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8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 8

Day 8 – Shanghai to Singapore

This was the day we would depart Shanghai to return to Singapore. Breakfast was the usual affair, so underwhelming and not worth reporting. The good thing was we didn’t have to get up very early to have breakfast before 7 am.

Our departure flight out of Shanghai was 4.25 pm so we had plenty of time to slack during the morning. So we spent more time resting a while longer in our room watching TV. The view outside our window was so uninspiring like a war zone around us so we kept the curtains drawn for a better TV viewing experience even though the programs on TV were mostly Chinese.

After 9 am, we made our way slowly to the hotel lobby. We had already left our luggage outside our room for the porters to transfer to the bus. At the lobby, tour members mingled and chatted while Jackie was busy at front desk with check out procedures. When he was done, he came over to gather us to board the bus.

Finally, it was time to leave the hotel. It was a good day and the sky was clear and sunny this winter morning. The bus moved off once everyone had boarded and our bus driver tried to put on his best behaviour, smiled and greeted us as he had been rude and reckless at times during the past seven days and incurred a fine for driving into a no entry road in Hangzhou. The left over cigarette smell on the bus left much to be desired as well. This good behaviour was understandable as he probably hoped for some goodwill tips for providing us an extra shopping stop at the Asia Pacific Tourist Market the day before.


Before heading for the airport, we still had one last official shopping stop near the airport. We would be visiting a Jewelry Factory in Shanghai. As this factory was located nearer to the airport, that was probably why we had not gone to this place the day before where our itinerary was quite light. In about an hour, we arrived at an industrial area and soon our bus stopped and parked along the road outside a factory building. Continue reading 8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 8

8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 7

Day 7 – Shanghai

This was the best morning where we didn’t have to wake very early to head for breakfast and then rush out for tours. Our itinerary in Shanghai was so thin and having rejected the proposal brought up by Jackie and the driver the previous day with exorbitant cost, we could take our time to rest more in the hotel.

When we finally felt like it was time to replenish our stomach, we went to the restaurant for breakfast. It was already 7.45 am and the restaurant wasn’t crowded. The restaurant was spacious but a little run down. The buffet spread was just passable for this local 5-star hotel. How we missed the breakfast in Jiaxing the day before at Sunshine Hotel! We didn’t take long to get out of the restaurant after the quick breakfast.

Back in our room, when we pulled away the curtains, it was an astonishing sight. It was definitely not a view to die for. The surrounding of the hotel looked like a war zone with plots of lands under reconstruction and high rise apartments much further away. There were some houses and a big factory or warehouse facility nearby. It seemed like we were at the edge of the city in Shanghai. Had we booked our own hotel, we would never consider this location.

So with plenty of time, we chilled out in our room watching TV. It was good to chat with the children back home and surf the Internet as well. Finally, it was time to gather at the lobby to go for lunch. At the lobby, we mingled with the rest of the tour members. A few had apparently gone out to a shopping mall not very far away using the subway. It was a little walk to the metro station though. When everyone had gathered, Jackie led us out to board the bus. Continue reading 8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 7

8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 6

Day 6 – Jiaxing to Shanghai

We went for breakfast early as usual. This restaurant on the second floor was rather posh. The buffet spread was much better than the rest of the hotels we had stayed so far. Food quality was really good. We had a great breakfast this morning. Jackie was right. Sunshine Hotel was a good hotel in Jiaxing and one of the best on our lists of hotels for our China tour.

Having rested a while more in our room, we returned our room key to front desk. Our bags were already collected by the porters earlier. Sunshine Hotel is located along a main road. When everything was settled, we boarded our bus at the main entrance and started our tour for the day.


This morning, we would be visiting the Transformers Theme Park founded by Mr. Iron Team. This is the first park themed with the steel carving art for robots in China. Jiaxing is a small city. In about 20 minutes, we arrived at an industrial park area where this theme park was located. We alighted and noticed there was a car cut into two halves artistically erected on the road divider in front of the theme park entrance.

We wasted no time to enter the theme park with great excitement. We were not going for some thrill rides but to admire some metal art pieces here. The hall at the entrance wasn’t very impressive but there were a few pieces of metal art objects served as decorative art pieces. However, once we stepped into the open compound, it was a different world altogether. Continue reading 8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 6

8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 5

Day 5 – Hangzhou to Jiaxing

It was the usual early breakfast again in order to beat the crowd so we could brush up and rest a little before leaving the hotel. After a few days, the buffet breakfast became more or less about the same in these local 5-star hotels. There was nothing special to report about the breakfast other than the poor translation for some of the dishes into English that turned into some offensive joke.

