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Sights and sounds of China

1 Summer Palace Tour
Summer Palace Tour

Lair of the Dragon Lady fr £53pp

The Summer Palace is one of the largest and best-preserved imperial gardens in the world. In the 18th century, Emperor Qianlong enlarged and embellished it, only to abandon it a few years later. The grounds today are stunning, as is the lovely Kunming Lake, which occupies more than three quarters of the total area. Enjoy a boat ride before walking the Long Corridor, a 2,000-foot hall featuring 8,000 paintings.


These stunning works of art were collected by the Emperor during his travels around the country and you have time to appreciate them on this great tour, during which you will hear all about the Lair of the Dragon Lady. There are so many amazing places to visit and sights to see when visiting the Chinese capital Beijing, and this Summer Palace tour should certainly be on your list.

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1 Summer Palace Tour

Summer Palace Tour

2 Tiannamen Square & Forbidden City Tour
Tiannamen Square & Forbidden City Tour

Heart of the City fr £54pp

You are collected from your hotel and taken to the centre of Beijing. This morning, you will walk through the expanse of Tiananmen Square, one of the world's largest public squares, where you pass several monuments, including the mausoleum that houses Chairman Mao’s remains. The northern gate of the square features a portrait of the PRC’s founding father, and is also the gate through which you enter the Forbidden City.

Once in the Forbidden City you walk in the steps of emperors. It was completed in 1420, and was home to 24 emperors, the last of which left Beijing in 1924. The entire imperial complex is reputed to have 9,999 rooms, which at its peak housed up to 10,000 people. Discover for yourself why the 170 acres were forbidden to common people as you stroll through what is arguably the best-preserved example of classical Chinese architecture in the world.


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2 Tiannamen Square & Forbidden City Tour

Tiannamen Square & Forbidden City Tour

3 Shanghai Essentials
Shanghai Essentials

Get down to earth fr £96pp

On this interesting and busy tour you start with a morning visit to the Jade Buddha Temple which is situated in the northwest near the intersection of Anyuan Lu and Jiangning Lu. This is a very active temple and attracts large numbers of visitors from all over the world. It is also popular with Chinese tourists as it is one of Shanghai’s few Buddhist temples.

Then visit the Yu Garden and Old Town Bazaar before having lunch at a Chinese restaurant followed by a walk along the famous Bund with its colonial architecture. The Bund, also called the Zhongshan Road, is the city's waterfront and has been regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years. Explore Xintiandi and the charming art district of Tianzifang and visit Shikumen Open House Museum in Xintiandi before returning to your hotel.

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3 Shanghai Essentials

Shanghai Essentials

4 Shanghai Old & New
Shanghai Old & New

The ancient and modern fr £113pp

Visit the Shanghai Urban Planning Centre where you can see Shanghai’s past, present and future. This informative and interesting venue contains some amazing scale models depicting Shanghai at various points in its development. Then visit the Shanghai Museum, which is one of the best museums in China. Located in the centre of the city in People's Square, it contains one of the finest collections of ancient Chinese art and antiques.

After lunch at a Chinese restaurant visit the tallest building in China, the Shanghai World Financial Centre. Its unique rectangular opening at the top of the tower for wind tunnelling is an instantly recognisable landmark on the Shanghai skyline. Currently the third tallest building in the world, it has a very impressive observation deck located above the opening that offers a birds eye view of the city from the world’s highest observation deck.

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4 Shanghai Old & New

Shanghai Old & New

5 Summer Palace and Beijing Zoo Pandas
Summer Palace and Beijing Zoo Pandas

Pandas and palaces fr £122pp

China’s most famous animal gets somewhat pampered in the Giant Panda hall at Beijing Zoo. In the morning you have a memorable visit to the zoo to see these wonderful creatures at rest and play. Then stop at one of the largest and best-preserved imperial gardens in the world -The Summer Palace - one of the finest landmarks in Beijing.

It has long been a royal garden and was enlarged and embellished by Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century then later abandoned before being rebuilt in 1888. The lovely Kunming Lake occupies three quarters of the area and you have a boat ride before walking the Long Corridor. After lunch at a local restaurant visit the stunning Temple of Heaven before returning to your hotel.

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5 Summer Palace and Beijing Zoo Pandas

Summer Palace and Beijing Zoo Pandas

6 Great Wall of China & 798 Art District
Great Wall of China & 798 Art District

Golden day on the Wall fr £143pp

On this brilliant tour you walk the stunningly beautiful, and much less visited, Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which includes a cable car ride up and down the wall. Located in Huairou County, about 45 miles from Beijing, the incredible Great Wall is one of the wonders of the world, and is a must visit during any stay in Beijing.

