How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou

Suzhou, located on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and in southern Jiangsu Province, is known as the Heavenly City on Earth together with Hangzhou. It has long been an attractive tourist destination drawing the attention of generations of scholars, writers, artists, and royal families in China since one thousand years ago. In spite of the rapid development of the city, the precious historical and cultural sights in Suzhou are well-preserved, especially its exquisitely-designed gardens, canalside water towns and time-honored Suzhou silk factories. Visiting Suzhou is just like walking into a classical scroll painting of Chinese landscape, which gives you quite a treat of the nature, culture and history.

As the close neighbor of Shanghai, Suzhou is easy to travel. But if you want to make full of your holiday and enjoy a better Suzhou experience, planning ahead is necessary. This Suzhou trip planner with detailed information of when to visit, where to go, how to design itinerary, where to accommodate, etc. helps you travel Suzhou in a wiser way.

Suzhou Weather & Best Time to Go

Suzhou has a typical subtropical monsoon climate with distinctive season characters. July and August are the hottest months and January is the coldest months. Generally, it is available to visit Suzhou all year round, especially April ~ October because it is quite cold in other months. 

Spring (March to May): The average temperature of spring is about 15 °C and it becomes warmer gradually. When spring comes, you can enjoy many beautiful flowers during Azalea Festival of Humble Administrator’s Garden, Flower Festival of Tiger Hill and Plum Blossom Festival of West Hill.

Summer (June to September): The average temperature of summer is 25 °C and it is most comfortable in June. In summer, you are able to enjoy many lotus flowers in different gardens, like Humble Administrator’s Garden, Master of the Nets Garden, Lion Grove Garden, etc. Water towns (including Tongli, Zhouzhuang, Luzhi, Jinxi, etc.) are also recommended for a boat trip.

Autumn (October to November): The average temperature of autumn is about 15 °C and the weather is quite good. Don’t miss the Autumn Temple Fair (September to October) which provides fabulous performance. Besides, you can visit Tianping Hill to admire the beautiful maple leaves.

Winter (December to February): It gets much colder in winter, and you need to prepare enough warm clothes. The lower temperature reduces the number of travelers, so you can enjoy the much quieter environment in winter.

▶ Helpful Link: Suzhou Weather & Best Time to Go

How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Humble Administrator's Garden in Spring
How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Lingering Garden in Autumn

How to Get to Suzhou

Suzhou is located in southern Jiangsu Province and only 100 km to Shanghai. Usually, taking a high speed train is the most efficient way to get to Suzhou. If you want to take a flight, you only make a transfer in Wuxi or Shanghai.

High Speed Trains to Suzhou

It is quite convenient to get to Suzhou from many cities in China by high speed train. There are many frequent daily high speed trains to Suzhou from Shanghai (about 0.5h), Hangzhou (1.5~2.5h), Nanjing (1~1.5h), Wuxi (20min), Changzhou (25~50min) and Wuhan (4~4.5h), etc. Besides, Huangshan (about 3.5h), Yangzhou (about 1.5h), Zhengzhou (4.5~5h), Chengdu (12~14.5h) and Xian (9~10h) also operate several high speed trains to Suzhou. There are four railway stations mainly used in Suzhou, and we suggest you choose Suzhou Railway Station if it’s possible. Suzhou Railway Station is just located in the downtown area, you can easily get around by metro Line 2 and Line 4. Besides, it is quite close to many top attractions, such as Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou Museum and Pingjiang Road.

▶ Helpful Links: Suzhou Railway Stations | Suzhou High Speed Trains

Suzhou Transportation

Suzhou Railway Map

Flights to Suzhou

There is no airport in Suzhou City at present. The nearest airports include Wuxi Sunan Shuofang International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Shanghai Pudong International Airport receives most international flights from different continents, while Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Wuxi Sunan Shuofang International Airport can be reached by a few international flights and many domestic flights. It is recommended choosing Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport if there are available flights, because it is just adjacent to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station from which you can directly take a 30 minutes’ high speed train to Suzhou Railway Station.

