Suzhou is a historical, culturally significant, elegant city and it has been a major tourism hub in China. The city has been home to generations of artists, scholars, writers and boasts beautiful gardens, famous canals, romantic water towns, thousand-year-old temples, world-class museums, magnificent architecture, traditional music, tea and cuisine. The city has often been called as the ‘Venice of the East’ as it was built around a latticework of 24 canals and attracts a number of tourists to experience the serene, rustic ambience of its classical Chinese gardens and vibrant culture.
The best way to get a complete experience of what this ‘paradise on Earth’ to offer is to indulge in some of the best things to do in Suzhou, which include a tour of some of its most beautiful gardens including the Humble Administrator's Garden or Zhuo Zeng Yuan, Lion Grove Garden, Liu Lingering Garden, Couple's Retreat Garden, Yipu Garden and the The Garden of The Master Of The Nets. One can take a tour of the quintessential Suzhou countryside and its water towns like the Tongli Water Town and the Zhouzhuang Water Town. Other top scenic attractions in Suzhou include Tiger Hill, Jinji Lake, Panmen Scenic Area, Blue Wave Pavilion and the Guangfu Ancient Town. Other top attractions in Suzhou include Suzhou Museum, Pingjiang Road, Suzhou Amusement Park, Shantang Street, Guan Qian Shopping Street and the Cold Mountain Temple. With an endless list of the itinerary and the tranquil ambience of Suzhou, it is sure to give you the much-needed break from the bustling city life and rejuvenate your body, mind and soul in the process.
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What to Do in and around Suzhou
Enjoy 17 best Suzhou attractions and points of interest to choose from!
The most famous of all the classical gardens in Suzhou, this one covers an area of 52,000 square metres and is the largest of its kind. A UNESCO world heritage site, it was originally built in early 16th century. Created upon the old relics of a resident and a temple, huge halls, natural landscapes, man-made pavilions, small forests, hills, rock formations and water bodies add to the gigantic beauty.
It is also a site of many floral exhibitions like Azalea festival and lotus festival in the recent years.
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23 Yuanlin Road, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
07:30 am - 05:30 pm
One of the four most important classical gardens of Suzhou, Lion grove garden was built in mid-fourteenth century during the rule of Yuan dynasty. The garden gets its name from the Lion cliff on Mountain Xitianmu in Zhejiang Province which also has many rock formations resembling lions. The garden was renamed several times and has always been a popular focal point for Buddhism activities.
Spread over 10,000 square metres, it has an outstanding architecture. Attractions include:
True delight pavilion (Zhenquting)
Standing-in-Snow Hall (Lixuetang)
Pavilion for Greeting the Plum Blossoms (Wenmeige)
Small Square Hall (Xiaofangting)
Nine lion peak
Collection of Labyrinthine rockery, Rare tablets, steles, Paintings and calligraphies
Old pines, walkways, paths, caverns, sharp crags, narrow valleys and steep peaks add to the natural grandeur of this historically, architecturally and religiously significant garden.
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Jinchang District, Suzhou 215008, China
07:00 am - 06:00 pm
Also known as Surging sea hill, this large hillock covers an enormous area of 14100 square metres and is 36 metres in height. A bounty of historical sites that can be dated back to 2500 years, this is an example of ‘big treats coming in small package’.
The tomb of King He Lu: After the burial of this king in 496 BC, a white tiger came and sat upon his grave hence the name Tiger hill.
Tiger hill Pagoda: oldest Pagoda in Suzhou’s vicinity. Known for its distinct leaning structure; this seven-storey octahedron was built during the early Tang period. It is 48 metres high (158 feet) and for the past four hundred years has leant 359' to the northwest.
Sword Testing Stone and Sword Pool
Lu Yu Well
Leaning pagoda, outstanding structures, waterfalls and natural beauty make this Tiger Hill an enthralling site to visit.
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204 Dongbei Street, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
09:00 am - 05:00 pm
Originally a site of the Mansion of Prince Zong, this museum was founded in 1960 and is dedicated to porcelains, relics of the revolution, most notably celadon, handicraft works, calligraphies and paintings of Ming and Qing Dynasties which define the history, art and culture of Suzhou and Yangtze delta.
Exhibition halls surrounded by the classical gardens give the structure of the Suzhou museum a distinct touch. Spread over 19000 square metres of area, it is broadly divided into Entrance, Great hall and museum garden area. There are more than 15000 exhibits distributed within 32 exhibition halls. A visit to this enormous museum is must for exploring the history of Suzhou and proves as a real treat to history, art and archaeology enthusiasts.
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Pingjiang District, Suzhou,China
Paralleling the Pingjian River, Pingjiang road stretches for 1606 metres. Lined with typical houses of ancient Suzhou, this street has a phenomenal architecture. White walls and black tiles represent the simple but elegant way of Chinese architectural homes. The old town still retains the culture of Song Dynasty and boasts a history of 800 years.
Bookshops, Local opera theatres, Pingtang museum and Kunqu Opera museum are some prime attractions you can visit. Walk on the street, observe the little boats on the Grand Canal as you are entertained by the locals you sing merrily on their way to work!
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338 LiuYuan Road, Gusu, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
07:30 am - 05:00 pm
Spread over 23,300 Square metres of area, this was originally a classical private garden and is one of the four most famous gardens in Suzhou. Built in classic Qing style, it is famous for its delicate beauty, magnificent halls and admirable structures.
