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How to plan a trip to Suzhou?

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Top Reasons to Visit Suzhou

A Famous Historical City

Suzhou has a long history of more than 2500 years, dated back to the late Shang Dynasty. As the ancient center of the Spring and Autumn Period and the basis of Wu culture in the ancient China, there are varieties of historical sites in Suzhou, meanwhile, influenced by the culture from Song, Ming and Qing Dynasty, some particular architectures and streets are well protected until now, which combine a distinctive Suzhou with both modern and historical style to all the tourists.

Shantang Ancient Street

Stylistic Suzhou Gardens

It is said that gardens in Jiangnan Area is the best in the world while gardens in Suzhou are even more extraordinary than in Jiangnan. Suzhou is praised as the city of gardens, with amounts of beautiful classical Suzhou Gardens, among them two gardens have been listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Suzhou owns the best designed gardens where you could find a perfect match of water, plants, architectures, sculptures and traditional Chinese calligraphies.

Humble Administrator Garden

Delicate Handicrafts

The unique culture in Suzhou makes it a wonderful place for seeking delicate handicrafts. As the hometown of silk, the most famous gift you can find in Suzhou is no doubt to be silk products. Furthermore, Su Embroidery which ranks the first among the four famous embroideries in China is also a symbolic Suzhou gift. Other popular products with Suzhou style like Taohuawu Woodcut New Year Pictures, Suzhou Writing Brushes and Song Brocade are also specific things to buy during your visiting in Suzhou.

Venice of The East

The Grand Canal, which is the longest canal in the world, makes Suzhou Venice of The East, along with the fine combinations of water, bridges and characteristic buildings, Suzhou is also named the heaven on earth from ancient China. Take a boat along the canal and enjoy the glamor of Suzhou, you can find no other way to have a better experience of typical water views consisted by historical relics, stone bridges and natural landscapes.

The Grand Canal

Read more about Suzhou facts.

Best Time to Visit Suzhou

Suzhou has a moderate climate with obvious four seasons and abundant rainfall, very suitable for visiting for the whole year. The best time to visit Suzhou is from April to October, full of beautiful views in spring and autumn. For those tourists who don’t like rainy days at all may consider avoiding mid-June to mid-July, since it rains a lot during that time.

Annual Temperature: 15.7℃

Rainy Season: June to July

Crowded Season: Late Jan. or early Feb. (Chinese Spring Festival);

                               first week of May (Labor Day);

                               first week of October (National Day)

Zhouzhuang Water Town


Better to avoid these periods since the price for hotel and transportation may be higher and it’s crowded everywhere. By the way the Suzhou International Tourism Festival is around April and May each year, more people come to visit during that time.


Read more about climate and weather in Suzhou.

Best Things to Do in Suzhou

Arrange a Suzhou Garden Tour

Master of Nets Garden

Reputed as a garden city, Suzhou owns the largest number of gardens in China. Suzhou Gardens were first built from the Spring and Autumn Period and then experienced a long flourishing time between Ming and Qing Dynasty, there are still more than 100 well-preserved gardens now. Take those top classic gardens into consideration and arrange your own Suzhou Garden Tour would be an ideal choice to get close to Suzhou culture.

  • Humble Administrator Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site first constructed from Ming Dynasty, is the largest garden in Suzhou and the most representative classic garden in China. It also wins the reputation as one of the most famous gardens in China and the only museum for Chinese traditional garden art where the Suzhou Garden Museum located.
  • Lingering Garden, dated back to Ming Dynasty, has the most exquisite architectural layout among all the classic gardens with countless rare stones,
  • Lion Grove Garden, built in Yuan Dynasty, is famous for the complicated but designable construction of rockery groups. Influenced by both western gardening arts and Chinese Buddhism culture, it is considered to be a perfect combination of garden and temple.
  • Master of Nets Garden, the smallest garden in Suzhou which is well-known for its delicate design. Being enchanted by the glamor of Suzhou classic gardens, a small classic garden was built inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, on the basis of the original style from a small part called Dianchunyi in this outstanding Master of Nets Garden.
  • Canglang Pavilion, another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Suzhou, is also the oldest garden in Suzhou which was built in North Song Dynasty.