Stand on top of one of the ancient watchtowers taking in the vast scale and sheer beauty of the Wall as it snakes its way across the tops of impossibly steep mountain ridges. Enjoy lunch at a Chinese restaurant then return to the city, and stop to visit the 798 Art District, a complex of modern art, restaurants and bars in a converted factory. It's a modern contrast to the ancient wall of China. You will transfer back to your hotel after this visit.


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6 Great Wall of China & 798 Art District

Great Wall of China & 798 Art District

7 Ancient Chengdu
Ancient Chengdu

PARKS AND POETS

On this half day Chengdu city tour you will visit Wu Hou Temple, Jinli Old Street and the wonderfully peaceful Wenshu Temple. Jinli Old Street was once the commercial heart of the old kingdom and has been fully restored in the traditional Sichuan style. Picturesque and bustling, you can buy crafts and traditional goods in the shops here.

The beautiful Wuhou Temple dates from the 3rd century and is an outstanding example of ancient Chinese architecture. This temple is a quiet place of reflection and tranquility with many areas to sit and relax in contemplation during your visit. The area around the temple is also worth exploring before you are met and driven back to your hotel.

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7 Ancient Chengdu

Ancient Chengdu

8 Canton Tower & Bubble Tram Tour
Canton Tower & Bubble Tram Tour

High rise bubbles

You are picked up from your hotel in the city and taken to the Canton Tower, an eye-popping structure which is the highest tower in China and third highest in the world. With its twisting shape and design, Canton Tower is unique among all the towers worldwide in terms of both its height and appearance. After lunch you take the Bubble Tram located at the top of the tower, which is the world’s highest horizontal Ferris wheel.

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is famous throughout China and the world for its cuisine and foreign trade. Besides endless skyscrapers and shopping malls in this dynamic metropolis, there is also a lot of culture and history to see. Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street in Liwan District, is one of the busiest commercial pedestrian streets in China with more than 300 shops. Whatever you do, don't miss this tower experience.

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8 Canton Tower & Bubble Tram Tour

Canton Tower & Bubble Tram Tour

9 Chengdu Cooking School
Chengdu Cooking School

The Meal Deal

During this fun trip to the Chengdu cooking school, a local chef will introduce you to some of Sichuan cuisine's classic ingredients and specialities including colourful spices, tofu products, cured meats and dozens of different kinds of local pickles and chili bean paste - the soul of Sichuan cuisine. You then work alongside the chef and learn to prepare ingredients and cook then eat your selected dishes.

During your time at the cooking school you will learn so much about all the ingredients of Chinese cooking and how to blend and cook them. The expert chef will guide you through all the processes and give you the confidence to cook great Chinese dishes when you get home that will really impress your dinner guests.

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9 Chengdu Cooking School

Chengdu Cooking School

10 Chengdu Night Markets Tour
Chengdu Night Markets Tour

In the market for a bargain?

Chengdu has a night market located near the Jiang Hotel and the Minshan Hotel. This market has a terrific atmosphere and is a great place to pick up souvenirs. Here you can buy everything from embroidered silk to statues of Chairman Mao and remember, it is important to bargain as prices are not set in stone and quoted prices will be much higher than what the stall owner will accept.

An evening of haggling for souvenirs in the market is a fun way to end the day when staying in Chengdu. Plus, you can fit it in after taking a city tour visiting Wangjiang Park, Wu Hou Temple, Jinli Old Street, China’s Lane and much more. Wangjiang Park is located just a mile to the east of central Chengdu, on the south bank of the Jinjiang River, and is renowned for its beautiful bamboo groves.

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10 Chengdu Night Markets Tour

Chengdu Night Markets Tour

11 Cultural Street and Silk Market Tour
Cultural Street and Silk Market Tour

Smooth as silk

On this fascinating tour you will be picked up after breakfast from your hotel and taken to Shanghai's Duolun Cultural Street, which was once home to many aspiring writers in the first half of the 20th century. Decidedly less glamorous than the converted Shikumen style architecture on Taikanglu, Duolun Lu retains a Bohemian feel. Today the neighbourhood is lined with memorial museums, tea houses and galleries.

