Things to Do in Suzhou

Confused what to see, do and experience in Suzhou? Known as the "City of Gardens", "Silk of Land", Suzhou has several kinds of attractions and activities listed below to show you all the highlights.

1) Gardens;
2) Museums;
3) Silk Factory;
4) Kunju Opera;
5) Water Towns.

What are you waiting for? Hurry up and check the details now!

Suzhou Attraction Map

Humble 
Administrator's Garden

No.1: Humble Administrator's Garden (Zhuozheng Yuan)

Type: Gardens, National Parks, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours

The Humble Administrator’s Garden is not only the Suzhou’s largest garden, but also one of the top four gardens in China. Originally built in 1509 by a retired magistrate Wang Xianchen, now it ranks the best representative of Chinese classical gardens with Ming Dynasty style.

The garden is separated into three principal parts, east, central and west. The main attraction is the Central Garden where inter-connected ponds are surrounded by pavilions, halls, corridors, and small bridges. From March to October, the beautiful flowers are in blossom. “Azalea Festival” is from mid-March to early May. If you come in Summer, lotus flowers are smiling to you. In Autumn, you could see chrysanthemum everywhere in the garden.

Lingering Garden

No.2: Lingering Garden (Liu Yuan)

Type: Gardens, National Parks, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours

With a history of more than 400 years, Lingering Garden is one of the top four gardens in China. Built in typical Qing Style, it is well-known for its exquisite beauty of magnificent halls, peaceful lakes and unusually-shaped stones. In 1997, Lingering Garden, along with other classical gardens in Suzhou, was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

It consists of four scenic areas: the central, eastern, western and northern part, connected by a long corridor. Buildings, trees, flowers, lakes, and “bonsai-trees” (“Penjing” in Chinese) blend harmoniously with the surroundings. Strolling in it, you can't help slowing down your pace to enjoy the harmony with nature. It is just lingering.

Tiger Hill

No.3: Tiger Hill

Type:Natures & Parks, Mountain & Garden

Recommended Length of Visit: 2-3 hours

Tiger Hill (Hu Qiu, 虎丘 in Chinese) is a hot tourist attraction located in the northwest of Suzhou City. Covering a history of over 2,500 years, Tiger Hill enjoys lots of historical legendary as well as antique architectures. Great Litterateur Sushi once said that “What a lifetime pity it is if you have been to Suzhou without a visit to Tiger Hill”. It is not exaggerated say that. Small as it is, it has enchanting natural landscape and a dozen of historical & cultural relics. Visiting Tiger Hill is the best way to have a glimpse of the history and legendary of Suzhou. Therefore, it was praised as the No.1 Sight in Suzhou and National AAAAA Scenic Spot.

Suzhou Museum

No.4: Suzhou Museum

Type:Museums, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours

Suzhou Museum is the top regional museum, which was founded in 1960 in the former residence of the Zhong Prince of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. The building itself is an attraction, having been designed by I.M. Pei, the world renowned award-winning architect. “Chinese style with innovation, Suzhou style with creativity”. Its design, influenced heavily by its location next to a UNESCO classical garden – Humble Administrator’s Garden, and the national- important artifacts, paintings, calligraphy, ceramics …make this one of the top museums in China.

Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory

No.5: Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory

Type: Factory Tours, Factory Outlets

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 hours

China is well-known for its silk and Suzhou is most famous place for silk producing. In Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory, you could not only see how the silk is processed from worm to the final product, but also learn some history and culture of silk in China.

Built in 1926, the No.1 Silk Factory is divided into three parts: the exhibition hall showing the history of Suzhou silk ad some ancient collections; the working spot where you can see how the silk worm lays the eggs, the different pods, how they soak the pods, the reeling and the making of silk; and the product exhibition hall, exhibiting the main products of this factory, the sick wadding quilts – all at the reasonable price, just buy one!

 

Tongli Water Town

No.6: Tongli Water Town

Type:Bodies of Water, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: at least half day

Tongli is 28 kilometers away from Suzhou with 20 minutes’ drive. It is definitely a good choice combining in your Suzhou Tour. Tongli, is an-aged but very well preserved water township with a history of more than 1,000 years, giving visitors a good idea of what Suzhou must have been like in its heyday.

