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Family Tour around Shanghai: Suzhou or Hangzhou

It is no doubt that Shanghai must be on the top of your list for a family tour in China. For families with a more flexible schedule, you may think about continue your family tour around Shanghai for more fun. Suzhou and Hangzhou are really suitable for your family, no matter for the famous attractions, delicious food, rich culture, or convenient transportation.

To speak of Suzhou and Hangzhou, Chinese people may immediately have this old saying in mind: “Up in heaven there is Paradise, down on Earth there are Suzhou and Hangzhou”. The beautiful sceneries and splendid culture in Suzhou and Hangzhou attract a number of tourists from China and abroad each year.

Suzhou or Hangzhou


Choose between Suzhou and Hangzhou

Suzhou or Hangzhou? Which one is better for a family tour with kids? Here are some basic information about Suzhou and Hangzhou in the chart, which may help you make a decision on touring Suzhou or Hangzhou during your family tour in Shanghai.


  Suzhou Hangzhou
History About 2,500 years More than 2,200 years
Symbolic features Classic gardens; water towns; ancient streets West Lake; water towns; tea villages
Family-friendly activities Visiting gardens and water towns; boating; Grand Canal Night Cruise; exploring silk culture; watching Kunqu Opera Biking and boating around West Lake; watching Impression of the West Lake; visiting water towns; exploring silk and tea culture
Must-try food

Pan-fried Pork Buns

Squirrel-shaped Mandarin Fish

West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy

Dongpo Pork

Best time to visit April to October March to April; September to October
High Speed Train from Shanghai 30 minutes 50 minutes


Why to Choose Suzhou?

Suzhou is renowned for the classic gardens, visiting Suzhou Gardens must be the most important reason for you to choose Suzhou over Hangzhou. Except for the name as city of gardens, Suzhou is also called Oriental Venice, with many waterways running through ancient bridges among characteristic architectures. Plenty of choices for water towns also provide your family great experience in China.

Humble Administrator Garden in Suzhou
Humble Administrator Garden

Classic Gardens

  • Humble Administrator Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site first constructed from Ming Dynasty, is the largest garden in Suzhou and the most representative classic garden in China. It is also the only museum for Chinese traditional garden art, where the Suzhou Garden Museum is located.
  • Lingering Garden, dated back to Ming Dynasty, has the most exquisite architectural layout among all the classic gardens with countless rare stones. It also wins the reputation as one of the most famous gardens in China, along with Humble Administrator Garden.
  • Lion Grove Garden, built in Yuan Dynasty, is famous for the complicated but designable construction of rockery groups. Influenced by both western gardening arts and Chinese Buddhism culture, it is considered to be a perfect combination of garden and temple.
  • Master of Nets Garden, the smallest garden in Suzhou which is well-known for its delicate design. Being enchanted by the glamor of Suzhou classic gardens, a small classic garden was built inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, on the basis of the original style from a small part called Dianchunyi in this outstanding Master of Nets Garden.
  • Canglang Pavilion is also UNESCO World Heritage Site in Suzhou. Built in North Song Dynasty, it is also the oldest garden in Suzhou.

Water Towns

If you would like to explore the long history and rich culture of Jiangnan Area in the ancient times, here in Suzhou, you could have a wonderful memory with your family in a water town. Imagine the fascinating water views combine with ancient bridges and architectures in black and white, taking a boat around a water town is like wondering in a beautiful picture. You can choose among Zhouzhuang Water Town, Tongli Water Town and Luzhi Water Town. Just enjoy your amazing water tour in Suzhou.

Tongli Water Town
Tongli Water Town

  • Zhouzhuang Water Town, with 14 well-preserved ancient stone bridges from the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, is one of the top water towns in China. More than 60% of the local houses are still with the architectural style from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, besides, there are also plenty of historical sites you can visit.
  • Tongli Water Town, built in the Song Dynasty, has a profound history of more than 1,000 years. Tongli Water Town is surrounded by water from the four sides, as the whole water town has been divided into 7 islands by the river. It’s very enjoyable to have a leisure time on the boat and appreciate the wonderful sceneries around you.
  • Luzhi Water Town has a long history of over 2,500 years. It will be an ideal choice for your family if you prefer a less crowded water town to visit. Except for familiar sceneries of ancient buildings, stone bridges and water views, you can also enjoy some performances here, which will a great culture experience in China.

Famous Ancient Streets

As one of the most famous historical cities in China, Suzhou still has a lot for your family to explore. Never miss ancient streets if you come to Suzhou. Go to Pingjiang Road and Shantang Ancient Street, you can closely experience the local lifestyle and profound history along the streets.

