Suzhou - Jiangsu hotels
Suzhou is not a typical poster child for the grand experiment with pure, plenary state-run capitalism that has come to define the New China. Yes, the city is home to the controversial China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, High & New Technology Development Zone a.k.a. New District, and a perceptible rise in software engineers and computer science grads. And only in the People’s Republic is a city of more than 4 million people a not so distant satellite of a megalopolis of 23 million.
Proximity to Shanghai surely helps drive interest (and commerce) in Suzhou but the Jiangsu Province gem has a trump card. The “Classical Gardens of Suzhou” is a singular UNESCO World Heritage Site that lures millions of domestic tourists to the city every year. Marco Polo himself was a fan and wrote extensively about Suzhou as a result.
Happily, the sprawl of modern Suzhou has left most of the old city intact. A cluster of handsome pagodas, temples, gardens and canals offer venerable charm amid the urban din and backdrop of concrete, steel and glass.
Suzhou Top 10
10. Suzhou Silk Museum illustrates why Suzhou was the silk capital of the country.
5. Suzhou Museum is a museum of Chinese art built by native son starchitect I. M. Pei.
9. Suzhou Museum of Opera and Theatre traces the history of performance art in the city.
4. The Retreat and Reflection Garden is one of the most notable gardens in the UNESCO World Heritage roster.
8. Couple’s Garden is a small under the radar jewel in a pretty precinct of the city.
3. Cold Mountain (Hanshan) Temple is worthwhile trek outside the city proper.
7. Twin Pagodas date back to the Song Dynasty.
2. Yunyan Pagoda tops Tiger Hill close to West Garden Temple and the Garden to Linger In.
6. Garden of Harmony is a diminutive oasis built in the Qing Dynasty.
1. Garden of the Master of the Nets compensates for a lack of size with exquisite beauty.
- Humble Administrator’s Garden - This ancient and beautiful garden is one of the most popular historical attractions.
- Tongli Town - This popular attraction features ancient homes that allow visitors to see the China of the past.
- Shangtang Street - Lanterns light the narrow streets of this historic street.
- Mudu Ancient Town - This city near Suzhou allows visitors to see what ancient China was like before modern inventions and traffic.
- Luxiang Ancient Village - Another ancient town that is built entirely of stones.
- Guan Qian Shopping Street - The many unique shops on this street make it a great place to window shop.
- Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute - If you are looking for beautiful and unique local embroidery, this is the place to start.
- Suzhou Silk Mill - You can learn about how silk is made and buy silk products at this unique shop, a great place to get souvenirs.
- Youhe Book - The best shop to buy new and used reading material, as well as maps of the area.
- Xiangzhou Fan Workshop - This specialty shop sells beautiful handmade fans, which make great gifts.
Gay & Lesbian Suzhou
- Regalia Resort and Spa - This gay-friendly Suzhou resort is one of the nicest places to stay in the area.
- Hotel Soul - The attentive staff at this gay-friendly hotel make it a favourite with the gay and lesbian community.
- Kempinski Hotel - One of the favourite gay-friendly hotels due to its nice rooms and great views.
- Deep Breath - This hotspot draws a young gay crowd because of its weekend shows and dance floor.
- Hai Xing - This gay-friendly sauna is the perfect place to get a nice massage and relax after a hard day.
- Ding Park - This small park is one of the best places in the city to take an outdoor stroll.
- Yiyuan Garden - Local plants and flowers are on display in this popular garden.
- Xishan Moon Bay - Travellers looking for peace and quiet flock to this beautiful bay near Suzhou.
- Yipu Garden - This garden features unique architecture as well as beautiful landscaping.
- Qiyuan Garden - This historic garden is a great place to relax and see the local plant life.
- Take a refreshing swim at Shihu Lake in Suzhou.
- Go for a swim or play volleyball at Jinji Lake.
- Jog the shores of Dushu Lake.
- Hire a bike and ride around the beautiful Feiyun Lake.
- Swim near the beautiful beaches of Paradise Island Resort.
Kunqu Opera is a flagship cultural staple of Suzhou.
Suzhou Spring Festival is a colourful annual event.
Lantern Festival revives the classical gardens, canals and pagodas of the city to life in February.
Suzhou Bookworm International Literary Festival takes place in March.
Suzhou International Silk Festival takes place in September.
When To Go
Suzhou has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. A palpable monsoon influence sometimes hampers summer visitors but overall, average annual rainfall is a respectable 46 in (1,165 mm).
Temperatures in July and August climb to a range of 77°F (25°C) to 89°F (31°C) and let up gradually in late September. Winters feature conditions in the 34°F (1°C) to 52°F (11°C) range.
As is so often the case with humid subtropical China, the most comfortable months to visit Suzhou weather-wise are April, May, October and November.
Most visitors to Suzhou arrive via Shanghai and a minority from Jiangsu capital Nanjing. Shuttle and rail service is affordable and ample from both.
Yangzi river tours stop in Suzhou and often offer the chance to see the city over the course of a day or two.
A decent ensemble of historic monuments and landmarks congregate in a compact area of central Suzhou. Taxi and bus service is abundant and decent but may necessitate some ease with the local language. A new subway system is under construction and will eventually 4 lines and over 100 stops.
Suzhou's reputation as a first class tourist destination in China began with pagodas, delicate gardens and peerless stone architecture. Indeed, the city of more than 6 million people on the Yangtze River and shores of Lake Taihu can teach the new urban centers of the People's Republic a lesson or two on aesthetic beauty. The fact of the matter though is that no city can replicate Suzhou's inherent charms. As the pioneer of Kunqu Opera, silk emroidery and fine calligraphy in China, the city is a pure original.
The legendary Suzhou Gardens date back almost three thousand years, with each one built as a purposeful and express work of art. One visit and tourists begin to comprehend why for Marco Polo, Suzhou was a "very great and noble city". More examples include the Temple of Mystery, Cold Mountain Temple and the Yunyan Pagoda. The Suzhou Museum contains a wonderful collection of artifacts from the city's glorious past.
Attractions & Activities
- Temple of Mystery
- Cold Mountain Temple
- Yunyan Pagoda
- The Retreat and Reflection Garden
- Suzhou Museum
- Kunqu Opera
- Suzhou Spring Festival
- Lantern Festival
- Suzhou Bookworm International Literary Festival
- Silk Festival
Restaurant & Nightlife
- Suzhou Zen
- Wu Palace Hilton
- Song He Lou
- De Yue Lou
- Club 2
- Club Red
- Golden Paris
- Kiss Bar
Suzhou has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons, although winters in the city are relatively mild.
- Winter (December to March) 2-13°C
- Spring (April to May) 12-24°C
- Summer (June to September) 22-32°C
- Fall (October to November) 11-22°C
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