Known as the “First Scenic Spot in the State of Wu”, Tiger Hill (虎丘) is absolutely a must-see when visiting Suzhou for its leaning tower and legends. It is ranked #5 of 200 Suzhou attractions on Trip Advisor.
Located five km northwest of Suzhou City, Tiger Hill is famous for its leaning tower, legends, stunning scenery in the lush park.
What to See
Tiger Hill is actually located in a lush park with well-marked trails and useful English guide. It is so big that the park absorbs the crowds perfectly and visitors are easy to find a tranquil area to rest.
The leaning Tower in the park is the reason attracting most visitors. Following the leaning tower in Pisa, it is the second leaning tower in the world and has become the landmark of ancient Suzhou for the past 1000 years. It amazes people that it has been leaning since its completion in 959-961AD.
Sword Pool (剑池) is another highlight in the park. Near the pool there is a stone called Sword Pool Stone. It is said that the King He lu at the time love the rare swords so much and tested all these swords on that stone. All these swords were believed to be buried beneath the pool as funerary objects. Some believed that the pool buried all 1,000 workers after they completed the work of building the tomb of the King.
Wanjing Resort (万景山庄) in the east of the park is the gathering area for bonsai in Su style. Every autumn, the bonsai are at their best besides the beauty of hills and the tower. At the time there is also a Temple Fair, which presents the folklore art and shows in northern China and southern China style. In spring, the Flower Fair is also a good time to appreciate various kinds of valuable flowers like peonies, tulips and lilies from different countries.
It is worth noting that there is a stone well in the hill named Luyu Well (陆羽井) since it was dug by Lu Yu in the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D-907 A.D). He was the author of The Classics on Tea(茶经), which is the worlds’ earliest treaties on tea leave production. He was once lived in Tiger Hill for a long time and studied tea leaves. During the time he found that the fountain from the well was very sweet, which was rated as The Third Well under the Heaven.
Emperor Kangxi has visited Tiger Hill fourth times in his life and even stayed a night in the palace on the hill in 1707. The name of the temple on the hill was renamed as Hufu Temple (虎阜禅寺) and the plaque is still hung on the temple until today.
Best Time to Visit
Spring and autumn are the best seasons to go to the park. In spring the Flower Fair is very popular and offers many photo opportunities and in autumn the Temple Fair is the best way to enjoy local culture.
It is also a cool time to visit the park after a thunder rain in summer when the park is less-crowded and the lotuses are especially beautiful.Though in winter the park is very quiet, it is special to see its unique side of snowy Tiger Hill.