▶ Helpful Links: Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and Flights Schedule | Shanghai Pudong Airport and Flights Schedule | Suzhou Transportation

How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou

Shanghai Suzhou Travel Map

Top Things to Do in Suzhou

Admire the Elegance of Suzhou Gardens

The classical gardens of Suzhou is the biggest highlight of Suzhou. In these artificial gardens, there is a microcosm full of surprising landscape made of hills, rocks, plants, lakes, waterfalls, pavilions, towers, bridges, etc. Not only offering visual enjoyment to visitors , the gardens also reflect the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture. At present, there are 69 gardens are preserved in Suzhou and nine of them are inscribed in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites. The most famous Suzhou gardens include Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden, Master of the Nets Garden, Lion Grove Garden, Canglang Pavilion, Retreat & Reflection Garden, etc. Humble Administrator's Garden and Lingering Garden are also listed in Four Best Gardens in China together with Summer Palace in Beijing and Chengde Mountain Resort in Chengde. No matter you are a garden fan or not, you will get endless fun while strolling in these delicate gardens.

▶ Helpful Link: Classical Gardens of Suzhou | Four Best Gardens in China

How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Corridor in Humble Administrator's Garden
How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Delicate Master of the Nets Garden

Appreciate the Charm of Suzhou Silk

Chinese silk is known as the best silk in the world while Suzhou is regarded one of the best places to explore Chinese silk. Whether you want to take a probe into the history and production of silk, or you like to purchase some good-quality silk, don’t miss Suzhou. Suzhou Silk Museum is China’s first museum specialized in silk. It well exhibits China’s silk history from brilliant silk cultural relics, mulberry planting, silk worm breeding to completed garments. In Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory, you can watch the real-time silk making process, including interacting with the silkworm babies, and getting close to the delicate silk exhibits. For more silk experience, you can also visit Taihu Snow Silk Garden Cultural to enjoy a variety of silk cultural activities.

▶ Helpful Link: Suzhou Silk Museum | Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory

How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Delicate Silk Items Exhibiting in Suzhou Silk Factory

Be Immersed in the Poetic Flavor of Suzhou Water Towns

Of course, you need to visit at least one water town if you visit Suzhou. Crisscrossed by river and canals, these time-honored towns are always poetic. The most famous water towns around Suzhou City are Zhouzhuang Water Town and Tongli Water Town. Zhouzhuang Water Town features in appealing sightseeing and authentic old flavor. Apart from the antique atmosphere, it also offers travelers a glimpse of Wu culture. Tongli Water Town is quite charming with one garden, two halls and three bridges. If you want to see water town and Suzhou garden in limited time, Tongli Water Town is a perfect choice. Apart from Zhouzhuang and Tongli, you can also choose Luzhi Water Town, Mudu Water Town, Jinxi Water Town, etc., for a more peaceful environment.

▶ Helpful Link: Zhouzhuang Water Town | Tongli Water Town| Luzhi Water Town

How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Poetic Tongli Water Town in the Dream

Visit Other Top Attractions in Suzhou

Besides the gardens, silk and water towns, there are many others to explore as well. Tiger Hill, praised as Top 1 Sight in Suzhou, records the long history of Suzhou. The featured pagoda standing on the top of tiger hill is the biggest highlight of Tiger Hill that you can’t miss. If you are interested in Suzhou history, it is also advised to visit Suzhou Museum to appreciate the excellent exhibits and listen to the story behind them. In fact, Suzhou Museum’s architecture is much more popular than its exhibits. Designed by Mr. leoh Ming Pei, it enjoys many typical traditional elements of Suzhou gardens. Besides, Suzhou has several old streets, like Pingjiang Road and Shantang Street where you can taste delicious food, exploring old story, enjoying a boat trip, etc.

▶ Helpful Link: Things to Do in Suzhou

How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Magnificent Tiger Hill Pagoda

How Many Days to Stay in Suzhou

Generally, a classic Suzhou tour spend at least 2 days if you want to explore all its highlights in at a comfortable pace. However, traveling Suzhou in one day is also available if you have a tight schedule. Check the following recommended Suzhou itineraries from 1~3 days and get inspiration of your own Suzhou trip.

