China’s Venice of the East at Tongli

China’s Venice of
the East at Tongli

Tongli is the epitome of what life used to be when canal towns became a commercial and
residential hub for Yangtze River-connected settlements. Quaint cobblestone walkways,
stone bridges and residences, modern and nearby Shanghai feels lightyears away.


From navigating the streets of Shanghai to looking across calmer waters is merely a short driveway. Water towns embalm a China of a bygone era where local trade moved slowly from one side to the other, and with a strong commitment to maintaining its original layout as much as possible, it is a true testimony of Chinese culture.

With the majority of these canal towns located along the Yangtze River, the popularity of these destinations are not only connected to the cultural and historical representations of China; it is about creating harmony between its residents and Mother Nature. Tongli has long been a favourite because of its idyllic town settings and is one of the six most famous settlements that proudly carry the name of water town. Just south of Shanghai in Suzhou, this full-day excursion is a journey back to the past.


China’s Venice of the East at Tongli

08:00 - 16:00

After your guide and drive have welcomed you at your Shanghai hotel, we head straight out of the metropolis in a western direction towards Suzhou. During this day, it is all about catching a breath of fresh air while being engulfed with hues of Chinese history. Located around 20 kilometres from downtown along Taihu Lake, tranquil Tongli is a perfect example of a Venice of the East in China. True to its word of being a highly-valued tourism destination, the waterways of this more than 1000-year old town form the real side of what once was.

And what better way than to experience the Chinese culture than sailing over its waterways and absorbing a view one does not get from the mainland. The waterways entwine the old city, with 5 major lakes surrounding the quaint town centre, where a collection of 49 ancient bridges built in various dynasties to admire. Some bridges still stand as highlights in Tongli, silently telling the stories and legends of ancient Tongli, just south of the Yangtze. Gently sailing through this town is of course a must and included. A delicious Chinese set lunch is included at a local restaurant on this day.

There will be ample time to wander through this picture-perfect settlement from the Song Dynasty as it showcases typical ancient Chinese ways of life around every corner. In the afternoon, we head back to Shanghai and your accommodation ending this fabulous day out in one of China’s most picturesque canal towns.




  • A full-day tour with a professional English-speaking guide. Other languages are on request and may be subject to supplementary charges
  • Transportation by air-conditioned vehicle with professional driver
  • Boat trip through the canals of Tongli
  • All entrance fees for visits as mentioned in the description.
  • All applicable taxes and service charges
  • Lunch at a local restaurant is included (food only)


  • Tours, inclusions of any kind and other services that are not outlined in the tour description
  • Personal expenses such as meals, drinks, tips and gratuities, shopping, portage fees and optional tours, unless otherwise stated
  • Hotel accommodation in the destination of commencement.
  • Compulsory Christmas, country-specific festival and/or New Year dinner at included hotels
  • Single supplement charges for single travelers, where applicable
  • Any airline tickets, visa fees, additional transportation cost from and to the general meeting point
  • Supplements for transfers for customers arriving or departing from any airport or resorts located outside the general pick-up and drop-off locations
  • Hotel expenses of a personal nature, should an overnight be included: this includes mini-bar consumption, laundry, room service, any telephone or other communication cost not mentioned in the program
  • Travel insurance coverage for customers (highly recommendable)


  • This tour is operated on full private basis with English-speaking guide. Other languages are on request / subject to availability and supplementary charges may apply
  • Return transfers for this excursion apply only / are inclusive for customers staying in and inside the Puxi side. Transfers outside these areas, including any accommodation outside the Central Business District (i.e. Pudong), Suzhou, Chongming, cruise ports and Shanghai’s International Airport are excluded. Supplements apply for customers who want to join this excursion outside one of these regions.
  • Customers are advised that during the Lunar Festival celebrations (celebration of Chinese New Year), excursions and tours may be subject to supplementary charges and/or may see longer waiting times than normal.
  • We will do all possible to comply with any dietary requirements during this excursion; it may not always be possible to confirm your wishes in advance based on the choice of local restaurant.
  • We regret to inform you that this excursion is not suitable for wheelchair users.
  • We always will make efforts to confirm the exact pick-up time upon reservation. For any operational issues in which are not able to confirm the exact pick-up time in advance, we reserve the right to inform you the day before the departure of the tour.
  • Please note pick-up and drop-off services may not be confirmed for customers staying at private residences, apartment complexes, or other non-registered tourism accommodations. Customers may be asked to meet at a nearby hotel for pick-up and drop off.
  • There will be ample time for customers to spend time on their own to admire the sites at their own pace or browse along the shops for souvenirs. When additional time needs to be allocated for more time at leisure or shopping, this can be discussed with the guide on spot.
  • Natural elements of any kind have a destructive effect on electronic equipment. It is the customer’s own responsibility to ensure that any camera, mobile telephone or other device is properly wrapped and protected against these elements. We cannot be held responsible in any way for negligence and/or not following suggestions for any damage related to this.
  • Please ensure that you bring sunglasses, a hat /cap and sunblock with a high SPF factor when traveling with us on this tour – even when it is cloudy, the sunrays still have an immense power.
  • It is the responsibility of the customer to provide us with the correct hotel information, should pick-up and drop-off services be included in the package. Any changes in accommodation outside 24 hours will be handled accordingly: changes within 24 hours may be on request.
  • In the event of no-show or change of accommodation without prior consent and confirmation from us within 24 hours may result in the applicable cancellation charges as outlined in the terms and conditions.
  • We recommend wearing light, comfortable cotton clothing and comfortable shoes.
  • The boat ride through Tongli’s canals is subject to weather conditions.


Start typing and press Enter to search