So after using the toilet and rested a little more, it was time to head to the lobby to get ready to start the day tour in Hangzhou. This hotel has a mini convenience store at the corner of the lobby which is quite handy. The location of this hotel was not so ideal but since we arrived late at night, there was no point venturing out on a cold winter night to explore.

Outside the hotel was a huge carpark with several tour buses parked there. This hotel is more suitable for tour groups for convenience of parking tour buses as parking charges in Hangzhou are insanely expensive. When the luggage from our group had been loaded up the bus, we set off for our first destination, the famous Westlake in Hangzhou.

We didn’t notice any local guide coming on board with us this morning. Jackie mentioned that the local guide had called to report that he was unwell so we won’t have a local guide this morning. It wasn’t a problem at all as Jackie could act as our local guide being a local of this city.

It was a little misty early this morning as we travelled towards Westlake which wasn’t very far away. Due to the heavy traffic, it took us about 25 minutes to arrive. Our driver Mr. Zhang was driving into Westlake and was looking for a suitable place for us to alight. While driving in the vicinity of Westlake, he took a wrong turn into a no entry side road. We were surprised as the no entry sign was clearly seen. Perhaps he had missed it which didn’t surprise us as he had been reckless at times during these past few days.




There was a lot of shouting from people on the road pointing at him as there were also road works on this side road. He didn’t go very far up this road and he stopped the bus quickly. We were told to alight quickly as well. By now, many people on the road were staring at him and people were talking about him getting into trouble for this traffic offence. An officer was walking up to him while we were walking away from the bus.

We were already inside Westlake so we crossed the road and walked towards the entrance while our driver reversed the bus slowly and then drove off along the road. Having been to Westlake for several tours, this was the first time we encountered such trouble. Anyway, we soon forgot about our driver and we moved on to enjoy the beautiful park in Westlake which was getting crowded so early barely 9 am in the morning.

The park by the lake was indeed beautiful, so serene and calm exuding an air of peace and joy. This was no doubt a happy place to be and not a sad face to be found. The ground at the entrance was decorated with pretty flowers and the park was very well kept. The lake was peaceful with the occasional boat man steering and rowing their small fishing boat on the lake with the unmistakable Lei Feng Pagoda on the lake. The willows along the lake provided graceful adornment to this famous Westlake of Hangzhou City.


We walked along the lake and took pictures and enjoy the sight as we strolled along. Jackie went to the ticket booth to secure tickets for our boat rides on the lake. There were shops at the park by the lake selling souvenirs and such and visitors were taking pictures excitedly waiting for their boat rides. Although this was a winter morning, the temperature wasn’t too low and made for a pleasant stroll in the park. Continue reading 8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 5

8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 4

Day 4 – Nanjing to Hangzhou

This was another usual morning where we went to the restaurant to be among the first to get our breakfast fixed. Buffet spread was ready when we arrived and we got our food which was pretty much about the same standards with the previous few hotels we had stayed the past few days. The restaurant was nice and the food was pretty alright with mostly Chinese dishes plus some western items. With breakfast done, we went back to our room.

From our room windows, we could see high rise buildings and the giant ferries wheel at the amusement park. The sun was rising and it looked like a promising day. We brushed up and got ourselves comfortable to get ready to head out for our tour activities. Our bags were already left outside the room for the porters while we rested a little more in our room.

After a while, we returned our room keys to front desk and chatted with other tour members waiting at the lobby. We also went out of the hotel for a quick look and the weather looked pretty good for our morning tour of Nanjing. The surrounding was quiet early this morning except noisy tour groups were loitering at the lobby waiting to leave the hotel.

It was a hive of activities at the hotel with porters busy counting luggage and loading them up buses. Eventually, we boarded our bus and were soon on our way to tour Nanjing. The local guide Jimmy wasn’t at the hotel to join us this morning. He was waiting for us at the first destination at the Yangtze River Bridge.


It was a good day with the sun shinning brightly so it was not so cold this winter morning. Whenever we visited Nanjing during winter in the past, this city had been freezing cold. So we were rather glad we had good weather this time.

