Let me start with an email:
We know places aournd Shanghai like Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Shao Xing, Ningbo, Yang Zhou, ZhenJiang & towns like ZhouZhuang, Tongli, Xitang, Nanxun, Luzhi that can make a visit. What is yoru suggestion?
OK. Let me do a rating
I use a rating system of two rating only: “must see”, and “if you have spare time to kill”.
Hangzhou = must see
Suzhou = must see
Wuxi = if you have spare time to kill
Nanjing = must see
Shao Xing = if you have spare time to kill
Ningbo = if you have spare time to kill
Yang Zhou = if you have spare time to kill
Zhen Jiang = if you have spare time to kill
“Must see” means that the place is so interesting, so unique, that if you can make it, definitely go there.
Hangzhou is very different from Shanghai, and it has beautiful lake – west lake. Nanjing is the old capital (as Hangzhou), and there are many things to see.
For other cities, if you have time, do a visit. If you relocate to Shanghai, and you do have a weekend to kill, go there, but it is not at the level that you need to visit during a short 8 day trip in China. (Disclaimer: don’t get offend if I didn’t put your city into must see level. I just see everything from a tourist’s perspective)
For towns, the rule of thumb is, if you want to visit any of the town, you only need to visit one of them, and definitely not two in your 8-day China trip. You may want to visit others in your next trip.
Zhou Zhuang = first level
Tongli = first level
Xitang = second level
Nanxun = second level
Luzhi = second level
First level are recommended, and second level are not as good, but still interesting.
Hope this helps.