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Lion Grove Garden, or Lion Forest Garden (狮子林, Shi Zi Lin in Chinese), is not only one of the “Top 4 Famous Gardens in Suzhou”, with the other three being the Humble Administrator’s Garden (拙政园), Lingering Garden (留园) and Blue Wave Pavilion (沧浪亭), but listed as the World Cultural Heritage Site by the UNESCO as well for its classic garden structure in regions south of Yangtze River in China. It was first built in 1342 AD and treated as the representation of gardens in Yuan dynasty.
Covering 1.1 hectares’ wide land, Lion Grove Garden is special at its multiple types of rockeries that look very magnificent and powerful. Therefore, it is also called the “Kingdom of Rockeries” and the “National AAAA Tourist Attraction”. Moreover, with the multiple vigorous ancient cypresses and fragrant blossoms, the Lion Grove Garden surely can be praised the “heaven on earth” and “garden in city”.
The Lion Grove Garden was originally the backyard garden of Putizhengzong Temple (菩提正宗寺), and after the honorable monk called Tianru (天如) sermonized in Suzhou in 1341 AD, the disciples respected him much and built the Buddhist temple in 1342 for him. In the garden, there are numerous lion-like strange stones under the flourishing bamboos, and the monk Tianru got the Buddhist sutra in the Shi Zi Cave in Tianmu Mountain in Zhejiang, so the disciples named it Shi Zi Lin (Lion Grove).
After the great artist Ni Zan (倪瓒) visited Lion Grove Garden in 1373, the Lion Grove Garden suddenly turned super famous. And then it experienced several rises and falls while changing its owners. The Lion Grove Garden is so special and attractive that the Qing Emperor Qianlong has visited there for 6 times and ordered to build the same gardens respectively in the Summer Palace (颐和园) in Beijing and the Summer Resort in Chengde (承德避暑山庄). In 1917, the ancestor of the famous architect I. M. Pei (贝聿铭) purchased this garden and later donated it to the country in 1945.
Lion Grove Garden well preserved a series of ancient buildings, and you can completely enjoy a tracing-back time to appreciate the constructions in different Chinese dynasties.
Yanyu Hall (Hall of Peace and Happiness, 燕誉堂) is the main hall in the whole Lion Grove Garden, the name of which means the peaceful and happy place for treating guests. In this antique hall separated into the northern and southern parts, delicate decorations, furniture and layout are distinct and delicate.
The True Delight Pavilion (真趣亭) built in 1762 is an interesting highlight in Lion Grove Garden. During that year, Emperor Qianlong (乾隆) liked this place very much and said “Zhen Qu (true delight, 真趣)” while visiting this garden under the guidance of Huang Xi (黄熙). Later, Huang built the pavilion here and gave it the same name. Now, the two brilliant characters written by Qianlong are still hung there for you to admire.
Pavilion for Greeting the Plum Blossoms (问梅阁) is a romantic and poetic place in Lion Grove Garden. In front of the pavilion, a spread of red green plum trees is growing delightfully. Also, the fancy floor decoration in the form of plum blossoms will make your roam very interesting and romantic. Besides, in the pavilion, you can enjoy a series of poems, carvings, paintings themed with plum blossoms.
Furthermore, you would see many special designs in the rooms, windows, doors, which frame the bamboos, trees, flowers, rockeries, structures in like a beautiful Chinese painting. And you can also go to see the Standing-in-Snow Hall (立雪堂) to know about its story, to the Pointing at Cypresses Hall (指柏轩) to see the giant ancient cypresses, to the Sleeping Cloud Room (卧云室) to feel more Zen culture in garden, etc.
Lion Grove Garden being the “Kingdom of Rockeries” has a lot to see and play fun in. In the water garden, different shapes of rockeries, like rabbits, pigs, monkeys, horses, etc. are designed around the pool. With the reflection on the pure water, and the crystal-like water fall from the stones, the scenery is especially poetic and nice. Moreover, most of them have surprises for you, so you can go up to the peak to enjoy the full view of the water pool or walk in the small cave under the rockeries and play hide& seek with your people!
There are also a lot of drought rockeries in the yards of Lion Grove Garden. Since they are in various shapes and sizes, you would enjoy rich kinds of garden sceneries of Suzhou garden and know about the interest and taste of ancient Chinese people in house designing.
Now that it is called the Lion Grove Garden, this garden has about 500 stones like lions in diverse shapes, sleeping, playing, roaring, and even dancing, etc. You would find it a lot of fun to wander in this famous Suzhou garden and get more joy of children in the following stone sights.
Placed in the yard of the Small Square Hall (小方厅), the Nine Lions’ Peak (九狮峰) is the must-see rockery among all in Lion Grove Garden. This famous rockery looks with full holes at first sight, but if you see it deeper, you can find 9 little stone lions playing happily there.
Built at the northwest of the water pool in the early Republic of China, the Stone Boat (石舫) is a very popular place to find more new things. Enter the stone boat, you can enjoy the unique sightseeing of the pool through the windows, and when you get up to the top, you will get the excellent feeling of ancient people living in a garden in the city. Besides, the colorful glass windows, vivid inscription, fine decorations, etc. tells the mixture of Chinese and western cultures during that period.
Enter Lion Grove Garden to the main hall Yanyu Hall and visit the Small Square Hall, Pointing at Cypresses Hall, Flower Basket Hall (花篮厅), and Garden of Five Age-old Pines (古五松园) in order. And then go to see the characters “Zhen Qu” written by Qianlong in the True Delight Hall and find more joy in the Stone Boat. Then, walk to Mid-lake Pavilion (湖心亭) and enjoy the lake view. After that, admire the decoration of plum blossoms in the Pavilion for Greeting to Plum Blossoms. Then visit the Fan Pavilion (扇亭) to see the fan-shaped construction. Next, play in the large group of rockeries in the water pool and visit the Sleeping Cloud Room, Standing-in-Snow Hall in order. (For 1-2 hours)
Located very close to the Humble Administrator’s Garden and Suzhou Museum in Gusu District (姑苏区), the Lion Grove Garden can be accessed without effort by taxi, bus, subway, rickshaw, bicycle, etc.
If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Lion Grove Garden with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.
RMB 40 / person for peak seasons (April, May, July, August, September, October);
RMB 30 / person for off seasons (January, February, March, June, November, December)
(Stop selling 30 min before closing)
Opening Time: 7:30-17:30 (March 1st – October 15th); 7:30-17:00 (October 16th - End of February)
Explanatory Guide (30 min)
Route: Hall – Yanyu Hall – Small Square Hall – Nine Lions’ Peak - Pointing at Cypresses Hall – Flower Basket Hall – Garden of Five Age-old Pines – True Delight Pavilion – Stone Boat – Imperial Reception Bridge (接驾桥)
|For Fee||For Free|
|RMB 60/ time for 1-5 people|
RMB 80/ time for 6-8 people
RMB 100/ time for 11-20 people
RMB 140/ time for over 20 people
|8:30-16:00; provided every 30 min|
Voice Guide: Voice guide is provided for RMB 15 / time
Tourist Center: Wheelchairs, walking sticks, baby cars, umbrellas, mobile phone chargers, water dispensers, etc. are also available at the tourist center.
Note: the above information is for your reference only, for the detail fee information in Lion Grove Garden, please contact our Travel Consultant!
1. People usually will count the number of the stone lions of the Nine Lions’ Peak, and you can try too to get more fun;
2. The garden has a lot of interesting rockeries, but the complex and winding paths make people easily get lost. If you enter the rockery group, you can walk out with keeping turning only left or only right.
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >