How to Spend a Great Weekend in Suzhou

by | Oct 10, 2018

A Weekend in Suzhou | That's Mandarin Blog

If you are going to travel around China or, for example, want to visit Shanghai, you also must spend a day or two in Suzhou — a beautiful and authentic town, which’s located just half an hour on the train from the Chinese economic capital.

In this post we are going to have a look at a few beautiful attractions of Suzhou.


Getting From Shanghai To Suzhou

But first – how to get there?

You can buy a ticket online using your mobile phone, (I personally always use 淘宝 for this purpose, it’s really convenient) or get it directly at the train station. Make sure you choose the tight station – because there are a few train stations around Shanghai. Most trains to Suzhou go from Shanghai Railway Station, or上海火车站.


Planning Your Stay

Well, let’s imagine that you’ve finally got in the train and your journey to Suzhou begins from the next minute. You have two days. Of course it’s not enough to see ALL the attractions. But it’s just sufficient to have a look at THE BEST of them (in my estimation) and not to be bored.

What are you going to visit there? I’ve got a few recommendations for you! 😄


Day 1: The Lion Forest Garden, Suzhou Museum and Humble Administrator‘s Garden

First of all, these three places are located nearby, so you can spend the whole day wandering around without rushing and enjoying ones of the most beautiful gardens in China. Yes, Suzhou is famous for its parks. Moreover, there is even a saying in Chinese what can be literally translated as “There is Paradise above and Suzhou and Hangzhou below” (上有天堂, 下有苏杭). Therefore, Suzhou can become a variation of Paradise as well, especially if you are lucky enough and the parks are not overcrowded on the day you come there 😜

Suzhou attractions map

The Lion Forest Garden, 狮子林园

  • Price: 40 RMB (6 USD) / 30 RMB (5 USD)
  • Opening Hours: 7:30-17:30 (March 1st – October 15th) / 7:30-17:00 (October 16th – End of February)

It’s history starts from the year 1342 when it was build by Yuan Dynasty. The most interesting thing there for me was the huge and labyrinthine grotto of rocks at its center! You can walk up and down and enjoy the view of the garden from different high and under different angles what makes visiting this place more interesting and unusual. Believe me, this man-made mountains ARE something!

Trip to Suzhou the Lion Forest Garden

Suzhou Museum, 苏州博物馆

  • Price: free
  • Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (closed on Monday)

There you can have a look at ancient Chinese art, paintings, calligraphy and so on. To my mind, this is a very “Instagram” place, so don’t forget to take a power bank with you as your phone probably will be discharged after visiting this museum. The unusual building was designed by a Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei who also built the famous Pyramid in Louvre (Paris, France). In the end you can enjoy a cup of coffee at the local cafeteria.

Suzhou museum view outside

Humble Administrator‘s Garden, 拙政园

  • Price: 70 yuan (10 USD) /  50 yuan (7 USD)
  • Opening Hours: 7:30-17:30 (March 1st – October 15th) / 7:30-17:00 (October 16th – End of February)

Humble Administrator‘s Garden, as well as The Lion Forest Garden, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the largest garden in Suzhou which was built in around 1509 during the Ming Dynasty, so it‘s been around for more than 500 years. There you can find everything that associates with classical China: bamboo, pavilions, lotuses, bridges. This place is more beautiful before sunset – the perfect light at this time makes every corner look more photogenic.

Day 2: Tongli Water Town (同里)

  • Price: 100 RMB (15 USD)
  • Opening Hours: 7:30-17:30 (March 1st – October 15th)/7:30-17:00 (October 16th – End of February)

Tongli is an ancient water town which is located not far from Suzhou. If you don’t want to spend money on a taxi, you can first go to the subway station of the same name and then take a short drive to this attraction. It will surely cut your costs! Moreover, I suggest you to go there early in the morning, so you will be able to visit many museums that are included in the ticket. In spite of the fact that there are lots of shops with souvenirs and modern cafes, you also can see the way people lived many and many ago as some locals are still take care of their houses there and do not move anywhere. Besides, you can try some unique handmade food and take pictures of beautiful bridges and water canals with boats.

Now you are well prepared for the coming Suzhou trip! Hope you’ll have fun there!

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