Suzhou, a weekend trip to UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Suzhou, a weekend trip to UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Do you remember the famous ancient proverb that you can remember from Hangzhou, the paradise in China:

“Up in the sky there is Heaven; here below on earth we have Suzhou and Hangzhou.”

Suzhou was also mentioned in other sayings about Chinese life style and Suzhou’s sweet and soft local dialect…

“To be born in Suzhou, live in Hangzhou, eat in Guangzhou, die in Liuzhou.”

Better to hear two Suzhou people arguing than listen to one regular person talking.”

The last saying sounds kind of harsh for other people…

In this article you’ll read about:

  • A summary background info on Suzhou,
  • How to go to Suzhou from Shanghai?
  • The Humble Administrator’s Garden (ZhuoZheng Garden), which is a UNESCO World Heritage  Site,
  • The 800 year old famous Pingjing Road
  • Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao Temple ),
  • The Tiger Hill, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the myth about the Tiger Hill,
  • Suzhou Railway Station
  • The City Wall of Suzhou
  • People seen throughout my journey

Let’s keep going…

BACKGROUND INFO ON SUZHOU

When I ask my friends about “where we’re gonna go?”…An answer with just a name doesn’t mean anything if I haven’t heard about the place…When I ask “what to see in that place?” the answer makes me say “When are we going? Today? Tomorrow?”. Suzhou is one of the cities that I replied “Let’s go today!”

Suzhou is one of the major cities of Jiangsu Province in Eastern China…It was founded 2,500 years ago… It is actually located on Yangtze Delta Area which is known as “the land of rice and fish“.

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How far is it from Shanghai to Suzhou?

Do you like Venice? Then you’ll love Suzhou because Suzhou is called “The Venice of the East” , “the city of canals“…But it is older and bigger than Venice…

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The Venice of the East, Suzhou

WHAT IS SUZHOU FAMOUS FOR?

There are a lot of things to see in Suzhou but actually Suzhou is famous for its classical gardens, nine of which are added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. After the classical gardens, it comes to the Tiger Hill which is included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, should be visited for sure. I am gonna tell you more about these places once we arrive.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN SUZHOU?

Like Hangzhou, Suzhou’s climate is Humid Subtropical. You can imagine the weather in summer…It’s all hot…and humid makes it worse…Winter is dry and can be really cold…In extreme situations the temperature can go up to 40°C and down to -9°C…

HOW TO GO TO SUZHOU FROM SHANGHAI?

Suzhou is 30-35  minutes away from Shanghai by train.

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How to go to Suzhou from Shanghai?

You can either buy your ticket online (you may need to register your passport first), from one of the travel agencies or the ticket offices at the railway stations.

We’re gonna take the train from Shanghai South Railway Station. You can go to this railway station by taking the subway, Line 1.

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Taking line 1 to Shanghai South Railway Station

People seen in front of Shanghai South Railway Station

This is an interesting hair style and a different way to keep the sunglasses at the back of his head…

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Vote for the most interesting hair style…Nominee number 1

Are we hungry?

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A street vendor selling food

Here is Shanghai South Railway Station…

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Shanghai South Railway Station

Right after every transaction you can evaluate the performance of the person by using the machine in the picture below…

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Buying our tickets at Shanghai South Railway Station

Another interesting hair style…Love to see this color in China…

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Vote for the most interesting hair style…Nominee Number 2

Let’s have a look at the street fashion? Wearing black stockings with white shoes…Hmmm not for me, but anyway she and her daughter look cute…Umbrellas for sunny weather and wearing stockings with peep toe shoes are quite common in China…

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Let’s have a look at the street fashion in front of Shanghai South Railway Station

With your train ticket you can get free water…That’s cool!