We left the hotel around 8 am. Our driver seemed to know the way around as we pulled away from this shopping district to rendezvous with Jimmy at the Yangtze River Bridge. We were in good time to begin our day. Just 15 minutes into the journey, we were caught in a horrible traffic jam near an underpass. It was so confusing and everyone was speculating whether there was a terrible accident down the road. Our driver was getting impatient and started cursing. Continue reading 8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 4

8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 3 (DECEMBER 2015)

Day 3 – Wuxi to Nanjing

We woke up early on Christmas morning. We spent a cold and wet Christmas Eve at Qingming Bridge Cultural Area the previous night without much Christmas festivities. Perhaps the city centre in Wuxi might be more happening but we just won’t know. Two years ago, we spent Christmas Eve in Nanjing but our hotel was so far out of the way we didn’t experience any Christmas celebration either. However, some tour group members took a taxi to the city centre which was jammed packed with people and they only managed to return to the hotel after midnight.

Last year, our Christmas Eve was spent in Hanoi. The city centre was likewise packed with young people to enjoy a romantic night out for picture moments and then the following Christmas Day was just an ordinary day where everything was back to normal without much of a trace of Christmas. This was interesting for us tourists to experience how other nationalities celebrate or observe Christmas.

Again, we went for breakfast very early without leaving our luggage outside our room for the porters. We were among the first to be at the restaurant. The buffet spread was almost ready and we took our seats first and indulged in a cup of coffee to get us started this morning. When the food were all ready, we helped ourselves to the wide varieties of dishes available though mostly Chinese food but they were quite good. The restaurant was nicely decorated with a Christmas theme and the food presentation was good. Soon more guests came in for breakfast including some from our tour group. It was a good breakfast to start our day.

We left soon after to return to our room to use the toilet to make ourselves comfortable and then brushed up to get ready to check out. We then left our luggage outside our room for the porters and continued to linger in our room while others were still taking their time over breakfast. When the hotel staff came to check the room, we decided to head to the hotel lobby and we returned our room keys to front desk.


We checked the hotel surrounding while waiting for everyone to be ready to start our tour for the day. The hotel is located in an area that looks like a commercial centre. It was quiet all around and the sun was beginning to make its presence felt this cold winter morning. So this was not going to be a wet and raining day.

Finally when Jackie had settled everything with the hotel, we boarded the tour bus to begin our day tour in Wuxi. Of course the lady local guide who left us the night before was at the hotel to join us and she took over the bus and addressed us with some introductory information on the city and its products. This was going to be a shopping tour this morning in Wuxi. Continue reading 8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – DAY 3 (DECEMBER 2015)

8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – Day 2 (DECEMBER 2015)

Day 2 – Suzhou to Wuxi

We woke up before the morning call. The instruction was to leave our bags outside our room and then go for breakfast and thereafter wait to board the bus. Our bags would be taken care off by the hotel porters. However, we always prefer to use the toilet before leaving so we would leave for breakfast early and then return to our room again and thereafter leave our bags outside the room.

So we went to the restaurant very early and the staff were just getting ready. Nevertheless, all the food were already placed at their respective stations. Although the food items were not so warm, we were happy to have an early breakfast. Despite this hotel being not up to par in our opinion as far as our room was concerned, the breakfast spread however was pretty decent.

Most of the food items of course were local food. There were some western food items as well. Although the food was not fantastic for a five-star hotel, we were quite satisfied, especially on a cold winter morning having hot food was definitely something to look forward to. Soon some of our tour members began to show up for breakfast. We chatted a little and continued with our breakfast. After two rounds of helping we left the restaurant to return to our room.

It was good to be back in our room to brush up and make ourselves comfortable with the toilet at our disposal. When we were done, we left our bags outside our room but we rested a little more in our room. It was getting brighter outside and from our room window, we could see our tour bus below. Soon it was time to get going to start our tour for the day.

Window view from room
Window view from room
Tour bus right below
Tour bus right below

Everyone was waiting at the lobby and looked happy and satisfied after breakfast looking forward to the tour for the day. Our tour guide Jackie having counted the tour members and checked to ensure the porters loaded up all our bags requested that we board the bus. We had a long day ahead firstly to tour Suzhou followed by driving to Wuxi for afternoon and evening tour activities before we could check into our hotel over there that night.

It was cold outdoor but when we got up the bus, it was very comfortable with the heater turned on. Our bus driver Mr. Zhang was in a good mood and greeted us as we boarded the bus. The lady local guide who briefed us about Suzhou the night before was at the hotel as well and boarded the bus with us.

Suzhou used to have thousand over rivers in the city, a Venice of the East in mega proportion. This was much earlier than Venice became famous for its unique beauty in Italy. There are still many rivers remaining in Suzhou even though the main mode of transportation in this city is no longer by boats on the river. This city is famous for their beautiful ladies and their soft-spoken tongue and manner of life.




