Shanghai, the metropolis, is called “Mo Du (魔都)” by Chinese people. Mo means ambition and Du means metropolis.
Many people are familiar with the spectacular riverside of the Bund and ambitious skyline of Pudong. But they often overlook the city’s soft side. If Shanghai is like an elegant lady, water towns are her tenderness. They preserve well an ancient atmosphere which is unique to China. Ordinary people still live in the water towns.
Let’s explore this ambitious city and her extra elegance. Remember her tenderness and get to know her more completely.
Take a short break to Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang Ancient Town. If you are brave enough, walk across the world’s longest and highest glass bridge at Zhangjiajie.
Our Tours Are
Our local guide will not only show you the sites, but will also reveal the stories behind the buildings and tours that no other company offers, which will enrich your experience and give you in turn stories to tell.
The restaurants we pick are those we use to treat our own family and friends. They provide an authentic food experience, and your guide will help you order the food you like.
If you have a special itinerary in mind for a special event, we are confident we can help you create that itinerary. Over 35% of our customers use our tailor-made service.
Travel Confidently with Our Shanghai Specialists
Tour Design & Marketing
Vivian has been to Shanghai many times. She likes to stroll around the streets and alleys, exuding the breath of new life, and has made in-depth investigations about the city’s different sites and activities. She is an expert in improving customers’ travel experiences.
Shanghai Travel Advisor
Vanessa has worked as a travel consultant for over 10 years, has often been given 100% ratings by satisfied customers, and has helped over 4,200+ tourists create their trips to China. Want help? Contact her at 800-933-7181.
or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shanghai Tour Guide
Summer is one of our top guides. She is proficient in Shanghai history and culture, and in providing cultural insights into the places you visit.
There is a saying that the tour guide is the soul of a tour group. See what customers said about Summer.>>
Si Xiao Li
Xiaoli is the local operator in our Shanghai office, in charge of implementation of tour itineraries, including tour guides, cars, drivers, tickets and restaurants. She makes sure your tour goes smoothly.
Customers Frequently Asked Questions
Best Time to Visit Shanghai and Water Towns
You can visit Shanghai all year round. The most comfortable seasons in the city arespring and autumn, and the scenery is also pleasant then.
There are fewer tourists during weekdays. So it is recommended to visit water towns during weekdays.
You are recommended to avoid Chinese public holidays from 1st to 3rd May (Labor Day) and 1st to 7th October (National Day). During these holidays it’s crowded and hard to buy tickets.
Why Visit Water Towns?
- They are nice places for escaping from pressure. Slow down and listen to romantic stories or anecdotes that took place there. Take a boat trip and relax.
- They are unique to China.
- They are close to Shanghai, Hangzhou or Suzhou, so transportation is convenient and basic infrastructure is well established.
- They preserve well an ancient atmosphere and ordinary people still live there. With our insightful local guides, visitors can understand the culture of water towns very well.
- Their air quality is excellent.
Distinctive Features of Water Towns
There are many attractions in this big water town. When meeting a tour group, you can see other attraction. When they leave, return.
Chinese style architecture mixes with western style. Different from girly, small water towns, Nanxun is like a rich bel-esprit Profound water town history The most civilized and affluent town in the past
100 Residential Houses
A gondola ride
Little Lotus Garden
Former Residence of Zhang Shiming
The Spanish-style Former Residence of the Liu Family (Red Houses)
Hangzhou: 1 1/2h
Not crowd at all. Quiet at night.
Elegant and small water town Most buildings in Tongli are situated along the waterways. At night, it is quiet, and many Chinese lanterns will be lit up.
Three Bridges Area
A gondola ride
Not many visitors in town in the mornings (before 12:00) on weekdays
There are not many visitors in town in the mornings (before 12:00) on weekdays.
Over 1,000 well-preserved houses built in the Ming (1368–1644 AD) and Qing (1644–1912 AD) dynasties line the streets. It is a foodie’s paradise. Visitors like to sample snacks there.
Taking a Gondola
The Qing Dynasty Post Office
Crowded but orderly
Large –scale Qing dynasty architecture is well-preserved
East Area (Dong Zha/dong jaa/ 东栅)
West Area (Xi Zha /sshee jaa/ 西栅)
7 hours/2 days
Always filled with big tourist groups
Local wealthy and influential family-Zhang and Shen family
7 hours or 2 days
Crowded and commercial
Little old street with not much to see
Pleasantly empty, except at weekends
Mission Impossible III was filmed here
Acommadation We Recommend
Stay in a riverside hotel along the Bund to watch the splendid skyline of Pudong
Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund(Five-star) Ranked #2 on Trip Advisorv
Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai (Five-star) Ranked #7 on Trip Advisor
Les Suites Orient, Bund Shanghai (Five-star) Ranked #20 on Trip Advisor (Best price among all the five-star hotels on the Bund )
Hotels in Pudong
Mandarin Oriental Pudong (Five-star) Ranked #1 on Trip Advisor
Four Seasons Shanghai Pudong (Five-star) Ranked #2 on Trip Advisor
Kingstown Hotel Plaza Shanghai (3-star)
Do I Need a Visa?
144-hour visa-free transit policy
If you meet the following criteria, you can travel to Shanghai and some places nearby (like water towns, Suzhou and Hangzhou) for up to 144 hours without applying for a visa:
1. You are in transit to a third country or region (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are included). For example: USA–Shanghai–Hong Kong is acceptable for a 144-hour transit visa in Shanghai, but USA–Shanghai– USA is not.
2. You travel around Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces but do not go to other provincial level areas in China.
3. Your transit time is no more than 144 hours (from the first 00:00 hrs after entering).
4. Your port of entry is named in the policy.
5. You are citizen of one of the 51 countries included in the policy.
See whether your entry port and country are listed in the policy.
Need a visa
If you don’t meet all the criteria, you need to apply for a visa before traveling to China. Read: How to Get a China Visa.
This was our 2nd tour with the Shanghai Highlights tour company having taken the Classic and Modern Shanghai Highlights the day before and this tour was every bit as satisfying. Our guide was Kris Lee, an informative and friendly guide....>>
Kris Lee was our guide extraordinary on the day. His English and knowledge of each venue was outstanding. He made us feel very comfortable and was constantly being helpful. The lunch venue he choose was very good and we enjoyed the meal and his company at great deal...>>
We had a great few days in and around Shanghai with our local guide, Sophie Lee arranged with China Highlights. Sophie is an excellent, professional, smart, flexible, knowledgeable guide with strong English skills, and a thoughtful, reflective personality...>>