Besides, you can find lots of local snacks and souvenirs along various shops in the ancient streets. You can choose some for your family or your friends. If you have a flexible schedule, our suggestion is to take a stroll around both Pingjiang Road and Shantang Ancient Street. Some local restaurants are worth your try as well, kids will love the flavor so much.

Pingjiang Road
Pingjiang Road

Don’t miss silk products in Suzhou. You can buy some cute Qipaos for your kids, and they will be really happy to wear it during school events or for Chinese New Year. Besides, take your kids to Suzhou Silk Factory or Suzhou Museum if you want this family trip more meaningful and educational.



Why to Choose Hangzhou?

Hangzhou, with West Lake as its most attractive feature, has become one of the top tourist cities in China. Combined with mountains, lakes, historical pagodas and bridges, the incredible beauty of Hangzhou offers you the best reason to pay for a visit. Moreover, Hangzhou will be your perfect choice if you’re interested in Chinese silk and tea culture. You’d better not miss charming Hangzhou during your family tour in China.

West Lake

West Lake must be the first thing springs to your mind if someone mentions Hangzhou. As tourists go to Suzhou for classic gardens, the most important reason for visiting Hangzhou must be West Lake. No matter which season you come, what you can see around West Lake are so out of ordinary, from day to night.

Divided into 5 parts, West Lake is embraced by green mountains, small islands and lake dykes. There are more than 100 small attractions around West Lake, the most famous spots are Broken Bridge, Su Causeway and Lefeng Pagoda.

West Lake
West Lake

Various of ways to do some sightseeing around West Lake add more fun to your family tour. You can take a stroll with your kids, paddle a boat or cruise on the lake, meanwhile, go cycling around West Lake can be more interesting. You can also watch Impression of West Lake if you really love West Lake.

Water Towns

Suzhou is not the only place that you could experience the glamor of ancient water towns. Here in Hangzhou, you’ve got plenty of choices as well. Here are some recommended water towns, which enjoy very good reputation among our customers.

Wuzhen Water Town
Wuzhen Water Town

  • Wuzhen Water Town, situated 60 kilometers away from Hangzhou, has a splendid long history of more than six thousand years. With the Grand Canal passing by, Wuzhen Water Town kindly shows a picture of charming ancient town with long history, colorful folk culture and extraordinary landscape.
  • Xitang Water Town, takes about 90 minutes to get from Hangzhou, is also a famous ancient town, smaller, less commercialized with more original outlook of how a typical ancient water town should be.
  • Nanxun Water Town has the most original ancient architectures and culture. Numerous historical sites along with the beautiful natural sceneries create a poetic world full of harmony.

Meijiawu Tea Village

Longjing Tea, or Dragon Well Tea, is the best green tea in China. For experiencing tea culture, usually you just have a drink in the tea house, or buy some as souvenirs for families and friends. But in Hangzhou, you can visit Meijiawu Tea Village to discover the rich tea culture on your own, because you can get to know how the tea trees grow, ways to pick the tea leaves and procedures of tea making.

Meijiawu Tea Village
Meijiawu Tea Village

Except for attractions above, there are plenty more famous attractions that you can visit in Hangzhou, such as Lingyin Temple, Six Harmonies Pagoda and Qinghefang Street. If you are really interested in the tea or silk culture, you can explore more at China Tea Museum or China Silk Museum Hangzhou.


Connect Your Family Tour with Suzhou or Hangzhou

It’s totally worthy to choose either Suzhou or Hangzhou for family tour around Shanghai. Choose the one you and your kids like the most according to places you want to visit and things to you want to do, or you can go to the two cities if you have a flexible schedule. See our tours below for some inspiration.


  • 5 Days Shanghai and Suzhou Tour: Jade Buddha Temple, the Bund, Yuyuan Garden, Nanjing Road, Humble Administrator Garden, Silk Factory, Tongli water town

  • 5 Days Shanghai and Hangzhou Tour: Jade Buddha Temple, the Bund, Yuyuan Garden, Nanjing Road, West Lake, Linyin Temple, Six Harmonious Pagoda, Qinghefang Street, Meijiawu Tea Village

Check more Suzhou Tours and Hangzhou Tours. You can even visit both Suzhou and Hangzhou during your family tour in China, you’ll definitely enjoy your time in these two cities.

You can make your own plan connecting Suzhou and Hangzhou with Shanghai, or just tell us your requirements, and we’ll customize the best family tour for you.

Know more China Family Tours if you have interests.


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