Shanghai
History & Heritage

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Our most recommended Shanghai History & Heritage

From Shanghai: Suzhou & Zhouzhuang Water Town with Boat Ride

1. From Shanghai: Suzhou & Zhouzhuang Water Town with Boat Ride

Discover two picturesque Chinese towns, Suzhou and Zhouzhuang, each with its own unique characteristics. Founded in around 600 BC, Suzhou is one of the oldest settlements in the Yangtze basin. Its neighborhoods and interconnected waterways are truly a masterpiece. Suzhou was one of the few cities in China to escape the ravages of the Cultural Revolution, its celebrated gardens miraculously surviving largely intact. Visit the Master of Nets Garden, the Silk Embroidery Research Institute, the Grand Canal and a silk factory while in Suzhou. After a traditional Chinese lunch, you'll travel to Zhouzhuang. Well known for its beautiful natural environment and simple architecture, this city has remained remarkably well-preserved for over 900 years. The majority of the town's residences were built during the Ming and Qing dynasties, with nearly 100 classic courtyards and 60 carved-brick archways from those periods still in use. Travel by boat through the city’s waterways and past classic Zhouzhuang dwellings before returning to Shanghai. Immerse yourself in the history of Shanghai with the assistance of your own personal guide.

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Shanghai Day Tour: Yu Yuan Gardens and the Shanghai Museum

2. Shanghai Day Tour: Yu Yuan Gardens and the Shanghai Museum

Begin with a visit to the Yuyuan Garden, a classic creation of the Ming Dynasty, before exploring the old streets of Shanghai dating back to the Qing Dynasty. Immerse yourself in the Shanghai Museum of Ancient Chinese Art, where a collection of more than 120,000 precious and rare works dazzles visitors, making it the most remarkable cultural institution in the city. Before lunch, visit the famous Silk Museum. After sampling local cuisine at lunchtime, enter the hallowed Jade Buddha Temple and marvel at priceless jade statues from Burma. Next up, enjoy a tour of the famous Bund, also known as the International Architecture Exhibition. Pause at one of the world's best pearl stores on route to Xin Tian Di, a stylish nightlife district with many boutiques, pubs and restaurants. Please note that Yuyuan Garden is closed on Mondays, so you will visit Confucius Temple instead. You will still visit the surrounding area of Yuyuan Garden, such as Shanghai Old Street and the Nine-Zigzag Bridge. Shanghai Museum is also closed on Mondays, so you will visit Shikumen Wulixiang Museum instead.

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Shanghai Highlights and Zhujiajiao Water Town Private Tour

3. Shanghai Highlights and Zhujiajiao Water Town Private Tour

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel or the cruise port, and then explore Shanghai with a private guide and driver. Marvel at the historic buildings of The Bund along the banks of the Huangpu River. Get sweeping views of both sides of the river before making your way to Yu Yuan Garden. Located by the City God Temple in the Old City, the traditional garden was built during the Ming Dynasty and features dozens of monuments, pagoda temples and water features. See an old Shanghai street from the Qing Dynasty and more. Continue to the former French Concession and explore the charming neighborhood established when the city was a French settlement. Next, visit the 400-year-old Zhujiajiao Water Town to see why its' often referred to as the Venice of the Orient. Enjoy lunch in a famous Chinese restaurant, and then take a boat ride to get a sense of traditional life in southern China. Stroll the old alleyways to see more buildings and bridges, and get some time to shop before the drive back to Shanghai.

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Shanghai: Private Tour of the Shanghai Museum

4. Shanghai: Private Tour of the Shanghai Museum

Explore one of the best museums in Shanghai on a 3-hour guided tour of the Shanghai Museum. Learn about the ancient stories of Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans while taking in the stunning atmosphere.  Meet your guide and enter the museum before exploring the long history of China with thousands of masterpieces of ancient Chinese artworks. Some were even made 3000 years ago.  Witness the creativeness of the ancient Chinese and find all different shapes of wine cups here, whether shaped like a dog or a human being.  See the ceramics, calligraphy, bronze objects, and many other elements together with your guide. Whether you are an archaeology and history fan, or not, you can have a lot of fun on this tour.