As the bus pulled out, she continued her work to introduce Suzhou and the famous local silk product where we would be visiting a silk factory later. Our first stop was to visit a museum in Suzhou. This museum was designed by a world renown Chinese architect from the US who gave this last piece of work to Suzhou so the museum has a unique design where the East and West would complement nicely into a piece of artwork like building.


Not long after her introduction we arrived not far from the museum where we had to alight to take a short walk to the entrance of this museum. It was still quite cold in the morning and the streets were not crowded. The walk to the entrance didn’t take more than five minutes. At the entrance, we were briefed about the interior of the museum and the time allocated for us to explore the place and then we would meet again at a designated spot where we could be easily found.

The entrance of the museum had already caught our attention. A number of us were already busy clicking away with our cameras. Once inside the museum, we continued to explore the interior but most of us were more interested in taking pictures of this unique and beautifully designed museum. Sad to say, we were less interested in the exhibits though they were worthy of their status in the museum. Unless we are Chinese history students, most of the art pieces have little relevance to us.

Continue reading 8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS JIANGNAN TOUR – SHANGHAI, SUZHOU, WUXI, NANJING, HANGZHOU AND JIAXING – Day 2 (DECEMBER 2015)

8 Days 7 Nights Jiangnan Tour – Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Jiaxing (December 2015)

We had spare time for a break during the Christmas week. So we decided to shop for a holiday package during the Travel Revolution Fair. This was the best time to look for a suitable tour package where many travel companies were dishing out great discounts during the travel fair.

From the many travel companies we approached for information, we took up a tour package with Dynasty Travel for an 8 Days 7 Nights tour to China, the Jiangnan plus Jiaxing tour covering cities in Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuxi and Jiaxing. We had taken Jiangnan tour packages with other travel companies in the past but we found the itinerary offered by Dynasty Travel to be a little different which included a new city Jiaxing so this was why we signed up with Dynasty Travel.

This tour included most meals and accommodations were local five-star hotels. In addition, we would be flying on Singapore Airlines. The flight timing was very good as well.

Singapore to Shanghai 9.20 am to 2.35 pm
Shanghai to Singapore 4.25 pm to 10.15 pm

The cost for this package per person was $294. Airport tax was $370 plus another compulsory tour of $100. Tips for China tour guide and driver was RMB200. At this rate, the tour package was really value for money.

The tour itinerary from Dynasty Travel would be as follows:

DAY 1: SINGAPORE – SHANGHAI (or HANGZHOU) (About 5 hours)

Welcome to a unique experience! Assemble at airport for departure to Shanghai (or Hangzhou), check in hotel upon arrival.

DAY 2: SHANGHAI – HANGZHOU (About 3 hours)

Head for Hangzhou, visit the site of the Eight Diagrams Field of the Southern Song Dynasty, the place that the sacred ritual activities being taken by the ancient emperor, it also tells the history and culture of ancient Chinese agriculture. Visit Southern Song Dynasty Official Kiln Museum, it was built over the remains of Jiaotanxia Official Kiln and is the first of its kind with pottery and porcelain as its subject. Continue your journey to visit The New West Lake South Line and West Lake XinTiandi, view Lei Feng Pagoda Sunset. Dinner at Bafei Global Buffet : open kitchen concept, more than 500 global buffet, Chinese and Western cuisine, seafood, Southeast Asian cuisine, gourmet simmer soup, Cantonese roasted, Teppanyaki, Cantonese refreshments, Western desserts, soft drinks & wine, seasonal fresh fruits, exquisite dishes taste infinite!

International Buffet / Lunch: Hangzhou Cuisine / Dinner: Bafei Global Buffet

DAY 3: HANGZHOU – JIAXING (About 2 hours)

Take cruise on West Lake, Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor. Next visit Meijiawu Tea Village, taste Longjing tea, experience the Chinese tea culture. Head for Jiaxing, visit the Transformers Theme Park founded by Mr. Iron team, it is the first park themed with the steel carving art for robot in China. Then visit the Rice Dumplings Museum in Yuehe Ancient Town, DIY Jiangnan rice dumplings with guidance of veterans, and you can taste at own expense.

