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Top Things to do in Suzhou

Last updated by meimeili at 2014/3/25; Destinations: Suzhou

Suzhou’s typical gardens are impressive for a lot of travelers at home and abroad.
Located in the Yangtze River Delta, Suzhou is very easily reached from Shanghai and Hangzhou. So travelers can completely arrange a tour for yourselves. To see all the gardens in Suzhou are not suggested. Travelers can choose one or 2 famous gardens such as Humble Administrator's Garden and Lingering Garden to experience. Otherwise, you will have an aesthetic fatigue of Jiangnan Garden.

In addition, choosing to stay in a nearby water town is a good way to explore more. Tongli Ancient Town and Zhouzhuang Ancient Town are top 2 water towns in China, which are at the same distance to reach.

1.Humble Administrator's Garden (拙政园)

If you want to see typical Jiangnan Gardens, Humble Administrator’s Garden is the first choice. As one of Top 4 gardens in China, it is the largest and the most famous private garden in Suzhou. Travelers can enjoy a tradition Chinese construction style based on water.

A large-scale of rockeries play an important role in the garden. Travelers can go through some rockeries and climb up to the top of the rockeries. In summer, travelers can enjoy lotus flowers growing in the middle of water. In spring, the garden is decorated by thousands of colorful flowers. In autumn, red, yellow and green leaves are around ancient houses.

Address: No. 178 Northeast Street, Pingjiang District, Suzhou City (苏州市平江区东北街178号)
Ticket: 70 CNY (Apr. 16 to Oct.30); 50 CNY (Ooc.31 to Apr.15)
Opening hours: 07:30-17:30
How to get there: There are a lot of buses to Humble Administrator's Garden including Tourism Bus 1, 2 and 5; Bus 40, 178, 202, 301, 309, 313, 518, 529 and 923.

2.Lingering Garden(留园)

Together with Suzhou’s Humble Administrator's Garden, Beijing’s Summer Palace and Chengde Mountain Resort in Heibei Province, Lingering Garden is one of top 4 gardens in China. It is one part of traditional Suzhou gardens which have been listed into UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Near Changmen Gate in Jinchang District, it was official Xu Shitai’s East Garden built in the Ming Dynasty.

Lingering Garden is another great choice to see Jiangnan’s exquisite arrangement and wonder stones. 3 highlights in Lingering Garden consist of Guanyun Peak, Nanmu Hall and Stone of Sunshine after Rain. Guanyun Peak is a competitive product among the Taihu Lake stones.

Address: No.338, Liuyuan Road, Jinchang District Suzhou City (苏州市金阊区留园路338号)
Ticket: 40 CNY at busy season; 30 CNY at low season
Opening hours: 07:30-17:00
How to get there: Travelers can take a tourism bus including Tourism Bus 1, 3 and 5. A lot of buses are available such as Bus 6, 7, 22, 33, 44, 70, 85, 88, 91, 101,103 and 317.

3.Master of the Nets Garden(网师林)

First built in 1174 during the Song Dynasty, Master of the Nets Garden is a typical private Suzhou garden. Most owners of the garden are scholars in ancient times. Travelers can feel a strong Chinese cultural atmosphere there. It is the only garden which is still open to the public in the evening. If travelers want to explore a night Suzhou garden, you really should not miss Master of the Nets Garden.

Address: No.11, Kuojietou Lane, Daichengqiao Road, Canglang District, Suzhou City (苏州市沧浪区带城桥路阔街头巷11号)
Ticket: 30 CNY (Apr.16th to Oct.30th); 20 CNY (Oct.31th to Apr.15th)
Opening hours: 8∶00—17∶00
17:00 to 22:00(Night tickets are stopped selling at 21:00)
How to get there: Travelers can take Bus 55, 202, 529, 811 or 931 and get off at Wangshuiyuan Bus Station.

