Home : City Guide: Suzhou

Suzhou Introduction

Suzhou is one of southeastern China's captivating cities, described by many as 'Heaven on Earth'. Visitors often marvel at the picturesque scenery throughout the city - a blend of rivers, bridges, houses, and gardens. Suzhou Gardens, the cream of the ancient classical gardens, can be called the soul of the city, as it adds vibrant colors and hints of the city's ancient culture to the city.

Suzhou, Jiangsu

Suzhou is situated in the southeastern portion of the Jiangsu Province, bordering Shanghai in the east and Zhejiang Province in the south. North of Suzhou is the great Yangtze River and Taihu Lake, the third largest fresh water lake in China, lies to its west. The world's longest canal, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, runs serenely across the city. It has a mild but moist climate, making it known as 'A Land of Fish and Rice'.

Suzhou has been deemed one of the 24 historical and cultural cities in China. The city boasts a history of over 2,500 years, having many distinct cultural eras throughout the dynasties. Throughout its history, Suzhou has cultivated many well-known painters, calligraphers, and poets, many of whom received the top three places in the ancient national imperial examinations. Other popular art forms also have roots in the city, such as the Kunqu Opera (known as the 'Mother of Chinese Operas'), Suzhou Opera, and Pingtan (a kind of traditional narrative where the storyteller sings and plays a traditional instrument). These are called the 'Three Flowers' of Suzhou's culture and have been passed down for hundreds of years. The arts and crafts are also as abundant as they are excellent. Embroidery from Suzhou is considered to be among the best in China. Taohuawu woodcut drawings, sculptures, Song Brocades, and the gems are also worth collection.

Things to Do
There are more than 10 museums in Suzhou, where visitors can learn about the city's culture and various art forms.

Creators of the famous Suzhou Gardens blended the area's natural landscapes with architecture, sculpture, calligraphy, and paintings. The most famous gardens in Suzhou are the Humble Administrator's Garden and the Lingering Garden. These are often grouped with Beijing Summer Palace and the Mountain Resort of Chengde in the Hebei Province as being the four best gardens in China.

The gardens of Suzhou have been listed as World Heritage Sites (other sites include the Canglang Pavilion, the Lion Grove Garden and the Garden of the Master of Nets.

Besides, the famous ancient water townships in Suzhou like Tongli Town and Zhouzhuang Water Town are also on the way to World Heritages and other spots to appreciate the unique local customs and culture of Suzhou.

Other sites in Suzhou which should not be missed are Tiger Hill, where the majestic beauty of Suzhou lies, and Hanshan Temple, a quiet Buddhist resort. The 108 bell-strikes on New Years Eve is one of the most splendid and attractive scenes of this ancient temple. 

Suzhou Travel Tips
Suzhou is charming not only in its history, but also for its modern amenities. The city boasts many large convenient entertainment facilities. Suzhou Amusement Land, called as 'Oriental Disneyland' and Taihu Pearl Lakeside Resort are the best places for vacation and relaxation. The commercial streets of Guanqian Street and Shiquan Street offer affordable shopping, dining and sightseeing. Suzhou Cuisine is of China's most popular cuisines, so you surely won't leave hungry. The Yangtze River Saury, Taihu Lake Whitebait, Yangcheng Lake Hairy Crab and Zangshu Town Beef are some of the most unique dishes of Suzhou. Make sure you do not miss out on the local Biluochun Tea, which will freshen your mouth after your meal.

Nightlife in Suzhou differs from other cities. One of the best ways to enjoy an evening here is by boating through the city's moat, where you will see a panoramic view of the ancient city. Additionally, the special Night Garden of Garden of the Master of Nets has nightly operas and Chinese classical musical performances.

 Recommended China Tour with Suzhou
5 Days China Tour: Shanghai -  Suzhou - Zhouzhuang  - Shanghai