It is smaller than Zhouzhuang but the scenery is more original, the locals still live in a traditional way. Stroll along the ancient alleys, take a cruise on the clear water, sit in a tea house watching the canoes passing by…are good ways to spend your leisure time here. Also good to visit Tuisi Yuan, a classical garden dating from the late Qing period. Oh, don’t forget the Museum of Ancient Chinese Sexual Culture – it’s the first of its kind of China.

Zhouzhuang Water Town

No.7: Zhouzhuang Water Town

Type:Bodies of Water, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: at least half day

Zhouzhuang links Suzhou and Shanghai, about I hour’s drive Suzhou (30 km away). Zhouzhuang, called “Venice of the East”, is the No.1 water town in China, noted for its profound cultural back, the well preserved ancient residential houses and the elegant watery views. The charming old town can be explored on foot or via a boat tour on the canals. The other interesting sights here include: Ming-era Hall of Zhang Residence with 70 rooms, and the Hall of Shen’s Residence, with 100 rooms connected to the main hall. Also enjoy the happy time in Chengxu Temple, a Song Dynasty Taoist shrine.

Master of the 
Nets Garden

No.8: Master of the Nets Garden (Wangshi Yuan)

Type: Gardens, Opera, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours

Master of the Nets Garden is the smallest yet the finest of all Suzhou’s gardens. Also called Fisherman’s Garden. It is said that it was named after one of its owners – a retired official who wished to become an accomplished fisherman. The garden includes a central lake, discreet connecting corridors, pavilions with miniature courtyards, screens, delicate latticework and above all, points which “frame a view” as if looking at a perfectly balanced photograph.

It is also the only garden in Suzhou opening at night (mid-March to mid-November, open till 10 pm). The night view is fantastic. And the regular evening performance of Chinese opera, like local Kunqu Opera, will give you an unforgettable evening.

Lion Grove 
Garden

No.9: Lion Grove Garden (Shizilin)

Type: Gardens, Opera, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 hours

The Lion Grove Garden is considered by many the finest in Suzhou. It is one of the 9 classical Chinese-style gardens of Suzhou listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. “Of all the famous rock-gardens in history, only the Lion Grove Garden has survived.” Noted for its labyrinthine mountains with winding pathways and caverns, old pines and cypress trees, awesome peaks and jogged rocks (Taihu rocks) of grotesque shapes resembling dancing lions with striking and unusual poses, it possesses with pride the true delights of mountain and forest scenery in limited space with a flavor of Zen Buddhism.

Cruise Suzhou Ancient Grand Canal

No.10: Suzhou Ancient Grand Canal

Type: Bodies of Water

Recommended Length of Visit:1 hour

Suzhou Grand Canal is located at the Taihu Lake Bsin and belongs to Jiannan Grand Canal which starts from Zhengjiang in North and ends at Hangzhou in South. It has been the golden waterway for thousands of years and prospered the economy of Suzhou. There are plenty of charming attractions along Suzhou Canal, like Pan Gate Scenic Area, Xu Gate, Chang Gate, Shantang Street and Xiang Gate. Cruising on the Suzhou Ancient Grand Canal is a good way to see the old buildings and get a feel for the life of the locals. Tranquil, peaceful and historical, just like a time machine to take you back to the old era when ancient people communicated mainly by shipping on the waterway.

Shantang Street

No.11: Shantang Street

Type:Ancient Buildings, Pedestrian Streets, Water Place, Historic & Cultural Sight

Recommended Length of Visit: 2-3 hours

Shantang Street or Seven-mile Shantang in the northwestern Gusu District was built in 825 AD by the famous poet Bai Juyi. Connecting the Tiger Hill on the west and Changmen on the east in the totel length of seven miles, Shangtang was once one of the most prosperous street blocks in ancient China. Pay a visit to this antique street block to see the well preserved historic buildings of black tiles and white walls, take a painted boat on the old river of Jiangnan features, feel the authentic flavor of old Suzhou in the prosperous stores selling local food, handicrafts, silk, etc. and know more about the profound culture and history of Suzhou city.

