In the lower reaches of the Yangtze and on the shores of Lake Taihu lies the 2,500-year-old city of Suzhou. The natural scenery of hills and waters in Suzhou is as charming as a delicate beauty. Of the whole area, 10 per cent is cultivated fields, 30 per cent hills, and the rest covered with water. Streets and alleys in Suzhou extend side by side with canals. Small bridges and flowing waters, white walls and dark gray rooftiles match one another in tranquil elegance. There is a saying: “Paradise in Heaven, Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth.”
•The Humble Administrator’s Garden
The Humble Administrator’s Garden is the most famous of the south-eastern gardens; the very best of the East Wu Kingdom, and one of four great Chinese gardens-a classical Suzhou garden.
The Humble Administrator’s Garden is situated in Dongbei Street, Inner Dongbei Loumen, in the old city area of Suzhou. The garden occupies 4.1 hectares (not including administration area and flower nutsery, which occupy approximately 0.67 hectare). During the next 400 years, following dynastic changes and different owners,through splendour and decay, the garden developed from formingone entity into separating into three gardens all with their own style.
Entrance Fee: 70Yuan (Mar. 1st to May 31st and Sep.1st to Nov. 30th); 50Yuan (June 1st to Aug 31st and Dec. 1st to Apr. 30th)
Opening Hours: 07:00-17:30
How to get there: Bus No. 2 or 3, and the Tourist Bus No. 1, 2 or 5 to get there
Lion Grove Garden is one of the 4 Suzhou gardens listed by UNESCO. It was founded by a Buddhist monk (Tien Ru) during the Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty and is famous for the rock work around the lake. Some of the rocks resemble lions and thus gave the garden its name. The lake also has a roofed (lang) walkway.
The specialities of Lion Grove Garden are its miniature mountains and peaks. The miniature mountain in front of Pointing to Cypress Pavilion has the most peculiar formation. Among its peaks, the Sunshine, Moon Rising, Black Jade and Sky Touching all have their own
Entrance Fee: 30Yuan (peak seasons); 20Yuan (low seasons)
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00
How to get there: Buses No. 2, 3, 4, 40, 55 or 701; or take Toursit Buses No. 1, 2 or 5
The Lingering Garden is one of the four classical gardens in Suzhou City. Covering an area of 23,310 square meters, today the garden is separated into the eastern, central, northern and western parts.
Featuring man-made mountain and lake scenery in the west and garden courts in the east, the middle part of Suzhou Lingering Garden is the original site of the Xu’s East Garden and the Liu’s Hanbi Villa, and is regarded as the best part of the whole garden. The eastern, northern and western parts are the extensions of the Sheng’s Garden. The eastern part is noted for its strangely shaped limestones, the northern part idyllic scenes, and the western part the delights of woody hills.
Entrance Fee: 40Yuan (peak seasons); 30Yuan (low seasons)
Opening Hours: 07:30-17:00
How to get there: Bus No. 11, and the Tourist Bus No. 1 and 2 to get there
The Garden of the Master of the Nets, located on Shiquan Street in Suzhou City with a total area of 0.54 hectares, is the smallest garden in Suzhou — half the size of the Canglang Pavilion and one-tenth the size of the Humble Administrator’s Garden.
The most striking features of Master of the Nets Garden in Suzhou are: all pavilions in it are surrounded by water; and small as its size is, the scale of the building is large, but nothing appears cramped.
Entrance Fee: 30Yuan (peak seasons); 20Yuan (low seasons); 80Yuan (at night)
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00; 19:30-22:00 (night performace)
How to get there: Bus No. 47, 55, 202, 204, 501, 529, 811 or 931, and the Tourist Bus (East Line) to get there
Canglang Pavilion (Blue Wave Pavilion) is the oldest among a number of existent Suzhou gardens, and has a total area of 11,000 square meters (about 3 acres). The uniqueness of Canglang Pavilion lies in its blend of outside scenery and interior beauty. This pavilion is exquisite because of its natural and harmonious design.
You will see a beautiful rock formation made from yellow stone. Trees grow vigorously on the artificial mountain. Most of the buildings here are built around those man-made hills and connected by long corridors, which enhances the beauty and charm of the whole garden.
Entrance Fee: 8Yuan
Opening Time: 08:00-17:00
How to get there: Bus No. 1, 14, 28, 30, 51, 101, 102, 103, 701
Zhouzhuang Water Town is a tourist attraction in the city of Suzhou. The town has been listed with the highest ranking of 5-AAAAA among the national tourist attractions, and in 2001 Zhouzhuang hosted the Informal Trade Ministerial Conference of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
The town has a history of over 900 years and most of residencies and houses in the town were built in Ming (1368-1644) or Qing Dynasties (1644-1911).The rivers and streams in Suzhou Zhouzhuang crisscross the town and are spanned by 14 stone-arch bridges constructed in Yuan (1271-1368), Ming, and Qing Dynasties.
Entrance Fee: 100Yuan
Opening Time: 08:00-15:00 (in the daytime); 15:00-20:00 (at night)
How to get there: take a taxi from Zhouzhuang Bus Station
Located in the northwestern part of Suzhou, Tiger Hill has a history of over 2500 years. The hill is so named because it is said to look like a crouching tiger.
The Tiger Hill covers about 14,100 square metres and is 36 metres in height. The Tiger Hill includes Tiger Hill Pagoda, Sword Testing Stone and Sword Pool, Lu Yu Well, Verdant Mountain Villa and Wanjing Villa. The hill has been a tourist destination for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, as is evident from the poetry and calligraphy carved into rocks on the hill.
Entrance Fee: 60Yuan (peak seasons); 40Yuan (low seasons)
Opening Time: 07:00-17:00
How to get there: Buses No. 949, 146, 316, 816, Y 7, Y 2 or Y 3 to the south gate of the Tiger Hill; or Buses No. 32 or 36 to the north gate of the Tiger Hill
Suzhou Silk Museum is a museum built to show Chinese flourishing silk culture, including Chinese history and actuality for the development of silk textile industry.
The dominant color of Suzhou Silk Museum is white, which represents the purity of silk. The entire museum design is dignified and elegant – yet unconventional – combining a sense of ancient civilization with modern style. The Suzhou Silk Museum is divided into several parts: the Introductory Hall, the Ancient Exhibit Hall, the Silkworm-Rearing Room, the Silk Weaving Workshop, the Neoteric (1840 – 1919) Exhibit Hall, and the Modern (1919 – 1949) Exhibit Hall. There are also retail stores for purchasing silk.
Entrance Fee: free
Opening Time: 09:00-16:30
How to get there: Buses No 112, 69, 102, 522, 101 or 602 to the Suzhou Silk Museum
Built in the Liang period (502-557) of the Southern Dynasty, Hanshan Temple sits at Fengqiao Town of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Originally named Miaolipumingta, the temple was later given its present name because Han Shan, an eminent monk in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), had lived there.
Suzhou Hanshan temple compound is a scene of luxuriant green creating a secluded atmosphere. The buildings in it are in an unadorned and natural style. In the center of the compound stands Mahavira Hall. Behind the hall stretches a wooden corridor, at the end of which stands a small tower with a wall behind and a stream in front. Hanshan Temple has been famous since the Tang Dynasty.
Entrance Fee: 20Yuan
Opening Time: 08:00-17:30
How to get there: Buses No. 3, 6, 9, 17, 21, 31 301 or Y 3, and get off at Fengqaio Station