Walk around the streets with your knowledgeble guide and learn all the secrets of this interesting area of Shanghai and meet some of the local people who live and work in the area. Then after a delicious lunch at a restaurant you are taken to visit the Silk and Fabric Market where you have the opportunity to shop for some beautiful bargains that will make great presents.

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11 Cultural Street and Silk Market Tour

Cultural Street and Silk Market Tour

12 Cycle the Ancient City Wall
Cycle the Ancient City Wall

Ride round the amazing wall

On this fun tour, you not only walk around Xian's ancient City Walls, you can ride a bike around them too. These huge city walls are one of the best preserved in all of China. This huge impregnable structure, which has experienced 600 years of history, is an amazing sight. And after walking around them you have a chance to enjoy a gentle cycle around the wall for around 90 minutes, one of the must do things in the city.

When the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty captured the city, a hermit told him that he should build high walls, store abundant food supplies so that he could fortify the city and unify the other states. So he took this advice to heart and built the Xian City Wall which survives as one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. To walk, or cycle, around the entire wall today is a trip of eight and a half miles.

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12 Cycle the Ancient City Wall

Cycle the Ancient City Wall

13 Guangzhou Markets Tour
Guangzhou Markets Tour

Take your medicine

In the morning you are picked up from your hotel for this fun market visit. Guangzhou Qingping Professional Traditional Chinese Medicine Market was established in 1979 and is famous throughout the world. This market is one of the major distribution centres of the herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine which you now find in shops all over Britain.

Countless other exotic goods are sold including animals such as fish, turtles, frogs and monkeys. You can also find exotic fruits from from Hunan and Hubei provinces, tobacco from Jiangxi and Hunan and an astounding array of seafood from the East China Sea. This colourful market visit is a must excursion while staying in Guangzhou.

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13 Guangzhou Markets Tour

Guangzhou Markets Tour

14 Hutongs by Rickshaw
Hutongs by Rickshaw

Ride through history

The word “hutong” refers to the narrow network of lanes created by closely built quadrangular homes. Once the primary architectural feature of China’s capital city, hutongs now make up only a small fraction of Beijing, having been replaced by high-rise buildings in recent years. Recapture the feeling of Beijing’s past from the wooden seat of a traditional rickshaw, and visit a local family’s courtyard home along the way.

On this fun journey you also learn about the many and varied types of Chinese tea and the equally varied ways to drink them while stopping your rickshaw ride to attend a tea appreciation class. You will sample several types of tea in a local teahouse and see that there is indeed a different brew for every occasion. This tour makes for a great day out while staying in Beijing.

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14 Hutongs by Rickshaw

Hutongs by Rickshaw

15 Night Pearl River Cruise
Night Pearl River Cruise

Pearl cruise a real gem

This night cruise is a must experience while staying in or visiting Guangzhou. Here, three great rivers join the mighty Pearl River. As night falls, your cruise liner leaves the wharf and passes under the Jiefang, Haizhu, Jiangwan, Haiyin, Guangzhou, and Hedong Bridges before turning back towards the wharf, giving you lots of time to see the illuminated city at night.

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is famous throughout China and the world for its cuisine and foreign trade. Besides endless skyscrapers and shopping malls in this dynamic metropolis, there is also a lot of culture and history to see. Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street, in Liwan District, is one of the busiest commercial pedestrian streets in China with more than 300 shops.

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15 Night Pearl River Cruise

Night Pearl River Cruise

16 Old Beijing
Old Beijing

Tea with Confucius

The Lama Temple, built in 1694, is an impressive compound once the home of Prince Yong who would later become Emperor Yongzheng. Upon his ascension to the throne the buildings were converted into a temple dedicated to Tibetan Buddhist study and today it remains one of the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world.

One of the pavilions within the temple houses a huge Buddha sculpture carved from a single trunk of white sandalwood. Also visit the Confucius Temple where people paid homage to Confucius during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasty. Then enjoy a tea ceremony at a local teahouse and learn about the many and varied types of Chinese tea and the equally varied ways to drink it.

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16 Old Beijing

Old Beijing

17 Old Shanghai and the Bund
Old Shanghai and the Bund

Bound for the Bund

On this tour you will be picked up and the first visit is to the Old Town of Shanghai, where cobbled streets are lined with traditional shops selling herbal medicines, handicrafts, Chinese tea and a variety of tantalising snacks. Take a relaxing walk through the peaceful Yu Gardens, that date back to the Ming Dynasty, and explore the superb antiquities and fine arts at the Shanghai Museum.