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Getting our free water with our train tickets

Waiting for the platform door to be opened…

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The line in front of the platform door of our train at Shanghai South Railway Station

We’re going down to take our train…

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Our train to Suzhou

Here is our train…Clean and smells nice…

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Inside of our train to Suzhou

Look at this cutie! Nice shoes but need more years for that…Who didn’t do that? I remember that I did this a lot, more over I put on my mom’s scarves that she used to put on her shoulders and drew my own designs on them with lip sticks , ups…

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Little cutie trying her mom’s shoes

Finally we arrived….I love to see families travelling…

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The family travels with the kids

When you get off the train, you’ll see a lot of people asking you to give you a lift to wherever you want, of course charging more than the standard price taxis charge…So, bargain as hard as you can!

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Minivan and pirate taxis at Suzhou Railway Station

Here is the line for taxis…

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The long line for the taxis

We didn’t want to spent more time waiting in the line…Here is our minivan to the hotel…

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The minivan to our hotel

Here is the hotel…

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Our hotel in Suzhou

When you want to take the stairs, this isn’t the view you’re expecting…

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The situation of the stairs in the hotel

It is time to have lunch…But after seeing the dirty dishes and the kitchen…I am not hungry any more….

An interesting Chinese restaurant without waiters

An interesting Chinese restaurant without waiters

Should I try this one? Hmmm maybe not…I’ll listen to the warning “Do not eat the meat if you don’t know what meat it is!”

Another interesting hair color…

Vendors selling food and another interesting hair style...Nominee number 3

Vendors selling food and another interesting hair style…Nominee number 3

 

The first belly window seen in Suzhou…

Tropical fruits look so delicious!

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The vendor selling tropical fruits with a belly window

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Tropical fruits…

We should vote for the most interesting hair style…I’ll go with this one…Hilarious!

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Vote for the most interesting hair style…Nominee number 4

Scooters or bicycle phaetons…

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Scooters and bicycle phaetons

Let’s try the second one…

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Riding the bicycle phaeton

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Riding the bicycle phaeton

I am happy that I am not a pedestrian here right now…

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Better not to be a pedestrian at this crossroad

A classical bus stop…

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People waiting for the bus

We had to skip Suzhou Museum because of the long long long line…

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The line in front of Suzhou Museum

I love these lanterns…It looks like the ones in Grand Bazaar, Istanbul-Turkey…

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Amazing lanterns in Suzhou

A lion statue in front of the building…This was the smallest one…

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A lion statue

We are on our way to Humble Administrator’s Garden…It looks like it is going to be crowded…A lady is arguing with a police officer…

A man is taking her monkey out for a walk…Seriously where else can you see this rather than Asian countries?

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A day in Suzhou

China has tones of different teas and it is normal for  teapots to look like art pieces…Look at that! We’re talking about real art…Which one do you like?

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Traditional Chinese teapots

THE HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN (ZhuoZheng Garden)

Suzhou is famous for its classical gardens and The Humbe Administrator’s Garden is one of the most renowned and the biggest (covers 52,000 sq. meters) among them. We are literally standing on a place where listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides, not only in Suzhou but The Humble Administrator’s Garden is one of the four most famous gardens in China.

I am dazzled by how green the garden is…

The Humble Administrator's Garden in Suzhou

The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

Why it was named as The Humble Administrator’s Garden?

It was originally built in 1509 during the Ming Dynasty. At first, it was the private garden of  Wang Xianchen, a former  government administrator, so that he could do some gardening work after retirement like a humble man.

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

The grandpa and his grand daughter are enjoying the garden…

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

The pavilions, living rooms and halls in the garden are the representatives of the building styles in Ming Dynasty. The former resident houses in the garden can give you an idea about the traditional Suzhou houses.

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

There are three parts in the garden: Eastern, Middle and Western.

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

The Eastern part includes dense bamboo forests. This place literally gives you a great energy…

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

The Central part of the garden is unique. Its one third is covered with water. You can also see traditional living rooms and a lotus pool in this section.

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

Red carps in the lotus pool…

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

The Humble Administrator's Garden in Suzhou

The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

The Western section includes a pool where ducks were fed.

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

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The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou

Having seen The Humble Administrator’s Garden we’re off to Pingjiang Road.