It has a history of 400 years and needless to say is a UNESCO world heritage sight.
Divided into four parts; Promising structures, stunning natural landscapes, ancestral temples and corridors enhance the beauty of this huge garden. A must-visit on the trip to Suzhou!
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No.87 Jinshan Road, Huqiu District, Suzhou215006, China
09:00 am - 05:00 pm
Great rides, a huge sign resembling the “HOLLYWOOD” sign and China’s biggest suspending rollercoaster are the highlights of this amusement park. Suspended Looping coaster, Flying Coaster, park’s faux Roman coliseum and derelict pirate ship certainly entertains the visitors!
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Shan Tang Jie, Gusu Qu, Suzhou Shi, Jiangsu Sheng, China
08:30 am - 05:00 pm
A riverside pedestrian road in the northwest area of Suzhou, Shantang Street is a very popular tourist hub. It begins at the Changmen gate and ends at the scenic tiger hill. It stretches for 2.2 miles (Seven Li in Chinese units) which gives the street its name.
Claimed as the first street in Suzhou, the street has a history of 1100 years, distinct streets and alleys and happening events! Shantang Street is sectioned but the Bantang Bridge dividing it into parts. Old houses, heritage stores, clear Yangtze River with small arched bridges and wooden boats adrift and lots of eateries that serve lip-smacking delicacies add to the flavour of this ancient town street.
Red lanterns adorn the street at night making it a prettier sight.
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24th lane, Hanshan temple, Jinchang, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
07:30 am - 05:00 pm
Located at around three miles from the Fengqiao old town, this temple was originally built during the Liang dynasty. It was renovated repeatedly and the current 10600 square metres of area represents the architectural style of Qing dynasty.
Attractions within the temple area include:
Grand prayer hall
Statue of Han shan
The stone tablet inscription of the poem A Night Mooring near Maple Bridge
Statue of Sakyamuni
Hingfa hall and the bronze statues of eminent monks
A Buddhism temple, the Hanshan temple is mostly known for its bell rings. The bell is tolled every year on New Years Eve of Chinese lunar calendar attracts tourists all round the world.
Experience the peace of this important Buddhist centre and marvel its spectacular natural backdrop on your visit.
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Jinjihu Road, Wuzhong District, Suzhou, 215000, China
08:30 am - 06:00 pm
The largest inland city lake in China, Jinji Lake gets its name from the legendary golden rooster (Jinji) that once fell into a boat on the lake. Occupying the area of 10 square kilometres, Jinji Lake has a Cultural Convention and Exhibition Spot, Fashion & Shopping Spot, Leisure & Diverse Spot, Urban Sight-seeing Spot and Central Waterscape Spot.
Considered Suzhou’s ‘New Heaven on Earth’, Jinji Lake is a must-visit!
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Guan Qian Street, Suzhou 215000, China
A popular commerce hub of the Suzhou downtown, Guan Qian shopping street is famous for its speciality restaurants, high-quality ham-stores and silverware merchandise. You can also shop for some fashionable clothing at the Golden eagle shopping centre!
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No.1 East Street, Canglang District, Suzhou215002, China
08:00 am - 04:00 pm
A historic site clubbed with fantastic verdant panorama is what makes the Panmen scenic area a top-rated tourist destination of China.
Attractions within the scenic area:
Ruigung Pagoda: Oldest Pagoda in Suzhou from the Three Kingdoms period.
Panmen City Gate: The only well preserved water and land city gate
Wumen Bridge: Highest ancient bridge in Suzhou, built in early 11th century.
These three attractions are known as the three fine sceneries of Panmen Scenic area. Other attractions are Premier Wu Zixu's Memorial Temple, Hall of Sirui, Double-Pavilion Corridor Bridge and Century Bell of Tang.
Admire the scenic spots and indulge into traditional Chinese activities like bell tolling, boating and acrobatics on your visit. If lucky, you may also witness a traditional Chinese wedding show.
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3 Canglangting Street, Suzhou, Changlang District, Jiangsu, China
07:30 am - 05:00 pm
One of the four most famous gardens in the city, it is also the oldest and date back to Northern Song Dynasty (906-1127).
Incredible man-made rock formations, verdant bamboo forests, winding corridors, pavilions, hills, pools, mountain forests and huge halls with history represent the amalgamation of man-made beauty and natural allure!
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Lane no 6, Newbridge small Pingjiang, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
07:30 am - 05:00 pm
Originally built by Lu Jin- a prefect of Baoning district in late 19th century, this garden was later developed by Shen Bingcheng-the magistrate of Susong. Referring to the two parts of the garden that resembles a couple; it was also called as Couple’s retreat garden. Spread over 0.33 hectares of area, it is a classic residential garden and has many structures and buildings within its area that are worth visiting. Taosim tower, pond, cave, fruit orchard, library annex are some major hot-spots. The eats and the west parts of the garden are connected by an enjoyable boat ride.
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Pingjiang lane, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
07:30 am - 05:00 pm
A small scale garden belonging to the Ming Dynasty, this elegant enclave depicts the simplicity of a typical Chinese garden. Halls, narrow paths adorned by rocks, pavilions, pond, yards and corridors lined up with beautiful trees and flowering plants are a pleasant sight!
Drop in here for a morning stroll or an afternoon recreation!