Suzhou, “A dream made of gardens”

On June 16, 2011, in China Attractions, Cultural Experience, by Jack Li

The city of Suzhou represents the home of the Wu kingdom dated back in the 12th century to 4th BC. The same kingdom influenced the Shanghai culture and origin. The city is considered a very authentic, characterized by canals going across the city. Suzhou is also home of beautiful gardens and main center of silk […]

The city of Suzhou represents the home of the Wu kingdom dated back in the 12th century to 4th BC. The same kingdom influenced the Shanghai culture and origin. The city is considered a very authentic, characterized by canals going across the city. Suzhou is also home of beautiful gardens and main center of silk trade. Locals are often expert artists and talented craft men, indeed schools where to learn those arts are still present today.Nowadays Suzhou constitutes a core economic zone for the China’s economy, sitting on the Yangtze River Delta. However the location has managed to remain a very animated city, where past traditions and lifestyles are still visible today, particularly around the canal area. It is really easy to get there, mainly thank to Shanghai Flights. Different tour operators organise tours around the city, tourist interested can book the Suzhou tour through China Tour.

As previously said, tourists can enjoy the vast collection of gardens within the city, where the canals characterized their uniqueness. The Humble Administrator’s Garden, (one of the main gardens), said that has cost a boat full of silver and 16 day to build it. The visit of the site includes a boat ride through the garden’s canals, where it is possible to admire a wonderful collection of Bonsai that worth the whole visit itself. Another garden that tourist absolutely cannot miss out, is the Lingering Garden, it takes almost a day visit itself. During the visit tourist are able to enjoy the two traditional musics Pingtan and Guqin, recognised by the UNESCO as “intangible world heritage arts”. In top of this the Lingering Garden is included in the UNESCO World heritage since 1997. Even though only two gardens have been listed since now, the city includes quite a few of them such as: The small Classical Garden, The Garden of Cultivation, Tarrying Garden, The Garden of pleasure, The Couple’s Garden Retreat (strongly advised if it is raining as it provides roofs) and The Lion Forrest Garden, representing one of the most famous gardens in the city thanks to its collection of pitted rocks, and the Buddhist story of the Lion. Around the area is also located the Former residence of Poet and Scholar Yu Yue in the ancient Liuhuafang Block, where it is possible to sit for a tea with the locals for no more than 3 RMB (40cent of dollar). Although the city’s main attractions are constituted by gardens, the destination offers a range of different temple and museums to be visited. The North Temple Pagoda, immerse in the middle of the gardens, also visible from the train station thanks to its peak, represents one of the most important temples in Suzhou.(see picture). Tourists can also visit Twin Pagodas, the Temple of Mystery dated back in the 3rd century, Confucian Temple, Cold Mountain Temple, Ding Hui Temple and Huqiu Tower. For those tourists deeply interested in the historical aspect of the city it is strongly suggested a visit to the Suzhou Museum, the Suzhou opera Museum and the Suzhou Silk Museum. The latter should be strongly considered by families as the live silk worms makes the museum more enjoyable for kids.

As the City offers many attractions to visit and tourists are strongly advised to accommodate there more than a single day in order to fully enjoy the destination as a whole booking at China Hotels.

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Suzhou Classical Gardens

On March 18, 2011, in Cool Places, Shanghai, by Jack Li

“Suzhou gardens are the best of those in southern China that are the best of the world.” Other than travelling to modern China cities like Beijing Tours, Shanghai Tours and Guangzhou Tours, do remember to go to Suzhou to stir your imagination.  Generally little and delicate, Suzhou gardens produce a sense of a beautiful painting. […]

“Suzhou gardens are the best of those in southern China that are the best of the world.” Other than travelling to modern China cities like Beijing Tours, Shanghai Tours and Guangzhou Tours, do remember to go to Suzhou to stir your imagination. 

Generally little and delicate, Suzhou gardens produce a sense of a beautiful painting. The stress is put on meandering through a labyrinth of complexity and continuous surprises of vista at each step forward. The miniature mountains and rocks, the bridges and the waters – they are small yet grand; the flowers and trees, the towers and pavilions – they are exquisite with seclusion and serene. Within limits the garden spaces are so ingeniously handled that the effect of infinitude is produced, hence they are reputed as “vast landscape condensed in a little garden”.

Suzhou is located beside Taihu Lake, and it is a fertile land with a subtropical monsoon climate, moderate with distinctive four seasons. Suzhou is a city of rivers and canals and also a city of gardens. Hence it is called the “Venice of the Orient”. 

Suzhou was first established in 514 BC and it was once the capital city of Kingdom of Wu. King of Wu became the most powerful of the time because of the support of the mighty economy of the area. In Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, Suzhou boasted as the most abundant “land of grain and meat” of the nation and thus began from Song Dynasty the famous sayings that “Suzhou on earth matches paradise in Heaven” and “bumper harvests in Suzhou alone are enough for the whole nation”.

 Suzhou is the site of the prosperous Wu Culture, and it has bred up a great many of scholars and high officials in all dynasties. When these scholars and high officials returned to their birthplace because of either retirement after ambition fulfillment or for hermitage due to disappointment, they would spend a great amount of money on gardens for literary cultivation in their senior years. Besides, the beautiful topography, gentle customs, and peaceful life of Suzhou’s also helped to promote the construction and advance of so many landscape gardens in Suzhou.

 

The Ming and Qing dynasties between the 14th and 20th century were its prime periods of garden building, when at one time there were more than 200 private family gardens. A dozen of them are still in good condition today, including the top four classic gardens – the Fisherman’s Net Garden, Lion Grove, Humble Administrator’s Garden and Lingering Garden.