Plan a Suzhou Water Tour

Luzhi Water Town

Known for its beautiful landscapes and specific classical gardens, Suzhou provide an indifferent city view of both modern lifestyle and historical atmosphere. The Grand Canal, ancient bridges and distinctive buildings along the water, and stylistic water towns create an amazing Suzhou. Plan a Suzhou Water Tour will be a good experience during your trip in China if you are keen on water sceneries.

  • Zhouzhuang Water Town, ranked the top water town in China, where most of the architectures were built during Ming and Qing Dynasty and well-preserved until now. Those traditional houses and characteristic old bridges along with the beautiful water sceneries add more attractive features to Zhouzhuang.
  • Tongli Water Town, owns lots of alleys and ancient buildings from Ming and Qing Period along the water, is a more tranquil water town with less tourists. The water networks divide Tongli Water Town into seven little islands, so that almost each house lies beside water, very suitable for experiencing the lifestyle in ancient Jiangnan Area.
  • Luzhi Water Town, has a rich history of more than 2500 years as long as Suzhou City, is mainly famous as a bridge town with an incredible number of historical bridges from ancient China.

Take a Stroll around Ancient Streets

Pingjiang Road

Ancient streets in Suzhou offer tourists a great chance to appreciate the historical architectures combined with water views while seeking for delicious snacks and specific souvenirs in Suzhou. Take a Stoll around Pingjiang Road or Shantang Ancient Street to enjoy a leisure time, you can also take a boat there to get a better view along the water. You may really feel the lifestyle specially in Jiangnan Area back to Tang and Song Dynasty among the well-preserved buildings and bridges.

Watch Kunqu Opera

Kunqu Opera is originated in Suzhou, which is one of the most famous traditional operas in China with a long history. Watch a Kunqu Opera performance in Suzhou may leave you a great memory in China, in the gentle and clear vocals with traditional dances. Places like Suzhou Kunqu Opera Museum, Kunqu Opera House at Shantang Street and Fuxi Tea house are all good choices for a Kunqu Opera performance.


More attractions in Suzhou.

Best Food to Eat in Suzhou

Suzhou is a center of food culture in eastern China, stands for Su stylistic food culture. People in Suzhou love noodles very much, really popular among the local inhabitants and also tourists. The most famous food in Suzhou is Shengjian, Pan-fried Pork Buns in English, which is a kind of bun filled with pork and vegetables. Recommended place like Yaba Shengjian restaurant is worth trying. Other famous food such as the squirrel-shaped mandarin fish, Yangcheng Lake hairy crab and sugar porridge are also delicious. And since people in Suzhou are really fond of sweet flavor, what we still want to mention is the sweets in Suzhou, including kinds of candies and preserves, a good choice of souvenirs for children and seniors.


Read more about food in Suzhou.

Where to Stay in Suzhou

►Guanqian Street, a famous pedestrian street which is near the city center, convenient for eating, shopping and transportation and very close to the Humble Administrator Garden and Lion Grove Garden, you can easily get to other attractions by bus or metro from here. There are all levels of hotels around this area, but it may not be so quiet since it’s the commercial center of Suzhou.

Guanqian Street

►Pingjiang Road, the best choice for those who love cultural and artistic atmosphere, with more characteristic inns, hostels and varieties of hotels around. It’s quiet in Pingjiang Road, and you can seek for delicious Suzhou snacks along the street while enjoy the beautiful water view among the historical architectures around. Take a boat at night will give you a different feeling of the night view in Suzhou.

►Shilu Business Circle, close to Shantang Street, Humble Administrator Garden and Lingering Garden, also convenient for everything. Choose your hotel around Shantang Street nearby may be a good choice if you prefer a quieter environment.

