Suzhou-Elegant Water Towns and Gardens
Suzhou, formerly romanized as Soochow, is a major city located in southeastern Jiangsu Province of East China, about 100 km (62 mi) northwest of Shanghai. It is a major economic center and focal point of trade and commerce, and the second largest city in the province after the capital Nanjing. The city is situated on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the shores of Lake Tai and belongs to the Yangtze River Delta region.
Suzhou has a four-season humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and cool, cloudy, damp winters with occasional snowfall (Köppen climate classification Cfa). Northwesterly winds blowing from Siberia during winter can cause temperatures to fall below freezing at night, while southerly or southwesterly winds during the summer can push temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F). The hottest temperature recorded since 1951 was at 41.0 °C (106 °F) on 7 August 2013, and the lowest at −9.8 °C (14 °F) on 16 January 1958
>> Humble Administrator's Garden
The beautiful waterside City of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province in South China is most famous for its elegant classical gardens. Among these, the Humble Administrator's Garden, covering about 52,000 sq. meters (12.85 acres), is the largest and most renowned. Due to its unique designs and ethereal beauty, the garden has garnered many special honors. It is listed as a World Cultural Heritage site and has also been designated as one of the Cultural Relics of National Importance under the Protection of the State as well as a Special Tourist Attraction of China. Along with the Summer Palace in Beijing, the Mountain Resort of Chengde in Hebei Province and the Lingering Garden in Suzhou, it is considered as one of China's four most famous gardens. No other classic garden in the country has been honored more than this one.
>> Lion Grove Garden
Lion Grove Garden was built in 1342 during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) by a group of Zen Buddhist disciples of Monk Tianru as a memorial of their master - Monk Zhongfeng. Afterwards, it has changed hands and been renamed a number of times. Since Monk Tianru had once researched the Buddhism sutras at Lion Cliff on West Tianmu Mountain in Zhejiang Province with the guidance of Monk Zhongfeng, also there were many grotesque rocks in the garden resembling lions, the garden was first given the name Lion Grove. At that time, the garden was a popular center to host activities for literati and Buddhists. Many paintings and poems were inspired by it. Later, its name was changed to Bodhi Orthodox Temple (Puti Zhengzong) and Sheng'en Temple successively.
>> Zhouzhuang Water Town
Zhouzhuang, one of the most famous water townships in China, is situated in Kunshan City which is only 18 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of Suzhou. It is noted for its profound cultural background, the well-preserved ancient residential houses, the elegant watery views and the strong local colored traditions and customs. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), the smalle town was a part of the fief Yaocheng and called Zhenfengli. After being donated to Full Fortune (Quanfu) Temple by Zhou Digong, a very devout Buddhist, in 1086 during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), it got its present name as a memorial of the donor.
>> The Master of Nets Garden
The Master of Nets Garden is divided into three sections: a residential section, the central main garden and an inner garden. The main garden has a large pond that is surrounded by pathways and a variety of buildings such as the Ribbon Washing Pavillion (Zhuoying Shuige) and the Pavillion for the Advent of the Moon and Wind (Yuedao Fenglai Ting). There are many more buildings that are situated so that there is never a sense of crowding, but always of spaciousness. As is common in Suzhou gardens, the pond has a small pavilion in it. Here the pavilion is accessible by a bridge that is less than one foot wide.
>> Guan Qian Street
Located in the central downtown area, it is the center of Suzhou commerce, due at least in part to the presence of shops that have been doing business here for many years. The Pine and Crane Restaurant, Cai Zhi Zhai and Huang Tian Yuan are all located here. Others, including Lu Gao Jian, which is noted for its unique meat products, and Sheng Chun Yang, which sells high-quality hams, are also famous in the city. If food is not on your shopping list, you can visit the Heng Fu Silverware Shop, which was founded in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and enjoys an excellent reputation in China. For fashionable clothing, the Golden Eagle Shopping Center, located at No.1 Guan Qian Street, is your best choice.
>> Shiquan Street
Hotels, restaurants, clubs and pubs, fashionable clothes and splendid handcrafts are all available on this bustling street. Exquisite Su embroidery can be founded in Su Xiu Tang. Jin Sha Ge and Bo Gu Tang are two stores that sell antiques, pottery and porcelain. Chinese paintings and calligraphy are sold in Rui Guang Zhai. This street is also popular with young people looking for fashionable and reasonably priced Japanese, Korean, and European style clothing. Tourist special route No.2 and regular buses No.204, 47, 501, 931, 55 and 811 will take you there.
Despite being an important tourist destination, Suzhou does not have its own international airport at present. It is best to use the airports of nearby Shanghai. Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) and Pudong International Airport (PVG) are used frequently by domestic and international visitors.
Hongqiao Airport (SHA) is 86 kilometers (about 53 miles) away from Suzhou. Upon arrival, passengers could walk to the connected Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, and then take a bullet train to get to Suzhou in 30 minutes. The nearby Hongqiao West Traffic Center also operates coaches to Suzhou.
Suzhou Railway Station
Reconstructed in 2011, this is the main gate for passengers to and from this city by rail. Through the Shanghai-Nanjing High-Speed Railway, there are bullet trains from Suzhou to Shanghai, Kunshan, Wuxi, Zhenjiang and Nanjing. On the other hand, from this station, passengers could take fast trains to Chengdu, Xian, Yinchuan, Zhengzhou, Xining, Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Yantai and etc. On the tickets, this station is printed as Su Zhou.
Location: Pingjiang District
North Railway Station
This station serves for Beijing-Shanghai, Suzhou-Nanjing, Suzhou-Hangzhou, Shanghai-Suzhou and Beijing-Suzhou high speed trains. Departing from Suzhou, passengers could get to Beijing in five hours and Shanghai in about half an hour.
Location: Xiangcheng District
Suzhou New District Railway Station
This station operates 11 scheduled bullet trains on the Shanghai-Nanjing Intercity High Speed Railway everyday. On the tickets, this station is printed as Su Zhou Xin Qu.
Location: Hushuguan Town, New District
Industrial Park Railway Station
Everyday, this station serves for 46 bullet trains of the Shanghai-Nanjing Intercity High Speed Railway. On the tickets, this station is printed as Su Zhou Yuan Qu.
Location: Suzhou Industrial Park
Suzhou is known as the 'Southeast Gate' to Shanghai and Zhejiang Province because of its well-developed highway network. Three long-distance bus stations are in use nowadays. The North Bus Station has the most routes to Anhui, Hubei, Fujian, Shandong, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces. Buses also depart for Shanghai from the North Bus Station once every twenty minutes. The ticket fare varies from 26 Yuan to 30 Yuan.