International Buffet / Lunch: Beggar Chicken + Dongpo Pork

DAY 4: JIAXING – WUXI (About 2 hours)




Head for Wuxi, visit Huishan Ancient Town, it is featured by intensive distribution of ancient ancestral temple group, blessed with charming natural beauty, and various aspects of nature give you a new experience at every turn. Next visit Teapot Museum. Visit the Qingming Bridge Cultural Area at night (Extra tour fee program)

International Buffet / Lunch: Ribs Cuisine / Dinner: Qianlong Banquet

DAY 5: WUXI – NANJING (About 2.5 hours)

Visit Li Garden, the pictures of flowers in four seasons are painted on the pillars of Four Seasons Pavilions inside the garden. Li Garden lies by Li Lake and it is said that Fan Li who was a prime minister of the Yue State in Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC) was very meritorious in helping the king to conquer another state. However, he has decided to live in privacy with Xi Shi (one of the Four Beauties in ancient China) after the big success was achieved. They lived in this area and boated in Li Lake. In order to commemorate Fan Li, the lake was named after his name. However, the garden was named after the lake. Continue your journey to visit Taihu Pearl Gallery. After lunch, proceed to Nanjing, drive along Ming Dynasty Wall, the largest existing wall in China as well as in the world. View Yue Jiang Tower from far. Visit the Confucius Temple and Qinhuai River at night (Extra tour fee program)

International Buffet / Lunch: Taihu Cuisine Dinner: Huaiyang Cuisine

DAY 6: NANJING – SUZHOU (About 3 hours)

Visit Memorial Hall to the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre, visit and take a lift to Yangtze River Bridge. Next visit Jade Carvings Workshop. Then proceed to Suzhou, tour to Pingjiang Historical and Cultural Street – “Water and Land in parallel, River and Street adjacent to each other”, this is a typical characteristic of Water Village. Later to visit Suzhou Museum and Zhong Wang Fu – the palace of Prince Zhong: Li Xiucheng, the leader of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, it’s the most well kept palace in the history of China on the peasant rebel army palace. Take a photo stop at Bird Nest, Jinjihu Scenic Area, drive pass Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, the commercial center – Yuanrong Times Square, the Largest Shopping Aircraft Carrier in Eastern China. Visit Suzhou Guanqian Street at night (Extra tour fee program)

International Buffet / Lunch: Boiled Salted Duck Cuisine / Dinner: Pingtan Cuisine

DAY 7: SUZHOU – SHANGHAI (About 2 hours)



Visit Silk Factory, continue to Yangcheng Lake Peninsula – Yi Ou Lai Suzhou Village (Lunch inside the village at own expense, both Chinese and Western foods are available), which is the first boutique tourist shopping village built by Value Retail group in China following the nine boutique shopping villages in Europe. After lunch, back to Shanghai, go to Health Care Shop. Then go to Nanjing Road (shopping area, enjoy a variety of snacks at own expense). Drive pass New Bund, the skyline of Shanghai, which tourists always come, also known as the “exhibition of architectural”. In the evening, take participate the extra tour fee programs: Visit the world’s largest Disney Flagship Store and Shanghai Huangpu River Cruise.

International Buffet

DAY 8: SHANGHAI (or HANGZHOU) – SINGAPORE (About 5 hours)

Visit Cheng Huang Temple, continue to visit the Jewelry Factory. Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Singapore.

International Buffet / Lunch: Cantonese Cuisine

**Extra Tour Fee S$100/PAX **

Suzhou Guanqian Shopping Street + Wuxi Qingming Bridge night tour + Shanghai Disney Flagship Store and Huangpu River Cruise + Nanjing Confucius Temple and Qinhuai River

This tour required at least 10 participants to be confirmed. It was only near December that this tour was finally confirmed. We were called to the tour office for a simple briefing where the hotels list was given just a few days before the tour as follows:

Suzhou – Joy Holiday Hotel
Wuxi – Veegle Sincere Hotel
Nanjing – Rsun Hotel
Hangzhou – Haiwaihai Hotel
Jiaxing – Sunshine Hotel
Shanghai – Falaide Hotel


Day 1 – Singapore to Shanghai onward to Suzhou

So Christmas week eventually came. We reached Changi Airport before 7 am. First thing was to head for the Terminal 3 food court for breakfast. Next we located the tour representative from Dynasty Travel to collect our tour details and then checked in our luggage with Singapore Airlines. Since there were only 15 participants for this tour, we didn’t have a local tour leader to follow us for the tour which also saved up on tips as well.

With the movie Star Wars being launched, Star Wars exhibits and toys were on display at the airport. It was a fantastic time to enjoy the sights at the airport and to capture those picture moments even before we left for Shanghai that morning. It was a great start indeed and we very much enjoyed it.

Having had enough pictures taken, we cleared immigration and were happily doing window shopping at the airport. Finally, it was time to board our flight. We got onto the plane quite early and settled down to enjoy our flight to Shanghai. Continue reading 8 Days 7 Nights Jiangnan Tour – Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Jiaxing (December 2015)