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A vendor selling a type of flute

THE 800 YEAR OLD FAMOUS PINGJIAN ROAD

Pingjiang Road is the best preserved ancient water lane which is 1600 meters long and yes it is an 800 year old street. That’s why you cannot afford to miss Pingjiang Road and it is also 10 minutes away from The Humble Administrator’s Garden. Pingjiang Road which is covered in cobblestone, runs alongside with a canal. Along the canal, you can see old white local houses, trees dipping their branches in the water and little bridges. You can also take the paddle boats to have a tour on the canal…It is like the old version of Venice…

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The Venice of East, Suzhou

You can see many games on the street as well. Shoot the ballons get the tedy bear…

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Shoot the balloons and get the tedy bear

There are many vendors selling street-food,  tea houses, cafes, restaurants, jewelry stores, postcard shops and shops that sell local designers’ unique products…

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Pingjiang Road in Suzhou

Two ladies in traditional local outfit looking at a jewelry store.

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Pingjiang Road in Suzhou

A vendor selling street-food…My ears are ringing with the warning “Do not eat if you don’t know what meat it is!” and my stomache is also speaking out loud as I haven’t eaten much…

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Pingjiang Road in Suzhou

Tea houses and the little bridge…

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Pingjiang Road in Suzhou

This is one of the amazing ancient places you can ever see.

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Pingjiang Road in Suzhou

You can sit by the canal tasting food at stalls or people-watch while looking at the windows of stylish cafes.

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Pingjiang Road in Suzhou

This dog is hilarious! His owner is literally dragging him. Obviously the dog wants to stay with me but I’ll try to stay away from him.

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The hilarious dog in Pingjiang Road, Suzhou

An interesting statue in front of a cafe.

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The red statue in Pingjiang Road, Suzhou

TEMPLE OF THE TOWN GOD (Chenghuang Miao Temple )

Here is Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhuo. The father and the daughter in the picture showed me around in the temple for a while.

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

The big buddha in Chenghuang Miao Temple.

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

The hall of Chenghunag Miao Temple.

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

The bell and the drum in the temple used in special occasions.

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

China, especially Shanghai is a really safe place…Suzhou seems so too…

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

I love to photograph these candles…The flame on the candles represents the light of Buddha’s knowledge.

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

The buddha figures in the temple…

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

I love fireplaces and I won’t miss one when I see…An old fireplace in the temple…

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

Let’s see more of the temple…

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

The red room in the temple…

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

The third building in the temple…

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

The red lanterns in the temple…

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

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Chenghuang Miao Temple in Suzhou

The people seen at the bus stop and along the way

As we are on our way to the Tiger Hill..Here are the people seen at the bus stop…What a giant butterfly shaped balloon…I would literally blow it up when I was a kid while trying to figure out how to do it…

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A giant butterfly shaped balloon at the bus stop

Wearing pyjmas in public is quite common in China…Actually I did it once in Shanghai and I saw that it didn’t work for foreigners haha cause I did it not to be noticed but all I did was to stand out more as I run into almost all my friends and this is how our Pyjama Day emerged.

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Pyjamas gone public in Suzhou

People live in this building!

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The interesting building seen in Suzhou

What is the one thing that always happen when it rains? Traffic!

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The traffic in Suzhou

THE TIGER HILL

You know what they say?

‘It is a lifelong pity if having visited Suzhou you did not visit Tiger Hill.’

-Su Dongpu, a famous Song Dynasty poet

Having a history of over 2500 years, the Tiger Hill has had the reputation of one of the top sights in Suzhou and it is also in teh list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  The Tiger Hill covers 14,100 sq. meters and 36 meters in height.

According to the legend, Wu King Helu was buried on that hill, called then “the Hill Emerging from the Sea”. The legend goes that three days after his burial a white tiger appeared sitting on the hill and this is how the name was given to this hill.

