Suzhou, China, is a fantastic place to visit. While many tourists visit Shanghai only to see its beautiful Chinese gardens, we recommend spending more time exploring the city and its Jingshao proving.
Things to Do in Suzhou China
It is a great place to enjoy the city’s beauty, the nightlife’s excitement, and relax.
Shantang Street, Suzhou’s most famous street, is an ancient pedestrian route from 1200 years. It runs along either side of Suzhou’s Canal.
Stretches from Shantaing River up to Tiger Hill
It spans 7.38 miles (2.38 km) and is lined with shops and restaurants where tourists can enjoy the lively city.
There are two parts to the street. There are two sections to the road. The tourist section is home to more shops and restaurants of western cuisines like Dairy Queen or Starbucks. While the other half houses traditional Chinese shops that locals use for their daily lives.
Squirrel Mandarin Fish
We first tasted Suzhou’s famous fish dish, Squirrel Mandarin Fish, on Shantang Street.
Song He Lou has been serving traditional foods for over 250 years.
All enjoyed a feast of fresh, family-style Chinese food. We tried the Suzhou sweet and sour mandarin fish, stir-fried shrimp, and other vegetables.
Take a boat ride along the Canal to get a glimpse at traditional life.
Although it may be prime property along the Canal, buildings must be renovated elsewhere.
These are old, tiny homes that should be preserved as is.
Some locals survive on the river alone, and others do without a proper kitchen, bathroom, or laundry facility.
Shantang Street At Night
Shantang Street has a different vibe at night. The crowds are out in force to take in the lively atmosphere.
We quickly progressed along the narrow canal street to the Chaozong Pavilion, where Suzhou’s traditional culture meets modernity.
The Canal’s picturesque pagoda is on one side, while the mass of motorbikes lining the streets gathers in the large square, home to fast food, shopping centers, restaurants, and other businesses.
The crowd was more impressed by us being there than by the scene in front of them.
We must ride a ricksha when we travel to China. When we visited, the rickshaws were our guide through the back streets and paths that lined the canals in Suzhou.
To view the products and to try some of the many exciting restaurants, we stopped by a traditional Chinese market.
This is not for the weak heart, as turtles and live frogs are encased in mesh plastic, waiting for their fate.
We always say, ” At most in Asia, they understand where their food comes from. This is unlike the west, where we wrap our meat in styrofoam or plastic wrap and pretend it never existed.”
The tour finished at dusk on another famous street in Suzhou, Pingjiang Road.
Pingjang Road, a pedestrian street along the Canal, is similar to Shantang Street.
Many people are here, including street vendors, souvenir shops, cafes, and even souvenir shops.
As the streets light up at night, many photo opportunities along the Canal exist.
I love China at Night. These cities are built for darkness, with neon lights and lanterns decorating the night sky.
Chinese Kun Opera
Although I’m not sure if I would recommend an entire Chinese opera, it is worth going to a small Pingjian Roadhouse to see an opera singer apply her makeup, followed by a show.
Visitors can witness the transformation with their eyes at the Fuxi Tea House on Pingjiang Road.
We sat down at a dim restaurant to see an artist push her face to the limits and paint her look like a painting.
She explained how the makeup was applied and how opera singers often have others help them. Completing the work can take up to an hour and a quarter.
She is a master of her craft and was able to complete her transformation in just 30 minutes.
Her face was pulled so tightly that she stated (through our translator) that many new performers could not bear the pain.
After she had finished, she performed a show in front of a packed hall. Although we didn’t understand every word she said, we could feel the joy and excitement that the crowd was experiencing. We assumed that we were the only foreigners present in the room.
The Garden of the Humble Administrator
Suzhou is home to 69 traditional Chinese gardens. Nine of them are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The most well-known of all gardens is the Humble Administrator’s Garden. It is one of China’s four most famous gardens, dating back to 500 years ago.
The Humble Administrator’s Garden, unlike the Summer Palace and Forbidden City Garden of Beijing, which were imperial gardens used only by royalty, was owned privately by a family.
This garden is a true testament to the wealth and success of China’s elite.
It is trendy, so that it can get very crowded very quickly. We arrived early in the morning to beat the crowds. However, by 9:00 AM, the place was packed with people.
Lion Grove Gardens
The smaller but still impressive Lion Grove Gardens was close.
Built-in 1342 by the Yuan Dynasty during the Yuan Dynasty era, Lion Grove Gardens was named for the rocks that resembled a lion.
This garden is distinguished by the multilevel rock formations, known as rockeries, that run through waterways and create pathways up, over, and through decorative rock made from limestone from Taihu Lake.
We were lost in a maze made of rocks meant to provide a tranquil atmosphere for contemplation and serenity.
The gardens are beautiful, even though the crowds can disturb their serenity. It truly is a work of art.
Panmen Scenic Area
This is the Panman Gate, found on the Grand Canal. Visitors can cross the 2500-year-old structure to get here.
It is the only preserved water and land-city gate in the entire WorldWorld.
Walking the 300m (328 yards) attached to the Old City Wall is possible. They are 5 meters (16 feet) high and offer panoramic views.
Grand Canal Boat Trip
We walked through the Panmen Gardens and then to the Grand Canal, where we boarded a canal tour to see the sights along the water.
It would help if you visited the Grand Canal, the oldest and longest artificial waterway in the World.
The Grand Canal, known as the Golden Waterway, was built in 770 BC. It stretches for 1776 kilometers from Beijing to Hangzhou.
Pan Pacific Hotel
We must also talk about the Suzhou Pan Pacific Hotel, our hotel, while there.
This is an unrivaled destination. The Pan Pacific, connected to the Panmen Gardens, gives you the feeling of being in a traditional Chinese Palace. It is modeled after the Forbidden City and boasts impressive gardens.
We stayed in the renovated wing and recommended that you ask for a change if you are in the unrenovated part of the building (as we were).
The difference between these two sections is almost like night and day. Ask for Executive Premier Rooms in Garden or Pagoda Wings.
The Pan Pacific features a beautiful indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a spa, and three dining rooms.