How Many Days to Stay in Suzhou

There are so many gardens and water towns in Suzhou for you to choose, however, it’s impossible to visit all of them during one trip, the best way to get rid of tiring visiting is to make a list about the exact garden and water town you’re really interested in so that you could have a more comfortable visit in Suzhou. Generally speaking, 2 to 3 days may be enough for a Suzhou tour, including the main popular attractions. You can also make design your Suzhou tour connected with Shanghai, since it’s only 30 minutes from Suzhou to Shanghai by high-speed train.

What to do for 2-3 days

  • Admire a well-designed Suzhou classic garden
  • Have a visit at Suzhou Museum
  • Take a Stoll around Ancient Streets like Pingjiang Road and Shantang Street
  • Enjoy a great time on the boat along The Grand Canal
  • Go shopping in Guanqian Street
  • Try Suzhou local food
  • Watch a Kunqu Opera performance

Suzhou City View

Recommended Suzhou Tours:

3 Days Suzhou Essence Tour: Humble Administrator Garden, Silk Factory, Suzhou Museum

5 Days Shanghai and Suzhou Tour: Jade Buddha Temple, the Bund, Yuyuan Garden, Nanjing Road, Humble Administrator Garden, Silk Factory, Tongli water town

Tailor-made your personal Suzhou Tour: Free Online Tailor-made Tour

More information about Suzhou tours.

How to Get to & Get around Suzhou

By Airplane

There is no direct flight to Suzhou, but it’s fast and convenient to transfer from Shanghai and Wuxi by high-speed train, which will take only 20 to 30 minutes. You can take plane to Shanghai or Wuxi first if you have limited time.

By train

Suzhou is easily approach from most of main cities in China, no matter high-speed trains or normal trains. There are four train stations in Suzhou, usually take trains at Suzhou Railway Station and Suzhou North Station. You can take metro to your hotel from train station.

Beijing Shanghai Xi’an Chengdu Hangzhou
5h 13m 23m 6-7h 11h 1h 32m


By Highway

There are four bus stations in Suzhou, you can take coach from places nearby to Suzhou. Furthermore, it’s convenient to some water towns around Suzhou by bus, such as Wuzhen Water Town, Xitang Water Town and Zhouzhuang Water Town and so on. Check more transfer tips to help you with your Suzhou tour plan.

Getting around in Suzhou

Metro: fast and convenient, cheap to get around Suzhou within 7 yuan for one way.

Bus: 1 yuan for normal bus, 2 yuan for bus with air-conditioner, tour bus and BTR are available to take. 

Taxi: flexible for your time, better to avoid the rush hours in the morning and evening.

Travel around Suzhou

Zhouzhuang Water Town Tongli Water Town Luzhi Water Town Mudu Ancient Town
By coach Metro Line 4 Bus No.518 By bus/metro Line 1
About 2 hours 50 minutes 1 hour Around 1 hour

Read more about Transportation in Suzhou.

What to Prepare for a Suzhou Tour

What to Prepare

  • Get ready for your Visa, and do remember your passport.
  • Prepare for your SIM card to make sure the internet use in China.
  • Take some medicine with you for emergency use.
  • Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and hats for the strong ultraviolet ray in summer.
  • Don’t forget your umbrella and rain gears during the rainy seasons.
  • Be aware of the weather change in Suzhou, pack suitable clothes, a pair of comfortable shoes is needed since a lot of walking involved, for the gardens and ancient streets.

What to Know

  • Read some basic information about Suzhou and China so that you could have a better experience there.
  • Choose a good time for most of attractions you want to visit may help you get a wonderful experience during your Suzhou trip.

Read more about Suzhou Travel Tips.

Basic Chinese You Might Need

Chinese Pinyin English
你好 Nǐhǎo Hello/Hi
再见 Zàijiàn Bye/See you
谢谢 Xièxie Thank you.
不客气 Búkèqi You’re welcome.
对不起 Duìbùqǐ Sorry
请问卫生间在哪里? Qǐngwènwèishēngjiānzàinǎlǐ? Excuse me, where is the restroom?
多少钱? Duōshǎoqián? How much?


Learn more about Survival Chinese Phrases.

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