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Shanghai: Full-Day Sightseeing Tour with Lunch

5. Shanghai: Full-Day Sightseeing Tour with Lunch

Your tour guide and driver will pick you up at your Shanghai hotel at around 8:30 AM. The full-day tour begins with a drive to Shanghai Old Street, a business thoroughfare that today boasts a number of tourist attractions, shops, entertainment venues and cultural exhibits. Continue on to Yuyuan Garden, the largest of Shanghai's ancient gardens, featuring Ming and Qing architectural styles. Enjoy the experience of Yu Garden typical Shanghai tea. Next on the itinerary is a stop at The Bund, which for years was the symbol of Shanghai. New financial and commercial houses as well as grand buildings built in the 1930s in the European architectural styles cluster along the Bund. Stop at a local restaurant for a Chinese lunch and later visit the Shanghai Old Wax Figure Museum. Get a sense of the city throughout history through the museum’s scenes of everyday life in Shanghai. After a shopping stop at the Pearl City, you’ll head to a typical alley at Tianzifang. The legacy residential buildings and factories have been transformed into bars, cafes, crafts shops, design studios, galleries and boutiques. Take a walk around the Old French Concession, which is a perfect opportunity for a trip back in time to experience what the French colonial quarter was like. At the end of the tour, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel, arriving by 18:00.

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Su Zhou and Zhou Zhuang Water Village Day Tour

6. Su Zhou and Zhou Zhuang Water Village Day Tour

Depart from your downtown Shanghai hotel in a comfortable, air-conditioned minivan and begin the scenic journey to Suzhou, an ancient town famed for the beauty of its verdant gardens. Listen as your guide offers informative narration on the town hailed as the Venice of the east, and then disembark your coach to explore the Master of Nets Garden. Marvel at the town’s exquisite example of Ming Dynasty landscaping, and admire the harmonious style of Chinese garden construction. Continue to the town’s ancient city wall, reputed to date back to 600 BC, and stroll parallel to the picturesque Grand Canal. Conclude your tour of Suzhou with a visit to its 14th century silk factory, then revitalize with a delicious Chinese lunch in a local restaurant.  Afterwards, return to your vehicle to travel to Zhouzhuang, a quaint town thronged with winding waterways and charming structures. Admire the simple, perfectly preserved houses, and hear of how the town’s history dates back to the 11th century as you sail the canals in a Chinese sampan.  Relax during the journey back to your Shanghai hotel and bid farewell to your guide and group upon your return. 

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Shanghai: 8-Hour Private City Tour

7. Shanghai: 8-Hour Private City Tour

With complete flexibility, follow this itinerary or create your own for a unique Shanghai experience. After meeting your guide at your downtown location, start this 8-hour private tour at the Yu Yuan Garden. Explore the Shanghai Old Street before taking a break in an ancient Chinese tea house. Following tea, head to the People Square to see the City Hall and its surrounding buildings. Stroll along the Xintiandi in the charming former French Concession before enjoying lunch on your own. In the afternoon, marvel at the sacred 19th-century Jade Buddha Temple. Then, head to Bund, which is Shanghai's picturesque waterfront. Admire its soaring skyline and views of the Huangpu River. Drive to Pudong Business and Financial Center where all of the main skyscrapers are located. See the tallest building, Shanghai Tower, as well as the Bottle Opener and Jinmao Tower before being transferred back to your hotel or chosen downtown location.

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Shanghai Half Day Tour: Yu Yuan Gardens and Bund Waterway

8. Shanghai Half Day Tour: Yu Yuan Gardens and Bund Waterway

Discover the highlights of Shanghai on this half-day tour. Begin with a visit to the Bund, Shanghai’s picturesque waterfront, well known for its spectacular soaring skyline. From here, enjoy sweeping views of both sides of the Huangpu River. Traveling on, visit the intricately designed Yu Yuan Garden, a classic creation of the Ming dynasty, and the ancient Shanghai Old Street, which originated in the Qing dynasty. Enjoy more of Shanghai's history as you drive along the Former French Concession, a charming neighborhood established while Shanghai was a French settlement. Take time to browse and shop at the souvenir shop before the last stop at Xin Tian Di, a stylish nightlife district with a variety of boutiques, pubs and restaurants. Take advantage of the entertainment here on your own or choose to return to the start point. 

