You're Going to Love Suzhou
Suzhou is known for its Classical Gardens and its canals. This city is not far from Shanghai and is rapidly developing due to the success of its modern industries.
You are going to love the sights on the Yangtze River, the canals and the many silk crafts you can buy in small shops everywhere in the city. Suzhou is also renowned for its operas; you need to catch a performance during your trip!
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Suzhou
1. The Classical Gardens
The Gardens are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are several of them, including the Lingering Garden and the Humble Administrator's Garden.
2. Follow the Canals
Follow the canals to explore the city. Suzhou is going to surprise you with its mixture of new and old neighborhoods. Shan Tang Street is probably one of the most interesting canal streets with its many souvenir shops.
3. The Lotus Ponds
The He Tang Yue Se Garden has several lotus ponds. You can take a walk among the ponds and see them from above once you climb the many stairs of the watchtower.
4. Visit Temples
There are a few temples worth visiting in Suzhou. The Cold Mountain Temple dates from 500 AD. The Confucian Temple is worth visiting for its old maps, and you also need to see the Burghardt Tower, which is rumored to have been constructed by order of Wu king Sun Quan.
5. Catch a Performance at the Suzhou Opera Museum
You can watch a Chinese opera at the Suzhou Opera Museum. The building itself is worth seeing, and there are some interesting exhibits with musical instruments.
When to Visit Suzhou
Try to visit Suzhou between March and October. The winters are usually cold and humid.
How to Get to Suzhou
The two nearest airports are in Shanghai. The Pudong International Airport (PVG) is 75 miles away from Suzhou and the Hongqiao Airport (SHA) is 53 miles away. There are a few shuttles that connect these two airports with Suzhou and prices range from ¥50 to ¥80. Taking a taxi between one of these airports and Suzhou should cost around ¥60.
Traveling by train between Shanghai and Suzhou should only cost ¥150. A train ticket between Hangzhou and Suzhou should cost ¥270 and traveling between Beijing and Suzhou by train should cost ¥690.
Suzhou is not far from Shanghai, which means it is well connected to other major Chinese cities. You can drive to Suzhou from Shanghai by following the Shanghai-Chengdu Expressway. You can reach Suzhou from Huzhou by following the Shanghai-Chongjing Expressway and get from Changzhou to Suzhou by following the Xincai-Biyang Expressway.
Taking the bus between Shanghai and Suzhou will cost ¥40. You can purchase a bus ticket between Nanjing and Suzhou for ¥100.
Airlines serving Suzhou
Where to Stay in Suzhou
The Regala Resort & Spa is a good option if you are looking for luxury. The Mercure Suzhou Park Hotel is another great accommodation.
Popular Neighborhoods in Suzhou
GuanQian Street – You will find several stores in this street and can explore the different backstreets to find artisans who sell their crafts and to try the local cuisine.
Tiger Hill – This is one of the most popular touristic destinations in the area. There are several relics and landmarks to see, including the tomb of King He Le, the Sword Pond and the Yunyan Pagoda.
Suzhou Shangfangshan National Forest Park – This is the ideal place to go if you want to hike. The Shihu Lake is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the area.
Where to stay in popular areas of Suzhou
How to Get Around Suzhou
There are a couple of metro lines in Suzhou and several bus routes. Bus fare is only ¥1 or ¥2. Metro fare starts at ¥2 and increases with distance.
Taxis are a convenient way to get around Suzhou. Taxi fare should cost around ¥5 per mile.
You will find a few Avis locations in Suzhou. Renting a car should cost ¥1,000 a day. Renting a bicycle only costs ¥200 a day and riding a bike is a more convenient way to explore the city.
The Cost of Living in Suzhou
The InCity Plaza and Times Square are the best places to find modern department stores. You will find more traditional stores with souvenirs and crafts on Shan Tang Street, Baita Road and Ping Jiang Road.
Groceries and Other
There are plenty of grocery stores in Suzhou, including Metro, Auchan, Carrefour and Walmart locations. Expect to pay ¥50 for a gallon of milk and ¥9 for a loaf of bread.
Where to Eat in Suzhou
Harbin Dumplings is a delicious and very affordable eatery. If you want a more upscale experience, book a table at Lotus. Affordable restaurants should only cost ¥25 for a meal and at a more upscale place it should cost you around ¥150 or more.