Suzhou is the best tour city in Jiangsu Province and one of the most important tourist destinations in China. Its gardening is the best in China showing great attraction to tourist worldwide. It may be the aspect of this city most well-known to foreigners. Within 2 hours’ driving from Shanghai provide very convenient transportation to Suzhou.
Main Attractions in Suzhou
Humble Administrator’s Garden
The Humble Administrator's Garden (Zhuozhengyuan) is the largest garden in Suzhou and the most famous and representative of Suzhou gardens. The best sections of the garden are the western parts where pools and pavilions are the main themes. This is a wonderful place to stroll as the greenery, flowing water and the antique pavilions have a relaxing effect. These areas of the garden are quite beautiful and are a great place to stroll, people-watch or take pictures. This Ming Dynasty garden was actually made to enable the master of the garden to have a place to do some gardening and get away from the bustle of life as an official!
Garden of the Master of the Nets
The Garden of the Master of the Nets (Wangshiyuan) is the best and most celebrated of all the Suzhou gardens. This combined Qing Dynasty residence and garden is also the smallest of the Suzhou gardens. The Garden of the Master of the Nets is truly a masterpiece. The effective use of space is the most impressive thing about this garden. Rock arrangements and beautiful fish pools balance each other as do the house and garden sections. The garden also contains many examples of using lattice windows to frame scenes of flowers or bamboo. In the early 1980s, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York used the Dianchunyi Court section (located in the western part of the inner garden) as a model for a Ming style garden. This garden is very small and as such, we recommend that you visit during an off-peak time to beat the crowds. Winter is Suzhou's biggest off season and even in Spring or Summer, going in the early morning can help.
Hanshan Temple (Hanshan Si) is one of Suzhou's greatest landmarks and most active Buddhist temples. This temple is an important part of Suzhou's local community and cultural life. Built during the Liang Dynasty (502-519), more than 1400 years ago, the temple is named after the famous monk of that dynasty, Hanshan. The Hanshan Temple with its dark roof tiles and yellow walls can be seen very clearly amongst the surrounding pine and cypress trees. The main buildings and towers of the Temple complex offer a good view of the area. Chinese tourists love to buy tickets to ring the bell in the Bell Tower as this act of Buddhist devotion is said to bring good luck, but they probably just do it for fun!
Tiger Hill Park is simply one of Suzhou's greatest attractions! Within the park walls, there are lots of great sights, filled with history and legend. All in all, this is great place for a picnic or an afternoon of exploring. Tiger Hill (Huqiu) is the final resting place of the ruler of ancient Suzhou, He Lu. The area was named Tiger Hill after a tiger was seen lying on He Lu's tomb. One of Tiger Hill's most famous spots is Sword Pond (Jianchi). He Lu was a famous warrior and sword collector and the Sword Pond is said to hold He Lu's treasured swords in its watery depths. Tiger Hill also houses the Yunyan Pagoda, that has been leaning since the before the Qing Dynasty. Today this 1000-year-old (from the Sui Dynasty) pagoda has become a symbol of Suzhou. It's best to take a full afternoon to explore this wonderful historic park.
Blue Wave Pavilion
The Blue Wave Pavilion (Canglangting) is one of Suzhou's most famous and classic gardens. The use of space and combinations of water, rock and plants here, epitomize the art of Suzhou gardening. The Blue Wave Pavilion is the oldest garden in Suzhou, originally built in the Tang Dynasty. Winding streams, beautiful trees and fragrant lotus blossoms are all framed between white walls and gray walkways make this garden quite unforgettable. The garden is rather small and if you plan to enjoy Canglangting's quiet and elegant side, make sure you go at a quiet time. Winter is Suzhou's off season, while Spring and Summer are the busiest. Visiting this garden in the morning may also keep crowds to a minimum.