Jiangsu Province's

SUZHOU

Global Mark : 12.60

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 3 5 3 1 3 2 4

1

11.11

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend Notes AVER.
20 90%  (18) 70%  (14) 90%  (18) 5 to 19 14.10


Description :
Described as the "Venice of the East"  or the "Garden City", Suzhou indeed boost the most famous gardens of all China, integrated in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997.

Comments : The canals are quite dirty but as Suzhou is also famous for the beauty of its girls, male backpackers should not care...

What to do : Hire a bicycle (10-20Y per day) and ride the small streets / Climb the pagoda of the North Temple for a panoramic view of this now modern city / Walk the famous gardens / Learn about silk at the special museum / Spend money in the modern shopping complex / Offer drinks to girls at the local discos / Admire an old humpback bridge near the Cold Mountain Temple /

What you may not like : The crowd in the gardens / The development of the city & fast disappearance of charming streets / The cost of accommodations / Some expensive gardens  / Some even more expensive drinks at discos / Some aggressive touts

How long ? One or two days

Bikes ? In various places including near the train station.

 

 << Discover the big Venice of Orient ...


Where to stay ?

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money !

Suzhou is very expensive and the best bets are far from the Train Station, in the South east of the city. Expect to pay at least 100Y for a room without bath and minimum comfort, probably more.

Follow touts at the railway station only to an hotel nearby. As usual, do not accept to pay for a taxi.

On the south-east, you can try the Suzhou University Foreign Student Dormitory (nice name but no dorm) or, also on the campus, the nearby Dongwu Guesthouse (good rooms for around Y200). Near the Blue Wave Pavilion, the Suzhou Medical School Guesthouse was reported to offer the cheapest rate at 80Y.

Considering the above, it can make sense to visit Suzhou as a day trip from Shanghai (only one hour away by train) or Wuxi (40mn), provided you find cheaper there...


How to come & leave ?  

Trains  << Click there

Arriving by boat from Hangzhou is a good idea as you will disembark early in the morning, not too far from the cheap hotels and next to the South Bus Station.

Leaving by boat to Hangzhou (daily at 5pm) is also a good way to save on accomodation cost (fare from 80Y).

To Nanjing or Shanghai, the train is better. Check those localities for some schedules. 

The trip to Tongli (by Xavier Ruste) : The road was awfull because of roadworks. Should be a brand new road by now.