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From Shanghai: Suzhou Private Full-Day Trip by Fast Train

9. From Shanghai: Suzhou Private Full-Day Trip by Fast Train

Early In the morning, please go to Shanghai Railway Station by your own to catch bullet train G7006 departing at 9.00 am to Suzhou (25-minute journey), arrival at 9:25 am. The train ticket will be transferred to your accommodation before the trip. Suzhou was the capital of Wu culture 800 years ago and is one of China's leading historic cities. Developing around the Grand Canal that forged much of China's traditional north-south commerce Suzhou is built around a series of canals inspiring Chinese to consider it the "Venice of the East". Now a modern thriving city Suzhou maintains a traditional core surrounded by a moat and world famous as a UNESCO world heritage site for its traditional Chinese gardens. Upon arrival, you will be met by your local guide in Suzhou and transferred to visit one of China's most exquisite gardens, The Humble Administrator's Garden, a Cultural Heritage site including both a residential quarter and a delicately landscaped garden. You will learn the beauty of the well-known Suzhou Garden while wandering around the pavilions, bridges, houses, etc. in the garden. After lunch at a local restaurant, you will be transferred to Shantang Street that is the good example of the water town in Southern China with well-preserved the traditional architecture. You can wander around the old street to view the Opera Stage, Boat Museum etc. Then you will take a boat on the Grand Canal for about 40 minutes to view the scenery. Then you will be moved to the Suzhou Silk Museum that exhibit the history of Chinese Silk from ancient time to modern time. Afterwards you will be transferred to Suzhou Railway Station to catch bullet train back to Shanghai.

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Zhujiajiao Water Village: Private Tour from Shanghai

10. Zhujiajiao Water Village: Private Tour from Shanghai

Following pick-up from your hotel or the port in Shanghai at 10:00, journey for approximately 1-hour to the 400-year old water village of Zhujiajiao on the city's outskirts. Experience the "Venice of the Orient" up close with the help of your personal driver/guide. Climb aboard a boat to ride the waterways much like the residents would have done in years gone by. Take photographs of the village as you drift past historic buildings and houses. Then, take a walk along the old alleyways for even closer looks at the buildings and bridges, such as the 300-year old, Ming-era Fangsheng Bridge. Get recommendation on local restaurants to enjoy lunch at your own expense, or feel free to bring your own snacks to eat in a picturesque area.  Continue after lunch with a visit to some of the local shops in the afternoon. Bargain for good deals if you want to find souvenirs, experience everyday life or just have some fun! Then, journey back to Shanghai and get dropped off at your hotel or at the port.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Shanghai

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What people are saying about Shanghai

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 272 reviews

I had one of the best sightseeing tours. I left all the planning to Tom and he came up trumps. During these Covid times he had planned ahead to ensure we could enter all the attractions I wanted to see. He was knowledgeable, relaxed and easy to talk to. I look forward to my next trip to Shanghai when I will book Tom again. I will also recommend him to friends and colleagues who visit Shanghai too.

What a great way to see a lot of the major Shanghai sights (in a day!). Tom was a fantastic guide and spoke perfect English. I have been to many temples throughout Asia, but learned more about Buddhist temples and Chinese Buddha statues through Tom than all previous temple tours combine. He’s extremely knowledgable, not just on Buddhism, but all of Shanghai and it’s culture and history.

Tom was an amazing tour guide who was flexible and wonderfully knowledgeable. He communicates so well both before and during the tour I learned so much from him about the local history and even the plans for the city in the future. Would definitely recommend you book his tour! (I travel extensively and he is one of the best most knowledgeable guides I’ve ever had!)

Our guide Tom was so informative. We learnt so much about Shanghai and their culture and history. We had some requirements which got sorted to make it a great experience. We got so much out of it in such a short time

Tom is a great guide. Vast knowledge about history, but also gives interesting facts about Chinese lifestyle. I enjoyed every moment. Definitely will recommend.