Suzhou - acclaimed 'paradise on earth'
Last Update: 5th January 2020
Well-known for amazing private gardens, Suzhou has more than 60 classical gardens, 8 of them are declared UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The Old Town of Suzhou features the highlights of the gardens. In addition, the 2500-years-old city has old temples to explore and stunning natural beauty to enjoy.
What to expect at Suzhou
The Humble Administrator’s Garden is a must-visit spot in Suzhou. It is the largest classical landscape garden in Suzhou. The original plan of the garden was designed in 1509. The entire construction took 16 years to complete. Most of the existing buildings in the garden were rebuilt in 1860. Lion Grove Garden has the largest ancient artificial hills across China.
If you are a museum lover, Suzhou Museum and Suzhou Garden Museum are great options. Designed by Leoh Ming Pei, Suzhou Museum features the style of Suzhou Garden. You’ll be amazed at the precious exhibits, jade, paintings, ceramics, Buddhist items, etc. The traditional tools used in the construction of Suzhou Garden are also on display. Suzhou Garden Museum is located in the Humble Administrator’s Garden. It introduces the landscape techniques, and garden history as well as culture.
If you love old temples, it is suggested that you visit Hanshan Temple. It was originally built between 502 and 519. The existing buildings there were rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1912). You can find old steles and enjoy the delicious vegetarian meal in the temple. Compared to Hanshan Temple, Xiyuan Temple, Xuanmiao Temple, and Lingyanshan Temple are less crowded with visitors.
Suzhou also features gorgeous natural views to appreciate. You can just hike or ride a bike along Taihu and Yangcheng Lakes as well as explore the historical and cultural spots nearby. Tianping Mountain is a paradise for photographers in autumn due to red and golden leaves across the mountain.
Stroll around Suzhou Pingjiang History Cultural Quarters and you’ll find several classical gardens. In addition, you can explore the local market and old local unknown lanes to see the local life there.
Best time to visit Suzhou
The best months to visit Suzhou is normally from April to October.
How to get to Suzhou
Unfortunately, there is no airport available in Suzhou. But there are many trains to Hangzhou from the main cities, Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Guiyang, Nanjing, Guilin, Xiamen, etc. Please get to Suzhou by train based on your schedule. Shanghai is also only a high-speed train ride away from Suzhou.
Additional Suzhou Travel Advice
- It is very cold from late November to late February in Suzhou.