Tongli is a beautiful, picturesque Chinese water town. It has stone bridges and well-preserved ancient architecture, including private gardens, temples and houses. It's not difficult to imagine how life must have been there 100 years ago.
Tuisi Garden (Retreat & Reflection Garden)
A notable attraction is the beautiful Retreat & Reflection Garden, a private garden. It was built in 1885–1887 during the Qing dynasty and it has been recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take a gondola ride down the waterway and see quaint bridges
Water is a major form of transport in Tongli. You will take a gondola from Tuisi Garden to the Three Bridges.
There are 49 stone bridges, in a variety of styles, joining 7 islands created by 15 rivers and 5 lakes. Each bridge has a poetic name.
The most notable are Peace and Tranquility (Taiping) Bridge, Lucky (Jili) Bridge and Lasting Celebration (Changqing) Bridge. These are known as Three Bridges as they cross three rivers at their confluence and form a natural ring road.
The Three Bridges are lucky symbols in the eyes of the local residents, who believe that walking over them on weddings or birthdays will generates good luck.
You may see an interesting show involving cormorants, which will have a rope around one of their legs attached to the boat. For a fee, a fisherman will drop the birds into the water, where they will dive to catch fish.
Good to Know
- It’s uncommon to find western-style toilets in the water towns, but our guides know where they are.
- You may come across some tour groups in Tongli. But it is less crowded than other water towns.
- There are almost no signs in English in Tongli and local people know very little English.
Gondola Ride in Tongli
Fishpond in Tuisi Garden Tongli
Local Handicraft – Painted Paper Fan
Tongli Delicacy - Crispy Pancake