Suzhou 1 Day Itinerary

Travel Plan Features Itinerary Recommended Tour
Plan ABrief Glimpse at SuzhouLingering Garden + Shantang Ancient Street + Tiger Hill + Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory1 Day Suzhou City Highlights Tour
Plan BBrief Essence of SuzhouLingering Garden + Shantang Ancient Street + Tiger Hill + Zhouzhuang1 Day Suzhou Zhouzhuang Tour

Suzhou 2 Days Itinerary

Travel Plan Features Itinerary Recommended Tour
Plan ABeautiful Water Town and GardenDay 1: Lingering Garden + Shantang Ancient Street + Tiger Hill + Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory
Day 2: Suzhou Museum + Tongli Water Town
2 Days Best Suzhou & Tongli Water Village Tour
Plan BPoentic Water TownDay 1: Humble Administrator's Garden + Shantang Ancient Street + Tiger Hill
Day 2: Suzhou Museum + Zhouzhuang
2 Days Best Suzhou & Zhouzhuang Water Village Tour
Plan CCharming Suzhou Garden CultureDay 1: Humble Administrator's Garden + Suzhou Museum + Master of the Nets Garden
Day 2: Lingering Garden + Suzhou Ancient Grand Canal + Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory
2 Days Suzhou Classic Garden Tour
Plan DJiangnan ParadiseDay 1: Humble Administrator's Garden + Suzhou Museum + Tiger Hill
Day 2: Master of the Nets Garden + Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory
2 Days In-depth Suzhou Culture Discovery Tour

Travel beyond Suzhou

To other Destinations in Jiangsu

Apart from Suzhou, there are some other destinations with different charm in Suzhou. Nanjing, the present provincial capital of Jiangsu, have been the capital of 6 imperial dynasties. It offers you much history and culture of China to explore. It is recommended spending 2 days visiting its highlights - Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum, Confucius Temple, Qinhuai River, Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge… Wuxi is another beautiful city with splendid Taihu Lake scenery, sacred Buddhist land and great gardens. It needs about 2 days to explore this city as well. Besides, you can pay a short visit to Yangzhou – a flourishing city with historical sites and Changzhou – a relaxing city with entertaining experience.

How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Nanjing Ancient City Wall

To nearby Top Tourist Destinations

Most travelers choose to travel Suzhou with Shanghai and Hangzhou. Shanghai is a fascinating city with sky-kissing skyscrapers, different European architectures, informative museums, traditional blocks and various theme parks and so on. Spending 2~3 days in Shanghai, you can fully experience what present China looks like. Since ancient time, Hangzhou and Suzhou enjoy equal popularity among travelers and eulogized by poets and emperors. The dreamy panoramas of West Lake will always tempt visitors into long sojourns. Besides, you are able to unique Hangzhou food and famous Longjing tea, watch one of the best night shows, savor Chinese Buddhist fragrance, etc. Some travelers also choose to extend their Shanghai Suzhou Hangzhou tour to Huangshan (Yellow Mountain)for a memorable visual sightseeing trip. You will not only be awed at the breathtaking natural view of Yellow Mountain, but also savor the painting-like white-walled gray-title architectures in Huizhou Villages, like Hongcun Village and Xidi Village.

▶ Helpful Link: Shanghai Suzhou Tours | Shanghai Suzhou Hangzhou Tours | Yangtze Delta Tours

How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Picturesque West Lake in Hanghou
How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Amazing Yellow Mountain

To More Domestic Destinations

Want to explore more nature and culture of China beyond the Yangtze River Delta? You really get a bucket of choices. In Beijing, lots of UNESECO World Cultural Heritage Sites – like imperial palaces, gardens, great wall, etc. show you the dazzling treasures of Chinese history and culture. In Xian, the world-famous archaeological finds – Terracotta Warriors, as well as many other centuries-old sites make you imagine how glorious this old city used to be. In Guilin, the captivating karst landscape lets you know how magical the nature would be. Moreover, you could have a close contact with the world’s most adorable animal – Giant Pandas in Chengdu, admire the real Avatar World in Zhangjiajie, the colorful nationalities of China in Yunnan, savor a relaxing cruise journey along the Yangtze River, get amazed by the high-altitude views in Tibet… No matter you are interested in nature, culture, history, hiking, photography, food, or something else, just contact us to customize a tour according to your own interest.