4.Tiger Hill (虎丘)

If you are bored of Suzhou gardens, Tiger Hill is a good choice to experience a different Suzhou.In the northeast of Suzhou, Tiger Hill is reputed as “No.1 Scenic Spot in Wuzhong”. According to selections from Records of the Historian, Emporer Wulu of Wu Kindom was buried there and it was said that there was a white tiger sit on the tomb. So the place got the name as Tiger Hill. Travelers can see Yunyan Tower and Jianchi Pool which are two highlights of Tiger Hill. With a more than 1000 years, Yunyan Tower is a leaning tower and is also a symbol of ancient Suzhou.

There are Flower Fair in spring and Temple Fair in autumn held in Tiger Hill. Travelers can see thousands of different flowers and enjoy a local folk culture during the fairs. Travelers can also walk along the river and the road will lead to Shantang Street, a wonderful street to see local life.

Address:NO.8, Huqiu Shanmennei, Suzhou(苏州市虎丘山门内8号)
Ticket: 60 CNY (Apr.16 to Oct.31); 40 CNY (Nov.1 to Apr.15)
Opening hours: 07:30—17∶30
How to get there: Tourism Bus 1, 2 and 3 are available to Tiger Hill. Bus 32, 36, 146, 316 and 949 can reach the spot as well.

5.Shantang Street(山塘街)

Shantang Street is the most famous ancient street in Suzhou City. The street has been existed for more than 1100 years old. There are some coffee bars, art galleries and special hotels along the street. 7-mile Shantang Street leads to Tiger Hill.

Visiting the Tiger Hill first and then walking along the riverside road, you can enjoy a quiet and peaceful local life at beginning and enjoy a lively journey in the Shantang Street. To listen to pingtan performances in Shantang Shuyuan is a good way to experience ancient Jiangnan culture. What is Pingtan? Pingtan is storytelling and ballad singing in Suzhou dialect.

Address:NO.8, Huqiu Shanmennei, Suzhou(苏州市虎丘山门内8号)
Ticket: 60 CNY (Apr.16 to Oct.31); 40 CNY (Nov.1 to Apr.15)
Opening hours: 08:30—17∶00
How to get there: Travelers can take 7, 34, 64, 70, 161, 204, 304, 311,406,415,501, 522,622,921 or Tourism Bus 1 and get off at Guangji Bridge(广济桥).

Nearby Water Towns

Tongli Ancient Town(同里古镇)
At the bank of Taihu Lake, Tongli Ancient Town is one of top 6 water towns in Jiangnan (the lower reaches of the Yangtze River). Built in the Song Dynasty, Tongli has been existed for more than 1000 years old. You can see typical Chinese gardens, ancient bridges and experience Suzhou local life. To take a small boat along the river is a great way to enjoy Tongli’s beauty.

Travelers can also choose to stay in a hotel in Tongli Ancient Town to see a different water town in the morning, afternoon and evening. The ancient town is a wonderful place to take some photos even including wedding photos. So have a nice photography journey in Tongli.

Address: Tongli Town, Wujiang City, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province (江苏省苏州市吴江市同里镇)
Ticket: 100 CNY
Opening hours: 07:30-21:00 (Tickets are stopped selling at 17:30.)
How to get there: Travelers can take a coach at North Square of Suzhou Railway Station with a 50 minutes journey.

Zhouzhang Ancient Town(周庄古镇)
Zhouzhang Ancient Town is located in the junction between Kunshan in Jiangsu Province and Shanghai. As one of top 6 ancient towns in the area, Zhouzhang is reputed as “No.1 Water Town in China”. Here you can see Shen Wanshan (A Rich Businessman at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty) Former Residence, take a cruise around the town, listen to some Kunqu Opera and watch cormorants performance.

Shen Wanshan Former Residence is a typical residence of the Qing Dynasty. In addition, travelers can take a night cruise along the river to enjoy a wonderful night journey. At the same time, Zhouzhou Ancient Town is one of National 5A Scenic Spots.

Address: Zhouzhang Ancient Town, Kunshan City, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province
Ticket: 100 CNY
Opening hours: 08:00-19:00
How to get there: There are regular buses in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Kunshan and Suzhou. Travelers can take a direct coach in Shanghai Coach Station Northern Station (上海长途汽车站北区客运站). The coach schedule is 6:50, 9:00, 12:00, 14:20 and 16:50 there.