Top 7 Things to Do in Suzhou

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Apr. 18, 2021

Suzhou’s typical gardens are impressive for a lot of travelers at home and abroad.

Suzhou is very easily reached from Shanghai and Hangzhou. So travelers can completely arrange a tour for themselves. What things to do in Suzhou? To see all the gardens in Suzhou are not suggested. Travelers can choose one or two 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 the top two water towns in China, which are at the same distance to reach.

1. Humble Administrator's Garden 

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

A large number 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 the water. In spring, the garden is decorated with thousands of colorful flowers. In autumn, red, yellow, and green leaves are around ancient houses.

2. Lingering Garden

Together with Suzhou’s Humble Administrator's Garden, Beijing’s Summer Palace, and Chengde Mountain Resort in Heibei Province, Lingering Garden is one of the top 4 gardens in China. It is one part of the traditional Suzhou gardens which have been listed as 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.

3. Master of the Nets Garden

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.

4. Tiger Hill 

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 the “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 sitting on the tomb. So the place got the name Tiger Hill. Travelers can see Yunyan Tower and Jianchi Pool which are two highlights of Tiger Hill. For more than 1,000 years, Yunyan Tower has been a leaning tower and is also a symbol of ancient Suzhou.

There are Flower Fair in spring and a Temple Fair in autumn held in Tiger Hill. Travelers can see thousands of different flowers and enjoy the 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.

5. Shantang Street

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

Visiting Tiger Hill first and then walking along the riverside road, you can enjoy a quiet and peaceful local life at the beginning and enjoy a lively journey on 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 the Suzhou dialect.

6. Take a Pedicab Ride through Allays and Old Streets

Pedicab ride is a popular activity in Suzhou, it can go to the very local street or alleys that the tour group didn’t go, to and enjoy historical relics along ancient canals on Pingjiang road, you’d better hire a tour guide, it is how she/he makes you feel it, and you will gain a more understanding of traditions and cultures of this garden city.

1. if take a pedicab ride on your own, should pay attention to the tourist trap, some pull men would ask to buy ticket packages from them at an unfair price. Before the tour, better to tell them where to go, negotiate the price, and only pay for the pedicab fee and nothing else.

2. The pull man can not speak any English, so go with an English guide is suggested to guide you around.

3. Tour Route: Suzhou city moat – old town street – flower and birds market – local farmers’ market

4. Price: price is flexible based on the place you want to go and time spent.

7. Tongli Ancient Town

At the bank of Taihu Lake, Tongli Ancient Town is one of the top 6 water towns in Jiangnan (the lower reaches of the Yangtze River). Built in the Song Dynasty, Tongli has existed for more than 1,000 years. You can see typical Chinese gardens, and ancient bridges and experience Suzhou's 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.

Tour Suzhou with Us

If you choose to take a personalized private tour with us, your private tour guide and driver will pick you up from any place you want. Enjoy a hassle-free trip with us!

Here are our most popular Suzhou tours:

Our tours are flexible and can be tailor-made to your tour needs.

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