Later you are taken for a walk along the famous historical riverfront area of the city known as the Bund. Recognised as Shanghai's former Wall Street, the Bund is home to an impressive collection of colonial style architecture from the early trade houses of the 1850s to the glamorous Art Deco modernism of the 1920s and the views across the river are spectacular.

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17 Old Shanghai and the Bund

Old Shanghai and the Bund

18 Panda Research Centre Tour
Panda Research Centre Tour

Pictures in black and white

On this fabulous tour you visit the Panda Breeding Research Centre which is six miles out of downtown Chengdu. This special research facility has been created to imitate the pandas' natural habitat in order to develop the best possible environment for rearing and breeding. You will be told everything about this lovable creature's lifestyle during your visit.

If you want that perfect picture to take home with you there is the chance to be photographed holding one of the cuddly baby pandas during your tour of the centre. This visit is often the highlight of any stay in Chengdu and makes a great family day out. As well as your pictures, you will be left with so many memories of your time with China's pandas.

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18 Panda Research Centre Tour

Panda Research Centre Tour

19 Panda Volunteer Experience
Panda Volunteer Experience

Panda to the pandas every need

Most visitors to Chengdu make sure that they go to see the lovable Giant Pandas at least once. But on this special Panda Volunteer Experience you can get up close and personal with China's most revered and endangered species. You will have the opportunity to interact with these amazing creatures by preparing their lunches, feeding them, and cleaning their cages . . . something most people could only dream about doing.

The volunteering takes place at the Dujiangyan Base of the China Conservation and Research Centre which is located about a mile from Qingcheng Mountain, just over an hour's drive from Chengdu. Your volunteering day begins at 8.30 in the morning and lasts until 4pm. During this time you will get to work with between 20 and 40 Giant Pandas as well as several red pandas

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19 Panda Volunteer Experience

Panda Volunteer Experience

20 Pandas & Sanxingdui Ruins
Pandas & Sanxingdui Ruins

Pandering to culture

In the morning visit the Panda Breeding and Research Center six miles outside the city, which is home to giant pandas, red (or lesser) pandas, and other endangered species. Visit the nursery to see the highly successful breeding program, among the bamboo groves and shady walkways, and watch the pandas at rest or play. Then enjoy lunch at a Chinese restaurant.

In the afternoon visit Sanxingdui Ruins in the city of Guanghan, 30 miles outside Chengdu. This is regarded as one of the most important ancient remains in the world for its vast size and enriched cultural contents. The first Sanxingdui relics were discovered by a farmer in 1929 and excavation has continued ever since. During this period, generations of archaeologists have worked on the discovery and research of the Sanxingdui culture.

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20 Pandas & Sanxingdui Ruins

Pandas & Sanxingdui Ruins

21 Peking Duck Dinner
Peking Duck Dinner

Have a peek at the menu

There are so many things to do and famous sights to see while staying in China's capital city Beijing. Must visits include imposing Tiananmen Square, the incredible Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the beautiful parks and gardens, museums, giant pandas in the zoo and, of course, a trip outside the city to walk along the Great Wall of China.

But you can't do any of these excursions on an empty stomach, and this is where this traditional excursion comes into its own. You will be collected from your hotel and driven to one of Beijing's famous Peking Duck restaurants. Here you enjoy a delicious dinner sampling the famous dish in all its forms. After this memorable meal you are driven back to your hotel.

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21 Peking Duck Dinner

Peking Duck Dinner

22 Shanghai Cooking Class
Shanghai Cooking Class

Cook a Chinese meal

It's always good to try the local food when you're on holiday in a foreign country and it's even better to learn how to cook it. And that's exactly what you do on this fun trip. On arrival at the cooking class, the chef will introduce you to the basic rules of making Chinese cuisine and tell you all about the seasonings, methods of cooking and culture that you will encounter.

He will then prepare and cook each dish and you will follow his example. The chef will, of course, help you and will make sure you understand the recipe. Then it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labours when you sit down for lunch. After this fascinating cooking class you will have gained many new culinary skills and be able to impress your friends and family back home.

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22 Shanghai Cooking Class

Shanghai Cooking Class

23 Tang Dynasty Dancing Show with Dinner
Tang Dynasty Dancing Show with Dinner

Get a taste for Tang dance

For the ultimate night out while staying in Xian, this Tang Dynasty dancing show with dinner takes some beating. During the evening you will feast on a sumptuous Shui Jiao Dumpling dinner, a speciality of the region, while enjoying a performance of music and dance dating back to the Tang Dynasty period. Return transfers from your hotel are included in the price.

