bamboo and have implemented a new policy named ‘the three pures’: pure air, pure water and pure earth. Local farmers who cultivate the land must pass rigorous ‘ecological checks’ before being allowed to continue their business. Interestingly this forest area was used as a backdrop for one the scenes in the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". Fans of the film may remember the fight scene filmed here between Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat) and Yu Jiao Long (Zhang Ziyi). Journey into the center of the forest and feel the heart of China, in the silence of the emerald green forest around you.

    Nearby, you will have the chance to see some tea plantations, another specialty of the region of Zhejiang and home to Longjing tea (one of most expensive teas in the world). Tea is China’s favorite drink and gained popularity in the Tang dynasty (618-907) when it was traded around the world. During your trip to the plantation, you may also be fortunate enough to meet a local tea producer who can introduce different tea types: green tea, black tea, Oolong tea, fragrant tea, white tea or even ancient ‘tea bricks’.

    Continue to Hangzhou, the ancient capital of the Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279) and the current provincial capital of Zhejiang province.

  • Day 3: Hangzhou - Shanghai

    Marco Polo described Hangzhou as a "Heaven on Earth", at least in part due to the West Lake, a recent addition to UNESCO’s world heritage sites. Each season here offers something different, yet spectacular in its own way: in winter, the snow rests upon the water and transforms the lake into a piece of art with frozen plants.

    In spring, the peach and plum trees are in full bloom bringing bursts of color back to the park, and in summer countless water-lilies create a perfumed blanket on the lake’s surface. The locals like to say that the moon is bigger and more beautiful in autumn, and this can best be seen from the ‘three pools mirroring the moon’ on Xiaoling Island.

    You’ll be given the chance to take a scenic bike ride around the lake as you explore one of the most picture-perfect symbols of traditional China. The curved bridges lead to small islands in the heart of the lake, and there you can discover, amongst other things, the charmingly romantic Quyuan gardens. Around the lake and up into the hills, tea plantations can be seen covering the landscape. Continue your exploration by bicycle towards Lingyin Monastery, one of the best known Buddhist temples in China. Founded by an Indian monk in the 4th century, Lingyin Temple has a history of 1,700 years and is the leading center for Chinese Buddhist culture research. Within the temple grounds, see the 20-metre high wooden statue of Buddha built from camphor, one of the biggest of its type in the country.

    The Buddhist sculptures found inside the grottos of Felaifeng however are what the temple is named after. Take a walk to the top of Lingyin hill and discover these statues of key figures popular in Buddhism to China such as Xuanzang, a Chinese monk from the Tang Dynasty.

    The monk Xuanzang spent almost 20 years on his journey through India and Asia to discover and try to understand all of Buddhist thought and teachings. He then translated the sutras into Chinese, named ‘Peregrination to the West’, one of the best known Chinese novels today. At the end of the day, transfer to Hangzhou Train Station for the 01-hour train ride to Shanghai. On arrival, your personal guide will greet you and assist you with your onward journey.

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Tour Details

All of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room in luxury accommodation. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

 Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

 Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)

Why Backyard Travel?

Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.
We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.
With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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Our advantage lies in having local expertise to create unique, bespoke tours. Whether you’re looking to cruise down Asia’s tranquil rivers, bike the peaceful rural roads, or eat at bustling night markets, Backyard Travel’s in-country Travel Specialists can plan your ideal trip. Send us a message about your ideas, and we'll send you our best suggestions.




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