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Everything You Need To Do When Visiting Suzhou

Located in the province of Jiangsu, Suzhou is a big city just west of Shanghai. The city is situated on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the shores of Lake Tai. Known for its canals, bridges and classic Chinese gardens dating back to 1500s, it is one of the most beautiful in the province. Apart from its natural beauty, the city also has an eyeful of temples, pagodas, and museums that highlight the cities history and culture. With a population of 4.33 million people, the city is also an economic hub with plenty of business, shopping and sightseeing to be done. Because it is not as popular as the major cities of Beijing and Shanghai, it is often less crowded during peak season.

If you’re heading to Suzhou and want to explore this city, here is a list of everything you need to do during your visit:

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Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Lingering Garden 

Located outside the Changmen Gate of Suzhou, Lingering Garden was commissioned by Xu Taishi, an impeached official, in 1593 CE. The garden was designed and built by Stonemason Zhou Shicheng. Initially named the East Garden, it became famous when the magistrates of Wu and Changzhou County both praised the design.

Today Lingering Garden is a renowned classical Chinese garden and is recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The garden is also home to two UNESCO Intangible World Heritage Arts: Pingtan and Guqin music. It is also one of the top tourist attractions in the city.


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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Hanshan Temple 

Meaning ‘Cold Mountain Temple’ Hanshan Temple is a Buddhist temple and monastery in Suzhou. The name of the monastery derives from Hanshan who was the legendary monk and poet. Hanshan is said to have come to the monastery during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang where Hanshan became the abbot. Located in the town of Fengqiao which is about five kilometers west of the old city of Suzhou. Hanshan Temple was founded during the Tianjin era when Emperor Wu of Liang reigned. 

Today the temple is a great tourist attraction for those who want to see China’s beautiful ancient architecture and learn more about its history and culture.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Suzhou Silk Museum

China is known for its luxurious silks, and if you’d like to learn more about the production of this fabric, then Suzhou Silk Museum is the perfect place to do so. The museum also documents the history of silk production and Suzhou embroidery from around 2000 BC. There are a variety of exhibits at the museum which includes old looms with demonstrations, samples of ancient silk patterns, and an explanation of sericulture. Before December 2009, visitors to the museum could watch a room of live silkworms who spend their days eating mulberry leaves and spinning cocoons. This room as been replaced with models of silk worms.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Humble Administrator's Garden 

Another of Suzhou’s famous gardens is Humble Administrator's Garden. Located 178 Dongbei Street, the Chinese garden is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and like Lingering Garden it is one of the most famous gardens in the city and province. Humble Administrator's Garden is also the largest garden in Suzhou and is considered to be the finest garden in all of southern China.

The 51,950 m2 garden has been through various eras starting at the Shaoxing period from 1131 to 1162. Since then the garden has been destroyed, rebuilt and continuously modified to become what it is today. Humble Administrator's Garden is a great place to explore with the entire family on a day trip.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Pan Gate

Also known as the Pan Men, Pan Gate is a historical landmark in Suzhou. Located on the southwest corner of the Main Canal, the gate was originally built during the state of Wu, and historians estimate it to be around 2,500 years old. Today it is part of the Pan Gate Scenic Area and is known for the "three landmarks of Pan Gate” which include the Ruiguang Pagoda, the Wu Gate Bridge, and the Pan Gate. Pan Gate is also part of the ancient city wall which was built in 514 BCE. The wall has been constructed to surrounded and protected Suzhou. Pan Gate was the only entrance to the wall that surrounded ancient Suzhou.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Now that you know what you need to do and see when visiting Suzhou, you are in for an inspiring and fun-filled trip. Don't forget to pack your camera as this is one picturesque city.

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About the author

Ji Guo is a former professional travel writer. He's started several businesses in China and was born in Tianjin. Graduated from Yale University.

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