There is so much to see and do while visiting Xian. The absolute must visit is, of course, out to see the amazing Terracotta Warriors, which are one of the wonders of the ancient world. But while in the city you should also take a walk or popular cycle ride around the ancient city wall and visit the superb parks and this dinner and dance show is a great way to round off any day's sightseeing.

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23 Tang Dynasty Dancing Show with Dinner

Tang Dynasty Dancing Show with Dinner

24 Terracotta Army, Walls & Muslim Quarter
Terracotta Army, Walls & Muslim Quarter

All in a day's work

First explore one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century, the life-size Terracotta Warriors. Built nearly 2,200 years ago, 8,000 life-sized terracotta warriors and horses were created as guardians protecting the tomb of the first Qin emperor. You visit the private Lower Viewing Gallery at Pit One to get close to the warriors.

After lunch the excitement continues when you return to Xian for a walk, or take a cycle ride around the magnificent ancient City Walls, which are the best preserved in all of China. Later, visit the lively Muslim Quarter where you can explore the Islamic food markets for a real feel of local life. This is a non-stop day but will leave you with so many great memories.

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24 Terracotta Army, Walls & Muslim Quarter

Terracotta Army, Walls & Muslim Quarter

25 Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors

Seeing is believing

Admit it, this is what you have travelled so far to see. Start this full-day tour with a visit to the famous UNESCO World Heritage listed Terracotta Warriors site, which is a little over one hour's drive from Xian. Here you see one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century . . . the amazing warriors and their horses, each one with individual faces and expressions.

The Terracotta Army is made up of more than 7,000 soldiers, horses and chariots. The life-sized figures were made by thousands of workers and designed by the self-proclaimed Emperor Qin Shi Huang to defend himself in his afterlife. Sightseeing here, which includes an excellent museum, involves approximately two and a half hours of walking and after lunch you are taken back to your city hotel.

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25 Terracotta Warriors

Terracotta Warriors

26 The French Concession
The French Concession

French connection

Under the rule of the French from 1849 to 1946, the French concession is today a pleasant mix of wide tree lined avenues and interesting European style architecture. The area contains many gorgeous art deco and Tudor style mansions and retains a very European feel despite being in the heart of Shanghai. As the premier residential and retail district of the city, it is also full of boutiques, charming cafes and exceptional restaurants.

Visit the former residence of Dr Sun Yat Sen - considered the father of the modern China - and the first president of the short-lived Chinese Republic after the overthrow of the Imperial Qing Dynasty in 1911. Then explore the Xintiandi shopping precinct and the charming art district of Tianzifang. Xintiandi is a fashionable pedestrian street composed of traditional Shikumen (‘stone gate’) style houses that now serve as boutiques and restaurants.

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26 The French Concession

The French Concession

27 The Giant Bhudda at Leshan
The Giant Bhudda at Leshan

See the stone giant

On this tour you are driven about two hours to Leshan to see the Giant Buddha carved out of the cliffs at the confluence of the Dadu, Minjiang and Qingyi Rivers. First board a boat and cruise along the river for wonderful views of the Giant Leshan Buddha, which is the largest stone statue of the Buddha in the world with the average person being shorter than the Buddha’s big toe.

Carved more than a thousand years ago directly into the cliff, this impressive monument took more than 100 years to complete and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The spot where the Buddha is located is the confluence of three mighty rivers and so much rubble was dumped in the waters during carving, that it altered the rivers' natural flow. Enjoy lunch at a Chinese restaurant before being driven back to your hotel.

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27 The Giant Bhudda at Leshan

The Giant Bhudda at Leshan

28 Wuzhen Water Town Tour
Wuzhen Water Town Tour

Wuzhen's all you could wish for

Enjoy this full-day tour to the charming old world atmosphere of Wuzhen, a traditional water canal town in Zhejiang Province which provides you with a distinct contrast to the fast-pace of ever growing and always changing Shanghai. Wuzhen's network of waterways, old wooden waterside houses, arch stone bridges, and narrow paved laneways are the perfect setting for a peaceful canal cruise.

Sightseeing here is leisurely paced and also involves several hours exploring on foot, walking through this century-old Chinese town, absorbing the unique atmosphere and meeting the local families as they go about their work and relax. On this popular tour you have plenty of time to explore this historic water town before returning to Shanghai in the late afternoon.

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28 Wuzhen Water Town Tour

Wuzhen Water Town Tour