Planning to visit China but desperately want to go beyond touring the famous Great Wall? This post has just what you need as we gathered some highlights of the marvellous city of Suzhou. As the ancient saying goes, “There’s heaven and there are Suzhou and Hangzhou”. You can imagine the beauty of Suzhou, also known as “Venice of the East”. It is highly developed, yet still a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you find yourself itching to discover a new and exciting territory, keep this guide to the five places Suzhou is famous for.
1. Lion Grove Garden
There should be no rush, only lush in this garden. Let Suzhou’s Lion Grove Garden satisfy your need for serenity with the fine landscape in a picturesque setting. Built by a Zen Buddhist monk, this garden has been around since the 1950s. It became more popular because of the presence of the huge grotto of Taihu Rock at the center. For just an affordable price of RMB30 during peak seasons or RMB20 on non-peak seasons, you’ll get to laze by a pond and explore a 9-path maze while enjoying a picnic. The garden opens from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
2. Zhou Zhuang Water Town
Bearing the Chinese name Zhou Zhuang Shuixiang, the breath-taking canal view offers delight to tourists around the globe. For just one and a half hours of great driving, bask yourself in the ancient and unique architecture in this part of Suzhou. Be intrigued by a town built around lakes and canals. The boat rides, bargain hunts and ancient sights are things you must not miss out on in this tour. Guests are welcome to come in anytime in April or May (spring) and September to October (autumn) and stay for a day of discovery.
3. Tiger Hill, also known as Surging Sea Hill
A large hillrock of 14,100 sq. m in area and 36 meters in height, this is no ordinary hill. Rich in history, there is not a dull moment. A visit to the Lu Yu Well, sword testing stone, or sword pool, is educational and entertaining. The attractions are open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visit anytime of the year for just RMB60 to RMB80, depending on the season. Bring your kids. Kids below 4.6 feet are absolutely free to enter.
4. Guan Qian Shopping Street
When you just couldn’t bear to leave empty-handed after a vacation, this commercial part of the city should do the trick. This shopping venue has been established since the 1930s and is still rocking at present as a night market. The three big words tourists love: shopping, entertainment and food are all found here in this really compact street. Drop by the ancient shops and temples to learn the city’s long history and be delighted when you snag some very modern and fashionable outfits. The sales are mostly for supporting local talents and small businesses. Just make sure to be alert for pickpockets and stay smart against overcharging sellers.
Avoid shopping in a hurry. Take your time to choose from a wide selection of stores and even sharpen your bargaining skills as the night wears on. Thankfully, there is no entrance fee, so that’s good news for those trying to keep to a budget. Another way to spend money wisely is to make sure you have purchased travel insurance before your trip if you’re travelling with friends and family.
5. Suzhou Silk Museum
After all that’s been said and done in this city, if you are looking for a final place to scout, stick to the magic word “free”. The Suzhou Silk Museum showcases the oldest silk production and embroidered products. It provides an extensive tour that exhibits old looms, ancient silk patterns and even a glimpse on how silk worms work the fabric. The museum opens from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Again to bring music to your ears, entering the museum is absolutely free. If you are looking for authentic silk products, the 'Ming and Qing Street' within the museum is lined with replicas of time-honoured silk stores to satisfy your shopping urge.
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