▶ Helpful Linkes: China Destinations | Top 10 China Tours

How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Beijing Jinshanling Great Wall
How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Yangshuo in Guilin

Where to Stay in Suzhou

In your tour in Suzhou, you can easily find many good hotels ranging from luxury 5-star hotels to budget 3-star hotels. Some boutique hotels and hostels are also accessible. Travelers usually accommodate in Suzhou downtown where attractions gather and you can easily find quick access to public transportation, good restaurants and shopping malls as well. If you travel to nearby water towns like Zhouzhuang and Tongli, you can accommodate there as well. It is also available to accommodate in Shanghai after or before your Suzhou trip, and there is only an about 30 minutes' high speed train journey between them.

Helpful Link: Where to Stay in Suzhou

How to Plan a Trip to Suzhou Click to Enlarge Suzhou Accommodation Maps

Suzhou 144 Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy

Since 2016, China has started the 144-Hour Transit Visa Exemption policy in Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang) to offer transit convenience for international travelers. It means that, visitors from the appointed 53 countries, holding the valid travel documents and connecting flight tickets to a third country/region, are allowed to enter and exit from one of the six ports - Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, Nanjing Lukou International Airport and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, and stay for not exceeding 144 hours in the administrative regions of Shanghai, Jiangsu (Suzhou included) and Zhejiang.

▶ Helpful Link: Yangtze River Delta

Travel Suzhou with China Discovery

In order to get a Suzhou tour, traveling with China Discovery is strongly recommended. China Discovery is a leading travel agency with rich experience in offering high-quality and customizable China tour packages. Before your tour, our travel expert will communicate with you one to one and make an itinerary according your own interest, need and budget. Every detail – transfer, hotels, attractions, etc. will be arranged well for you. As you arrive, our local travel guide and driver will pick you up at the airport or train station as you arrive with an air-conditioned and non-smoking vehicle, and then escort you to your hotel or every attraction listed in your itinerary. Great freedom will be given to you whenever you need to stop for sightseeing and photograph. Feel free to contact us to start your worry-free private tour now

Tiger Hill

Our Customers in Tiger Hill, Suzhou

Get Inspired by Real Travel Stories of Our Customers

Since 2012, we have helped numerous customers visit Suzhou and surroundings. With our fully-inclusive private tour packages, all of our customers enjoyed their trips to the exquisite gardens, peaceful watertowns, informative silk factory or museum, old Suzhou streets, etc. Some of them kindly shared their precious photos and stories about their Suzhou journey, just get inspired now.

"We were lucky for being able to watch Chinese dancers at the Lingering Garden at the time of visit…" - shared by Nguyen (Check her The Pursuit of Natural Beauty with the Beloved one - 14 Days Beautiful China Exploring Tour>)

"Suzhou was the real treat at the end of the trip! Everything about Suzhou was perfect…" - shared by Elizabeth from Britain (Check her Long-lasting Memory brought by First Trip to China - 16 Days well-Organized and Wonderful First Visit to China>

Besides the wonderful travel stories, many customers who visited Suzhou with China Discovery also send us their first-hand feedbacks about their trip, feel free to read the Suzhou Reviews and learn what they say about their experience. If you want to start your Suzhou tour now, don't hesitate to contact us.

Suzhou Our Customers Mrs. Nguyen and her husband from Canada visited Suzhou, customized by Wonder Wang

Recommended Suzhou Tours

Top 3 Suzhou tours chosen by most customers to explore Suzhou in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Peaceful Tongli Water Town

2 Days Relaxing Suzhou Vacation with Tongli Water Town

Suzhou / Tongli Water Town

West Lake Summer Scenery

5 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Highlights Tour

Shanghai / Hangzhou / Suzhou / Shanghai

Traveler in Humble Administrator's Garden

3 Days Hangzhou Suzhou Beauty Tour by High Speed Train

Hangzhou / Suzhou

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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