The Small Flying Rainbow Bridge in the Humble Administrator’s Garden

The Humble Administrator’s Garden, the largest, occupies four hectares. It has built in 1522 during the Ming Dynasty. Water accounts for three-fifths of its total area. All the major buildings face the water. Centering on the pool, bridges and corridors harmoniously ink up isles, rockeries, pavilions and towers. The garden shows a natural and flowing artistic style.

Xiangzhou in the Humble Administrator’s Garden

The Tianquan Pavilion in the Humble Administrator’s Garden

The Lingering Garden, on the other hand, demonstrates a compact layout and a delicate decorative art. Built in the Ming Dynasty, it was renovated and expanded in the early 19th century during the Qing Dynasty to cover an area of 3.3 hectares as we see it today. The garden is divided into four sections: artificial hills in the west, pastoral scenery in the north, hall and pavilion structures in the east and hills and waters at the center. A winding corridor of over 1000 meters links them. 

The Lingering Garden

The Lingering Garden

Suzhou Classical Gardens represent the national characteristics and artistic attainments of ancient Chinese gardening, a creation of human beings and reflect people’s love of nature and their desire for beauty in their lives. Just enjoy your China Tours in the combination of nature gifts and human talent!

Suzhou Food & Restaurants:II

On December 13, 2010, in Featured China Stories, Must-sees, Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

Suzhou food is a complete paradise when on your china travel for gourmets.  The Suzhou cuisine features slightly sweetness in taste with fresh seasonal vegetables as one of its raw materials.  The vegetable and fish dishes are particularly famous here so when you are away from your China Hotels in Suzhou try out some of […]

Suzhou food is a complete paradise when on your china travel for gourmets.  The Suzhou cuisine features slightly sweetness in taste with fresh seasonal vegetables as one of its raw materials.  The vegetable and fish dishes are particularly famous here so when you are away from your China Hotels in Suzhou try out some of these restaurants.

First I will give you an example so that you know what specific dishes are important custom for locals to eat, these are specific dishes according to the changing seasons.  Biluo Xiaren (Quick fried shrimp with biluochun tea) this dish is sampled in the spring and Xigua Ji (Young chicken wrapped in watermelon rind and steamed) this is very popular in the summer.  Maybe autumn is the time most yearned for by population, because it is time to enjoy the delicious steamed crabs and nutritious Bafei Soup (barbell soup).  As well as these famous dishes, Songshu Guiyu (mandarin fish, stewed and fried) which was praised Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty  (1644-1911) is considered to be the ultimate Suzhou dish, and it is highly recommended that you try it during your visit.

Following on there are a number of recommended establishments where you will be able to sample these famous dishes, Here is some of the restaurants:

Old Brand Restaurants

 

Song he Lou

Song He Lou (Pine and Crane Restaurant)

Having more than 200 years’ history, good and authentic Suzhou cuisine here is noted worldwide. The Songshu Guiyu cooked here is highly recommended.

Recommended dishes: Songshu Guiyu, Qingchao Xiaren (fried shrimp meat), Gusu Luya (spicy marinated duck), Yinyu Chuncai Tang (silver fish and water shield soup), Xiehuang Doufu (bean curd with crab roe), Xiangyou Shanhu (stir-fried mud eel)

Xie He Cai Guan (Xiehe Restaurant)

It is a very traditional restaurant cooking Suzhou Cuisine with reasonable price.

Recommended dishes: Qingchao Xiaren, Xiangyou Shanhu, Jiang Fang (braised pork), Xiefen Doufu

Address: No.15, Fenghuang Jie, Canglang District, Suzhou City

Bus routes: You 2

Opening hours: 10:30~21:00

Average cost: CNY 50~CNY55 per person

 

Shijia Restaurant

It has more than 200 years’ history, especially famous for its Bafei Tang..

Main restaurant:

Address: No.18, Zhongshi Street, Mudu Town, Suzhou City

Bus route: Buses No.502 and 69 and the tourist special route No.4 can take you there.

Opening hours: 11:00~14:00   17:00~21:00

Average cost: CNY50~CNY70

Second location:

Address: No.15-1, Jinshan Road, Mudu Town, Suzhou City

Bus route: Buses No.502 and 69 and the tourist special route No.4 go there.

Opening hours: 11:00~14:00   17:00~21:00

Average cost: CNY60

 

De Yue Lou

 

De Yue Lou (Deyue Restaurant)

Resulting from four hundred years of culinary experience, De Yue Lou serves dozens of famous and authentic dishes to visitors both from home and abroad.

Recommended dishes: Songshu Guiyu, Deyue Tongziji (deyue spring chicken), Qingchao Xiaren, Xiefen Doufu (braised crab meat with bean curd)

Address: There are two restaurants located on Taijian Nong. One is at No.43 and the other one is at No.8. Bus route: Tourist special route No.4 and regular buses No.1, 2, 8, 9, 32, 38, 68, 102 and 103 can get you there.

Opening hours: 11:00~14:00   17:00~21:00

Average cost: CNY100 per person

Wumen Renjia

Recommendation: Xiangyou Shanhu, Qingchao Xiaren, Tangzhou (sweet gruel), Babao Ya (duck stuffed with the eight treasures)

Address: No.31, Panru Xiang, Pingjiang District, Suzhou City

Average cost: CNY50~CNY70 per person

So when you’re on your travels and this account has inspired you to Suzhou then check out China Tours by clicking here.  Good luck!

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