February 03, 2021 3 min read
Suzhou, China is a unique and memorable destination to check out. Many tourists just make a quick day trip to see the classical Chinese gardens, but there is so much to see that is often overlooked in this exquisite city, which is known as the Venice of the East! Below are some of our favorite things to do in this Jingshao proving city.
Take a boat tour to see the Canal and the unique traditional life that lives along it. There are a lot of tiny old homes that can’t be renovated and must be left just as they are. Instead of renovating these houses for a weekend getaway, they leave the houses as they are and get by with basic amenities. Some locals live off the river and don’t even have a proper kitchen or bathrooms!
Shantang Street is the famous, 2.38-mile long street in Suzhou that is actually an ancient path for pedestrians that dates back 1200 years! It stretches from Shantang River to Tiger Hill. Along your walk you can stop in at any of several eateries as well as quaint shops. The street is divided into two sections. One section is more of a tourist section and has western restaurants and boutique-style shops – including a Starbucks and Dairy Queen! The other half has more traditional shops where locals frequent.
This street is totally different at night time, filled with an energetic atmosphere that draws in the crowds.
A visit to China without taking a rickshaw ride is a shame. The rickshaws, which are two or three-wheeled passenger carts, will take you through back streets and pathways that line the canals. Fun fact: The first rickshaw in China was seen in 1873 and was used for public transportation in 1874. The carts are traditionally pulled by runners but some carts are powered by a cyclist instead.
Located on the Grand Canal, the Panman Gate dates back 2500 years. Visitors can cross over the Grand Canal to enter the Panman Gardens. It is the only land city gate and the only preserved water gate in the world! You can walk along the 328 yards of the Old City Wall that remain upright here.
Suzhou features 69 classical Chinese gardens. Nine of them are actually designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous of all of the Suzhou gardens is The Humble Administrator’s Garden, which dates back 500 years. It was once owned by a private family and shows much of the prosperity and wealth of the elite residents of China. Insider tip: It has a tendency to get busy fast so arrive early to beat the crowds!
The Suzhou Pan Pacific Hotel is an attraction in itself and a great place to stay for your trip. It is connected to the Panmen Gardens and has the feel of a traditional palace. It resembles a temple and has its own gorgeous gardens. It features indoor and outdoor swimming, a spa, fitness center and three dining rooms.
For when it is safe to travel be sure to have everything planned now. Make sure to record your travels and experiences in your new Globetrotter Travel Journal.
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