The Oriental Garden

April 08 - April 14, 2020
April 01 - April 08,2020 - Kyoto 6/7 nts

Stemming from our previous tours to the inspiring Gardens of Suzhou, our travel itinerary in China has been extended into a varied and stimulating account of Chinese culture. Whilst very much an enquiry into the roots of Oriental Garden design, the journey moves from the dense misty, craggy peaks of Huangshan ( Yellow Mountains ), revered throughout Chinese art & poetry, to the sksyscaper skylines of modern China. Whether sipping tea in a traditional Tea House on an island
in the middle of Hangzhou's famous West Lake or rubbing shoulders with the rapidly developing, everyday China, it is impossible not to feel the full force of a great culture emerging from the shackles of its history

The story of the gardens leads to an understanding of the former Confucian way of life of the scholars, artists, merchants and officials who established them, whilst their intrinsic design
qualities convey the meditative influence of Buddhism and Zen. Amidst plaques of traditional poetry, the titles of the pavillions, rock formations and viewing points, speak directly to the intuition and aesthetic insight of the viewer. Whether from a cultural or a horticultural pint of view, clients will obtain a comprehensive view of the Chinese garden tradition.

Pre-Tour / Visa - All visitors to China need to obtain a Visa before arriving in China
As the itinerary enters Anhui province, clients will need a full China Visa. 
The Visa Free Transit scheme does not apply to this itinerary. 

Wednesday April 08 - Osaka - Hangzhou - Huangshan
1. Transfer Osaka Kansai Airport - to Hangzhou International Airport - 
Air China - CA 726 - DEP 12.15 KIX - ARR 13.50 HGH
Clients make their own flight reservations - this flight specifically

2. Minibus transfer Hangzhou Airport to Huangshan Mountain area - 4 hrs 
Huangshan Hotspring Resort - 1 nt 

Thursday April 09 Huangshan 
Cable car up to the mountains. At leisure. 
Stay at mountain top Shilin Hotel – 1 night 

Friday April 10 Huangshan - Suzhou 
Cable car down mountain - midday 
14.00 - Minibus / High Speed Train Transfer to Suzhou - ARR 18.30
Stay Nan Lin hotel - 2 nts 

Saturday April 11 - Suzhou 
Visit major Suzhou Gardens with Robert Ketchell 

Sunday April 12 - Suzhou - Hangzhou
Morning visits to Suzhou Gardens 
Mid afternoon high speed train transfer to Hangzhou - arrive late afternoon. 
Stay Jinxi Hotel - 2 nts 

Monday April 13 - Hangzhou 
Visit major Hangzhou Gardens with Robert Ketchell 
Lingyin Temple, National Tea Musuem and West Lake islands. 

Tuesday April 14 - Depart Hangzhou 
Flight departures from Hangzhou - for domestic or international flights. 
Or trains to other parts of China. Clients pay for their outgoing transfer to station or airport 

Tour Cost : 
1. CNY 6,000 per person / CNY 2,200 Single Room Supplement
Incl. all accommodation with breakfasts - lunches and dinners in Huangshan
Incl. all transfers and transportation within the Tour
Incl. admission fees and cable cars at Huangshan 

2. Espirita Fees - £450

Payment : At forex rates applying at the time of invoicing, normally 3-5 weeks before Tour.

TOUR GUIDE - Robert Ketchell (see Gardens of Kyoto)

For the past twenty years in Spring & Autumn, Robert has introduced clients to the wonders of the Gardens of Kyoto, as well as guiding the occasional group to the Gardens of Suzhou Numerous returnee clients to Kyoto attest to Robert' s relaxed, good huomured style and to his deep and knowledgable involvement in the art form. Together with the local knowledge of our Agent in China, Robert initiated the itinerary below which has now been researched and refined from the practical point of view.

The style of the Tour will be relaxed but well organised as with the Gardens of Kyoto Tours. The tour will use reasonably priced international standard hotels and will be supported by local guides and travel services. For those wishing to further deepen their understanding of the Oriental Garden, the timing of the China Tour has been designed to link up with the Gardens of Kyoto Tour, which directly precedes it.


Located in Anhui province, their classic misty layered craggy peaks have been an inspiration to writers and artists for many centuries. Representing the spirit of such scenery has been a vital element in the tradition of the oriental garden.



'We recognise the outstanding universal value of the classical Gardens of Suzhou, for their outstanding historical, cultural and landscape artistic significance.' 
(UNESCO citation - World Heritage Listing 1997)

The ancient and cultured city of Suzhou, in Jiangsu province, mercifully escaped the worst ravages of recent Chinese history - its rich cultural and garden heritage managing to survive more or less intact. Suzhou is probably the best place in China to see gardens as they were originally designed. Major gardens such as 'The Garden of The Master of the Nets', 'The Garden for Lingering In', 'The Garden of Harmony' and 'The Humble Administrator's Garden', all reflect the tastes in former centuries of the scholars, monks, officials and princes that served to bring these masterpieces into existence. Many of the smaller gardens serve to further enhance the journey into the traditional Chinese aesthetic. Additionally, in and around the main gardens are some awe inspiring Bonsai collections. The Suzhou Museum is conveniently situated next to one of the main gardens.
'Sitting in silence 
I enter in deep meditation
the still pond
calms down my emotions
from afar'

(plaque in Suzhou Garden)
From various hotel options, we have selected a well priced but luxuriously renovated international hotel, partly for its good facilities, but also for its secluded location within easy reach of restaurants, shops, internet cafes, tea houses and masseurs on one of Suzhou's main streets. No one should miss the modern version of the traditional Chinese tea house - one can choose freely from a wide selection of teas and a well stocked snack buffet. The local vigorous massage style is not so much a miss as a hit - not so much 'Acu-pressure' as 'Acu-crusher'. Local cuisine is similarly uncompromising - far removed from the gelatinous neutrality of the average European Chinese restaurant, be prepared for some seriously spiced food, chillies abounding. 


With it vibrant cultural history and with its classic traditional architecture, with the national museums for Silk and Tea, and with its situation at the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, the Oriental Garden Tour will fully explore Hangzhou's famous West lake, with its classic pavilions and scenic beauty.

Japan / China Flights - For those thinking of combining it with the preceding Japan Tour, Open Jaws / Multi-City flight schedules should arrive into Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) in Japan and depart from Hangzhou (HGH) in China, purchasing a separate one way ticket for the flight transfer from Osaka to Hangzhou on Wednesday April 08. 

Onwards In China - for those who wish to extend their Tour in China, as a full China Visa is necessary for this Tour, there should be no further visa requirements. Regional airlines in China are now fully developed with good connections all over China.

Espirita - Forest Donation Policy