Shanghai
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Shanghai Culture & History

Shanghai: Zhujiajiao UNESCO Water Town Afternoon Tour

1. Shanghai: Zhujiajiao UNESCO Water Town Afternoon Tour

You can either make your own way to the meeting point or be collected at your accommodation. Board the bus and leave Shanghai. Head to the oldest and most well-protected water village in China.  Located 16 miles west of downtown Shanghai, Zhujiajiao water village is 400 years old and is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Discover the picturesque canals and rivers and admire the large Dian Shan Lake. Take the opportunity to go shopping, take a stroll, and explore this beautiful village. Try some local street food and be amazed by the tastes. You can even practice your bargaining skills at the local shops. After spending three hours taking in the local culture, you will return to downtown Shanghai for approximately 6:30 PM.

From Shanghai: Suzhou & Zhouzhuang Water Town with Boat Ride

2. 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.

From Shanghai: Hangzhou, West Lake Cruise and Tea Plantation

3. From Shanghai: Hangzhou, West Lake Cruise and Tea Plantation

With its inviting views and outstanding scenery, Hangzhou is one of the leading tourist destinations in all of China. It is a city rich with history and was once the capital of China in the 12th Century. After a 3-hour drive, you will first cruise across the West Lake to view unforgettable scenery such as the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, the Bai Causeway and Solitary Hill. After a traditional Chinese lunch, you will visit Guo’s Villa, one of the best traditional private gardens in the city. Hangzhou is also famous for its Dragon Well tea and you can discover the history of Chinese tea and the traditional tea ceremony on a visit to the Meijiawu Tea Village. Before returning to Shanghai, you will enjoy a drive along the Qiantang River where you can view the Liuhe Pagoda, also known as the Six Harmonies Pagoda. On this tour, you can immerse yourself in the history of Shanghai with the assistance of your own personal guide.

Private Day Tour to Wuxi Lingshan Grand Buddha and Tai Lake

4. Private Day Tour to Wuxi Lingshan Grand Buddha and Tai Lake

In the morning, your private tour guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel lobby at 8:00am. After a 3-hour drive, you will arrive at the Lingshan Grand Buddha, which is the number one attraction in Wuxi. It stands 88 meters tall and is the tallest bronze Buddha in the world. You will develop a comprehensive understanding about Buddhism and you can admire the Nine Dragons Bathing Shakyamuni and Ode to Auspice in Brahma Palace. Visit the Five Mudra Mandala and touch the largest Buddha's hand, which is said to bring you good fortune and longevity. Then you will have a vegetarian buffet lunch in the temple. After the spiritual tour, it is time to relax your body and mind with breathtaking natural scenery. You will have a walk along the northern bank of Taihu Lake. Taihu Lake is another of Wuxi’s Icons and is the third largest freshwater lake in China. You will then return to your hotel after the walk.

Shanghai: Xintiandi, CCP Museum and French Concession Tour

5. Shanghai: Xintiandi, CCP Museum and French Concession Tour

After meeting your guide at the meeting point or being picked up from your hotel, start this private tour that explores the most important sites in Shanghai. The first stop will be Tianzifang, a cozy neighborhood housing some of Shanghai's most interesting and creative businesses. Your guide will then walk you to the Former French Concession, also known as the FFC, and bring you to the Shanghai Associated House Common Pleas. Listen to the interesting stories about how the UK, US and France ran their courts in Shanghai. Next, head to the Sinan Mansions, an area where only Western villas were allowed to be built. Visit the former residence of general Zhou Enlai, housed in a beautiful French-style building, which was also used as the Shanghai Office of the Delegates of the Communist Party of China. Then marvel at Dr Sun Yat-Sen’s former residence, where most of the elements remain untouched. Learn about how he influenced the revolution in China and how he is still one of the most renowned figures in Chinese society.  Finally, visit the Xintiandi, where the CCP was formed. Visit the site of the first National Congress of the CCP to learn how they came into power in China. Your tour will conclude here. You can get advice from your local guide about eateries or bars in the surrounding area.

Shanghai Half Day Tour: Yu Yuan Gardens and Bund Waterway

6. 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. 

Zhouzhuang: Half Day Tour with Zhang Hall and Shen Hall

7. Zhouzhuang: Half Day Tour with Zhang Hall and Shen Hall

Experience the picturesque water town of Zhouzhuang on this delightful half-day tour. With its interconnected waterways and beautiful landscapes, it is often referred to as the number one water town in China. Well-preserved for over 900 years, it is renowned for its elegant and simple architecture. 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. Take in the exquisite ancient architecture of Zhang Hall and Shen Hall, then take a scenic cruise across the old town. After seeing all there is to see of this incredible ancient village, you will return to Shanghai.

Shanghai: 8-Hour Private City Tour

8. 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.

Shanghai: Private Tour of the Shanghai Museum

9. 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.

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.

Frequently asked questions about Shanghai Culture & History

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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.

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.

Tom was an amazing guide and he incredibly informative!