After our time in Shanghai, Alan, Bridgette, Mimi, Brady and I took the high speed train to Suzhou as our next stop. The high speed train is the fastest and most efficient way to get around China these days, providing speed, comfort and convenience all together. It was only a 30 minute ride, and my sis splurged on business class tickets for us, so we got extra comfort!
Upon arrival to Suzhou, it was an easy cab ride to our hotel, the Suzhou Marriott. Our stay at the Marriott for this trip was excellent, and we would definitely recommend it. The rooms were spacious and clean, the bathrooms met our very high standards, the staff was very courteous and helpful, and there were pretty good amenities like a big pool, gym, restaurant, and lobby lounge. The only downside was that we weren’t able to adjust the temperature in our individual rooms.
Suzhou is known for its canals, bridges, and classical gardens so ofcourse, we spent most of our time outdoors there. Lucky for us, the weather held up pretty well, though it was still very cold. Here are some of our favorite spots in Suzhou:
Suzhou Museum— Even if you’re not a fan of museums, you have to visit this one if only just to see and experience its beautiful design by I.M. Pei. I fell in love with the simplicity of the spaces, especially the little bamboo oasis outside! Admission is free, so there’s absolutely no excuse not to go. 🙂 While you’re there, make time to have coffee and some pastries inside their cafe because it’s a cool looking one!
Humble Administrator’s Garden—I know what you’re thinking…what an odd name for a garden right? Well, of the many beautiful gardens in Suzhou, this is probably the most famous one, and the name was derived from a verse by the famous scholar official of the Jin Dynasty, Pan Yue, in his prose, An Idle Life. It’s right by the Suzhou Museum, so you can hit both places in one afternoon! Oh, and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site in case you’re on a mission to hit every one of their sites around the world. 🙂
There are also a few smaller gardens nearby, and all of them are peaceful and beautiful. If you’re tired of garden hopping, check out some of the streets with local merchants as well, and maybe buy a silk blanket to take home! 🙂
Zhouzhuang Water Town— Famous for its canals, rivers, lakes, and bridges, Zhouzhuang is definitely worth taking a day trip for! It’s only about a 30 minute car ride, and it’s got some beautifully preserved residences, lots of lovely local shops, and gorgeous views all around. We really enjoyed strolling through the town and even took a boat ride down one of the canals, where our rower sang for us!
In ZhouZhang, we ate at a restaurant name Shu Xiang Fang, and it was delicious! We especially loved the hot piping fish soup, perfect for a cold, gloomy day!
Shantang Street–this is an ancient riverside pedestrian road that’s filled with eateries and shops. We went in the evening, after dinner, and really enjoyed the lively vibe there. It almost felt like the night markets that we loved in Thailand!
Happy Hotpot—this was a HK style hotpot restaurant we stumbled across when the noodle place we wanted to try was closed. We ended up loving it so much we went back a second time before we left Suzhou. The coconut chicken broth was soooooo delicious and the best we’ve ever had!
One highlight of our time in Suzhou was getting to see my cousin Steven, who had just arrived for his semester abroad with Dayton University. We had one overlapping morning, so he came over to the Marriott to see us briefly, and we loved getting to give him a giant hug in person!
I’ll end this post with more pictures of the delicious food we had in Suzhou, mostly lots of noodles and street side snacks!
We loved our time in Suzhou and it would definitely be a place where we wouldn’t mind going again!