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Suzhou

Suzhou is famously known as the “Venice of the Orient” as it’s a city built across a series of waterways, ponds and streams. In fact, 42% of the city is covered by water, with many traditional bridges and exquisite gardens. As such, Suzhou is a perfect destination for natural beauty and a relaxed pace.

Tours and activities in Suzhou

Suzhou is a wonderful city with a lot of history, so to take it all in, consider taking an organized tour. Local guides can advise you on the best restaurants for sampling local delicacies and help you to book travel and entry to some of the historical sites.

Take a look at our full range of tour offers or get in touch for more information.

Best time to visit

Suzhou has a subtropical monsoon climate with four distinct seasons, and the weather is generally mild. Between January and April, probably the best time to visit for pleasant weather, and in late June you can experience the Plum Rain Season when you’ll see the plum trees blossom.

Top Attractions in Suzhou

Suzhou is a natural tranquilizer for travelers. Whether you are traveling alone, with your family, friends or partner -you can soothe your heart and soul here. People who want to travel for healing or wellness purposes, the city offers great beauty for them too.

Humble Administrator’s Garden
1. Humble Administrator’s Garden
Landmarks and icons

One of Suzhou’s most famous landmarks is the Humble Administrator’s Garden. It is listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site and a protected Cultural Relic, this 52,000-sq. meter garden is stunning. Originally built during the Ming Dynasty it was the private garden of a government official and is was built upon the relics of a former residence and a Taoist Temple. Built over the water, it is crisscrossed with bridges and has a number of buildings, pavilions, and halls.

The Couple’s Retreat Garden
2. The Couple’s Retreat Garden
Landmarks and icons

The Couple’s Retreat Garden is also an area of outstanding classical beauty and contains water features, rockeries, and pavilions.

The Silk Museum
3. The Silk Museum
Museums, galleries and exhibitions

The Silk Museum celebrates Suzhou’s status as the silk-producing capital of Ancient China and has exhibits on everything from silkworm-rearing to weaving. You’ll see marble sculptures, beautiful white silks and old preserved looms. You can also purchase silk items at the on-site stores.

Guangfu Ancient Town
4. Guangfu Ancient Town
Nature, parks and outdoors

Guangfu Ancient Town is a preserved old town featuring historical relics like the Bronze Kwan-yin Temple, the Stone and Bamboo Garden and the Sea of Fragrant Snow, a beautiful orchard of plum trees. You can see local tradition at work here, with plenty of silk craft and olive-stone carving.

Canglang Pavilion
5. Canglang Pavilion
Nature, parks and outdoors

Suzhou is full of natural attractions and is famed for its many classical gardens. You might also want to visit Canglang Pavilion, The Master of Nets Garden, Lingering Garden and Lion Grove Garden. There are also other old historical towns, including Mudu Ancient Town and Tongli Town.

The Master of Nets Garden
6. The Master of Nets Garden
Nature, parks and outdoors

Suzhou is full of natural attractions and is famed for its many classical gardens. You might also want to visit Canglang Pavilion, The Master of Nets Garden, Lingering Garden and Lion Grove Garden. There are also other old historical towns, including Mudu Ancient Town and Tongli Town.

Lingering Garden
7. Lingering Garden
Nature, parks and outdoors

Suzhou is full of natural attractions and is famed for its many classical gardens. You might also want to visit Canglang Pavilion, The Master of Nets Garden, Lingering Garden and Lion Grove Garden. There are also other old historical towns, including Mudu Ancient Town and Tongli Town.

Mudu Ancient Town
8. Mudu Ancient Town
Nature, parks and outdoors

Suzhou is full of natural attractions and is famed for its many classical gardens. You might also want to visit Canglang Pavilion, The Master of Nets Garden, Lingering Garden and Lion Grove Garden. There are also other old historical towns, including Mudu Ancient Town and Tongli Town.

Tongli Town
9. Tongli Town
Nature, parks and outdoors

Suzhou is full of natural attractions and is famed for its many classical gardens. You might also want to visit Canglang Pavilion, The Master of Nets Garden, Lingering Garden and Lion Grove Garden. There are also other old historical towns, including Mudu Ancient Town and Tongli Town.

Xuanmiao Taoist Temple (The Temple of Mystery)
10. Xuanmiao Taoist Temple (The Temple of Mystery)
Things to do with kids

For kids interested in history, Xuanmiao Taoist Temple (The Temple of Mystery) is a wonderful day out. Here, you’ll see a preserved temple with wooden gates and many statues of gold and jade. You can also experience Taoist music and the flying cymbals performance, which includes some incredible stunts.

Shiquan Street
11. Shiquan Street
Leisure and shopping

Suzhou is a wonderful city for purchasing local and traditional items. You can, of course, buy many wonderful silks and brocades, as well as fans, woodblock prints, writing brushes and other embroidered handicrafts. The city has many shops and some of them are very large, offering a selection of all these, so you won’t find yourself having to shop around too much.

Shiquan Street is also home to fashionable clothes shops, antiques, and pottery. It’s popular with young people thanks to the trendy fashions on offer there and you can also find shopping malls selling modern goods that are produced right here in the city.

The city also has an abundance of tea houses, pubs, and clubs.

 

Getting here and getting around

There is no airport in the city of Suzhou, so you’ll need to fly to either Shanghai Hongqiao or Pudong International airports. Connecting bullet trains or airport buses will take you easily to the city from either airport.

If you’re traveling by rail, you’ll arrive in Suzhou Railway Station, which uses the bullet train to connect to many mainland Chinese cities like Shanghai and Nanjing. There are three other railway stations in the city; North Railway Station, Suzhou New District Railway Station, and Industrial Park Railway Station, so the city is well served by trains.

There are also plenty of long-distance buses taking visitors to and from Suzhou.

Getting around the city is easy, with an efficient transport service that includes buses. Most of these are air-conditioned but be aware that they are often self-service, so have a change to hand before boarding. Fares are ¥1 per person or ¥2 for air-conditioned buses.

Two subway lines are currently complete with more under construction and are a quick and efficient way of getting around.

There are also 4,800 taxis in Suzhou that can be flagged down, and 500 deluxe taxis for reservation only. Flag-down rates start at ¥10.

Eating and drinking

Suzhou cuisine is delicate and sweet, full of aromas, perfumes, and colors. Local dishes are widespread and include Biluo Xiaren (quick-fried shrimp and biluochan tea), steamed crabs and Xigua Ji (young chicken steamed in watermelon rind).

Two very old restaurants in the city are well worth trying if you’re keen to sample authentic Suzhou dining. Song He Lou is over 200 years old and is highly recommended. De Yue Lou has a 400-year-old lineage with a massive number of traditional dishes to choose from.

Suzhou has many old restaurants, so no matter where you’re based you’ll find somewhere close by to try local and traditional cuisine.

Getting a good night's sleep

One of the absolute best high-end hotels in Suzhou is the Garden Hotel. Luxurious, 5-star accommodation, this hotel has a massive garden, restaurant, indoor pool, and fitness center, as well as on-site massage and tennis courts. Rooms are tastefully and subtly decorated, and this is a perfect place to relax in luxury.

Hotel Soul Suzhou is a mid-priced hotel that consistently gets rave reviews. With a great location, Suzhou-style rooftop garden, and many facilities on site, it has a quirky bijou style that you’ll find endearing.

If you’re on a budget, you can’t do better than Mingtown Suzhou Youth Hostel. Housed in a historic building and with traditional wooden décor, this hotel is beautiful. It has a lobby bar and billiards room and is a fantastic place for meeting other travelers before going on to the nearby museums.