In spite of the continuous economic growth and the popularity of Western culture, the province of Wuxi in Jiangsu has beautifully preserved its culture and natural sceneries. Close to Nanjing and Shanghai, it’s a perfect getaway for tourists who like to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the metro for a few days.
Wuxi is a progressive city, which may be explained by the outpouring of Western investments. Its history, though, can go back to as far as 3,000 years. Legends suggest that it used to be a booming town for tin mines until the mineral ran out in 25 AD; this also is used to explain the place’s name.
Some of the industries that thrived in the area are textile and heavy industries. Agriculture, especially the production of rice, became popular during the Qing dynasties.
The temperatures can be very extreme, especially during the summer and winter seasons. However, although it experiences regular rain due to the monsoon, it seldom snows. The temperatures can be very hot during the months of May until August while from November to February, the temperature can drop to as low as 0.2 degrees Celsius. Rain is common between June and August.
The people of Wuxi speak their own dialect, which is very similar to that of Suzhou, Shanghai, and Changzhou. It is remotely close to Mandarin, which is the country’s official language. Most of the people still speak their known dialect, but because of the Western culture, many have also learned to speak English, particularly the basic words.
Wuxi was a cultural and artistic hub. It is the home of some of the popular Chinese artists such as authors, calligraphers, and painters. Some of them like Xu Beihong and Chen Chi have their own museum or memorial hall. The film studio is also a testament of its deep love for the arts.
Wuxi is one of the areas in China that are slowly welcoming the influence of the West. Hence, it’s no longer impossible to find Western-style restaurants and shops within the area.
Nevertheless, guests can better experience Wuxi by dining on authentic Chinese restaurants. Food in Wuxi is characterized for its sweetness, like the savory taste of soup dumplings or xiaolongbao. Along the streets are also the many booths or stalls where you can eat local food normally placed on a stick.
When in Wuxi, make sure you can take the time to visit the following attractions:
This is also called Lake Tai. As a freshwater lake, it’s extremely huge, covering more than 2,000 square kilometers. It is also populated with several islands, some of which are small. The waters are shallow and are connected to the Grand Canal, which is located in the western section. Around the lake are the myriad of gardens, parks, and other natural sceneries. Visitors can choose any of these areas for a glance or visit to the lake. Nevertheless, one of the best views is in Xihui Park.
Xu Beihong Memorial Hall
While other Chinese memorial halls are dedicated to political figures, this one is a commemoration of the life and works of a man of art. Xu Beihong was once a very popular painter who hailed from Wuxi. Inspired by his surroundings, his works were mostly related to nature such as birds. His works further stood out because of the great marriage between Western and Eastern painting techniques. The memorial hall served as a reminder of his life and accomplishments. Aside from personal artifacts, his well-known paintings are also displayed for the public.
This is considered as one of the most beautiful and grand gardens in China. Located about 10 kilometers in the southwest direction of the city, it sits close to the Lihu Lake, which also provides a great complement to the garden itself. Both sections, the garden and the lake, cover more than 11 hectares and thus need at least an entire day to visit. The park becomes lovelier during spring and autumn seasons.
Taihu Lake Film and TV Studio
Also called Central Television Taihu Film and Studio, the attraction is built by China Central Television before the 1990s. As its name suggests, it’s created as a studio for film and TV productions. Covering more than 30 hectares, it is divided into different “towns” and “kingdoms,” many of which are inspired by the different dynasties. Some may also look like European towns. Because of the vast area, it normally takes about 2 days to tour it.
Lingshan Grand Buddha
Also called Grand Buddha at Lingshan, this massive monument is more than 75 meters tall. It is found in the majestic mountain of Maji, which is also the home of Xiangfu temple, one of the oldest Buddhist religious sites in the country.
With more than 10 attractions within the area, certainly the park is a must-see when in Wuxi. It is also surrounded by two hills, as well as a lake, making this a fantastic place to see most of what Wuxi can offer.
Although there’s no airport in Wuxi, the city has a vast transport network. You can take a flight toward Shanghai, especially Pudong International Airport, and then proceed to Wuxi in three ways. First you can ride a long-distance bus, which can last for at least 3 hours. You can also arrive at Nanjing Lukou Airport, after which you can move on to the inter-city bus.
There’s a train that goes to Wuxi, and one of these is the G-train, which is known for its speed. You can already get to your destination in less than an hour. If you’re looking for something cheaper, you can opt for the D-train. From Shanghai, you can take a pick among the three known railway stations. These are Shanghai Hongqiao, Shanghai South, and Shanghai Train Station.