- Suzhou Guanqian Street
- Humble Administrator's Garden
- Zhouzhuang, Suzhou
- Lion Grove Garden
- Lingering Garden
Phone Code: 0512 (+86)
Postal Code: 215000
Area: 8,488 square kilometers (3,276.4 square miles)
Population: 11,769,100 (statistics in 2010)
Nationalities: Han, Hui, and Manchu
Neighboring Areas: Zhejiang, Anhui, Shandong Provinces and Shanghai Municipality
Location: South of Jiangsu Province. Latitude between 30°47′-32°2′N and longitude between 119°55′-121°20′E.
Physical Features: Since Suzhou is in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and on the shores of Taihu Lake, 55 percent of its land is covered by low and smooth plains. With an altitude of 3-4 meters (9.8-13.1 feet) above sea level, the plain slopes down slightly from the west to the east. Yangtze River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal flow through the north of the city. Together with Taihu Lake and many small lakes such as Caohu Lake and Dianshan Lake, Suzhou ranks top amongst the well-watered areas in China. It even enjoys fame as the 'Oriental Venice'. The fertile land also made it the 'Granary of China' since ancient time.
History: Known as 'Wu, Wudu, Wuzhong, Dongwu, and Wumen' in ancient China, Suzhou was established in 514 BC. Being a city with written history of more than 4000 years, it was renamed Suzhou in 589 in the Sui Dynasty (581-618). In 1982, it was selected to be a state level historical and cultural city by the State Council.
Attractions: As the Chinese says: "there's paradise in heaven and but on the earth, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou". The beauty of Suzhou lies largely in its many garden themes and considered as artworks created synthetically by nature, buildings, carvings, calligraphy and paintings. So far, it has more than 60 classical Chinese gardens that are well preserved. There are the Humble Administrator's Garden, Lingering Garden, Garden of Master of Nets, and Lion Grove Garden. Furthermore, Zhouzhuang, Mudu, Luzhi and Tongli Town are the other best places to view typical Chinese water towns and ancient residential houses. Tiger Hill northwest of the city, is famous as the key point of interest in Suzhou. Hanshan Temple (also called Cold Mountain Temple) is a Buddhist temple famous since ancient China for its bell ringing. Other top attractions are Canglang Pavilion, the Silk Museum and the West Garden Temple. Suzhou Amusement Park would be a good choice for children. In addition, Kunqu Opera, Suzhou Opera and Ballad-singing are amongst some of the local cultural attractions. Tourist festivals are also held almost every month throughout the year in the city. Visitors get to learn more about Chinese culture and traditions from such events.
Air: There is no civilian airport in the city but Wuxi Sunan International Airport is just about 20 kilometers (12.42 miles) from the city center. Besides, there are many airports in neighboring cities, such as Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Changzhou and Nantong.
Train: Shanghai-Nanjing Express Railway passes through Suzhou and it is the most important line in the Yangtze Delta. This express rail service was introduced on July 1st 2011 and it stops at Suzhou North Railway Station. Trains to major other cities such as Zhengzhou, Shenyang, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Xian and Chengdu also leave from this station.
Ship: The Port of Suzhou is an important inland river transport hub which consists of three ports - Zhangjiagang, Changshu and Taicang along the Yangtze River. It is a busy port, trading with 136 international ports all over the world.
Subway: Plans are already underway to build up 9 subway lines in Suzhou and some of them are under construction now. Subway Line 1 is expected to be finished in June 2012, Line 2 in June 2014 and Line 3, 4 between 2015 and 2016.
Bus: Highway transportation is convenient in the city. Four long-distance bus stations operate buses to major cities in Anhui, Hubei, Fujian, Shandong, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces.
Taxi: The minimum taxi charge is RMB10 and RMB1.8 per km for distances exceeding 3 km (1.9 miles).
Weather: The city is in the north edge of subtropical zone with a mild climate. The annual average temperature is 15.7°C. The best tine to visit is in spring (March-May).
Dining and Shopping
Suzhou has its own unique cuisine for thousands of years and this has made it the center for Chinese food culture in east China. Amongst the specialties, the most famous dishes are Song Shu Gui Yu (Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish), Xiang You Shan Hu (Eel in Hot Oil Sauce), Xie Fen Ti Jin (Fresh Pig Trotters Sinew) and Qing Liu Xia Ren (Sauteed Shrimp). Local snacks in the city are well known all over China, such as Jiao Hua Ji (Beggar's Chicken), Yangcheng Lake giant crab, Jinjin dried tofu, pine nut candy, the Chinese flowering crab apple cake and sesame cake with mashed date. Noodles are also very popular. Gourmet streets in Tai Jian Nong, Shi Quan Street, Xue Shi Street, Li Gong Di and Feng Huang Street are good choices where all delicious food can be found.
Moreover, Suzhou boasts numerous local products, such as Biluochun Tea, Suzhou candy, glazed fruits, fans, national musical instruments, scroll mounting, lanterns, mahogany furniture, jade carving, embroidery, peach wood carvings for Chinese New Year, silk tapestry and traditional painting pigments of Jiangsixutang Studio. The best places for shopping are in Guan Qian Street and Shi Quan Street. In addition, modern shopping malls and supermarkets can also be found in Ren Min Road, San Xiang Road, Chang Jiang Road and Dong Wu North Road.