Meet your private guide upon pickup at the Suzhou railway station or your hotel lobby in Suzhou city. Set out on a full day of sightseeing in the comfort of an air-conditioned private vehicle, and talk with your guide about any particular interests you have so the commentary and itinerary can be customized.
Your day starts at the Retreat and Reflection Garden, a traditional Suzhou-style garden. Built in 1885, it joined Suzhou's other classical gardens in 2001 in becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In spite of the garden's similarities to other standard Suzhou-style layouts, the east-west axis is unique for the region. Your private guide will accompany you along the way, introducing the varied and unique features.
Next, you will visit Luo Xingzhou, a small island town at the heart of Tongli Lake. Regal housing and gardens and ancient bridges and walkways merge to create a magical isle. Cruise the tranquil waters in a traditional wooden boat, taking in the river's vistas before wandering the island town.
Break for lunch at a Chinese restaurant (own expense).
After lunch, visit Chongben Hall to view its intricate collection of wood carvings inspired by the folklore of the Yangtze River Delta. You will also walk around Jiayin Hall, a traditional mansion constructed in 1912. Scattered with engravings depicting "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", a seminal Chinese novel, the complexity and precision of the craftsmanship and carvings in this mansion are simply astounding.
The Pearl Tower tells a tale of Tongli's ancient past, a fascinating story of a man named Fang who through various trials and tribulations eventually received the tower. Riddled with old relics, the structure exudes classical Suzhou architectural flair and overlooks traditional gardens. Climb the tower to enjoy spectacular views from atop.
After that, move on to the next touristspot The Three Bridges. Tongli has more than 50 bridges, however the three most popular are the Taiping, Jili, and Changqing bridges. When celebrating milestones such as births, weddings or birthdays, locals will cross the bridges and pray for health, happiness, and future prosperity. As you walk the bridges, your guide will explain their folklores while you take in the scenery.
End your private tour with a drive back to your hotel or the Suzhou railway station.