Pingjiang Road

No.12: Pingjiang Road

Type:Ancient Street, Historical Site, Sights & Landmarks

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 ~4 hours

Paralleling with 25 centuries old Pingjiang River, Pingjiang Road is a historical street loved by many tourists. It stretches 1,606 meters from north to south. With well-preserved blocks, it acts as an epitome of ancient Suzhou. Walking in Pingjiang Road is like stepping the daily life of people in old times. The charming night view, delicious local, food, different kinds of handicrafts will give you a wonderful experience. Apart from these, you could still exploring old history, admire the exquisite garden, and learn about Kun Opera Culture by visiting Pingjiang Road.

Suzhou Silk Museum

No.13: Suzhou Silk Museum

Type:Silk, Specialty Museum

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours

Suzhou Silk Museum, located near the Beisi Pagoda in Gusu District of Suzhou, is the first museum that specializes in silk in China. First built in 1991, it was extensively refurbished in the spring of 2016. Now, Suzhou Silk Museum reopens just like the metamorphosis of silkworm blending a sense of ancient silk civilization with modern design. With a theme of “the Silk Road”, Suzhou Silk Museum is designed in white color which reflects the original color of silk. Three elegant ladies’ white marble statues - a girl plucking mulberry leaves, a girl washing gauze, a girl weaving silk, are designed on the wall of the main buildings, making this silk museum more attractive.

Canglang Pavilion

No.14: Canglang Pavilion (Blue Wave Pavilion)

Type: Gardens, Opera, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 hours

Canglang Pavilion, also Great Wave Pavilion, is Suzhou’s oldest garden that can be traced back to the Northern Song Dynasty (906-1127). It was built in 1044 by the poet Su Shunqing, on the side of a pre-existing imperial flower garden in 960. Canglang Pavilion is known for its technique of “borrowing a view”, allowing scenery beyond the garden’s confines to play a role in its design.
Stroll in this tranquil garden, you will find the 108 leaky windows each one with a unique design.

Panmen Scenic Area

No.15: Panmen Scenic Area (Pan Gate)

Type: Parks, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 hours

Set in the southwest of Suzhou, Panmen Scenic Area was built on the base of some historic sites by using the architectural structure of classic gardens. It mainly consists of “three fine sceneries”: Panmen Gate, Wu Men Bridge and Ruiguang Pagoda.

Panmen Gate is a famous historical landmark in Suzhou with a history of 2500 years, remaining the city’s ancient fortifications. It is the only land and water gate in China. The graceful Wu Men Bridge spanning the Grand Canal is the tallest in Suzhou and its design dates back to the Song Dynasty. The seven-story pagoda is constructed of brick with wooden platforms. After a climb up narrow stairs, looking down into the heart of Suzhou itself reveals a city dotted with large pockets of green – the beautiful gardens that have made the city so famous.

Hanshan Temple

No.16: Hanshan Temple

Type:Temples, Historic Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 1-2 hours

Hanshan Temple, literally “Cold Mountain Temple” is a Buddhist temple and monastery in Suzhou. First constructed in Liang Dynasty, the temple was named after a Tang Dynasty poet-monk. Located close to the Grand Canal, it was immortalized by the Tang Dynasty poet Zhang Ji, who arrived here by boat. His poem “A Night Mooring by Maple Bridge” inscribed on a stone stele, and contains the lines that made Hanshan Temple “Beyond Suzhou lies Hanshan Temple; at midnight the clang of the bell reaches the traveler’s boat”. The bells alluded here dating from the Qing Dynasty were lost. A new 108 tonne bell replaces the hundred years old Japanese built bell. Nearby, a beautiful Maple Bridge offers grand views along the Grand Canal.

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.

Suzhou Master of the Nets Garden
2 Days Suzhou Classic Garden Tour

Suzhou

Suzhou Museum Architecture
2 Days In-depth Suzhou Culture Discovery Tour

Suzhou

Zhouzhuang Water Town Locals
2 Days Best Suzhou & Zhouzhuang Water Village Tour

Suzhou / Zhouzhuang

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