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

The little boy is ready to visit the Tiger Hill on this rainy day…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

The candies sold in front of the Tiger Hill entrance as you may need energy while climbing up…

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A vendor selling candies at the Tiger Hill in Suzhou

All empty when it rains…

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Bicycle phaetons are empty when it rains

Rain doesn’t affect vendors selling food…

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Vendors selling food at the Tiger Hill in Suzhou

Do you remember what a lion statue means from Mystic Valleys of Xinchang-National Geopark? It makes the building or the place stronger…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

The little canal surrounding the Tiger Hill…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

The entrance of the Tiger Hill…Here you can see the Yunyan Temple Pagoda…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

It’s raining crazy and you’re gonna see me with my yellow umbrella in this part…My friends call it “How I Met Your Mother” umbrella…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

This is a perfect spot to read a book…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

Nice flowers…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

Here is the Broken Beam Temple…

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The Broken Beam Temple at the Tiger Hill in Suzhou

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The Broken Beam Temple at the Tiger Hill in Suzhou

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The Broken Beam Temple at the Tiger Hill in Suzhou

We’re starting to climb up…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

We’re getting close to the Thousand People/Men’s Rock.

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

The Thousand People/Men’s Rock

According to the legend it is believed that once you’re around it, you will feel stronger…Did I feel that? Not really…

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The Thousand People/Men’s Rock at the Tiger Hill

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The Thousand People/Men’s Rock at the Tiger Hill

A couple is walking under the heavy rain at the Tiger Hill…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou

The 53 Steps of Stone

Better to keep moving before the flood kicks in…It is possible if it continues to rain like that…

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The 53 Steps of Stone at the Tiger Hill

Hello to you too!

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The 53 Steps of Stone at the Tiger Hill

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The 53 Steps of Stone at the Tiger Hill

The Sword Pond

According to the legend and the Chinese characters written on the wall of the pond, there are 3000 swords buried under the pond. The Tomb of the Wu King Helu under the Sword Pond has remained an unsolved mystery for 2,500 years. 

The Sword Pond at the Tiger Hill

The Sword Pond at the Tiger Hill

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The Sword Pond at the Tiger Hill

The Stone Guanyin Temple

The Stone Guanyin Temple was built because of a dream of Mother Buddha- Guanyin- in 1074AD.

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The Stone Guanyin Temple at the Tiger Hill

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The Stone Guanyin Temple at the Tiger Hill

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The Stone Guanyin Temple at the Tiger Hill

THE YUNYAN TEMPLE PAGODA

At the top of the hill stands the great, archaic Yunyan Temple Pagoda known as the second leaning tower on earth, having a history of over 1000 years and serving as an emblem of the ancient city of Suzhou.

It is over 100 years older than the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy. So we are going to get to see the oldest leaning tower on earth.

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The Yunyan Temple Pagoda at the Tiger Hill, Suzhou

More than a thousand years old, it is the earliest, most magnificent and most exquisite pagoda of the Song Dynasty.

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The Yunyan Temple Pagoda at the Tiger Hill, Suzhou

An octagonal, seven-storey brick pagoda, 47.5 meters high, it has eaves and balconies at every level. The interior of the Yunyan Temple Pagoda is like a vertical tube with a winding corridor along the inside walls.

Can you believe that the only way people climb to upper storeys is to use movable ladders cause each level has floor slabs but no fixed staircases. That is literally hilarious!!!

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The Yunyan Temple Pagoda at the Tiger Hill, Suzhou

People are waiting the rain storm to pass…

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The Yunyan Temple Pagoda at the Tiger Hill, Suzhou

It’s better just to take a photo of it instead of sitting on it…

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The Yunyan Temple Pagoda at the Tiger Hill, Suzhou

Th rain cannot stop us to see the Yunyan Temple Pagoda…Umbrellas are on a great mission…

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The Yunyan Temple Pagoda at the Tiger Hill, Suzhou

The view from the top…As it is raining, all you can see is some buildings with dishwater sky, but I’ve been told that this is one of the magnificent spots to have a look at Suzhou when it is sunny…

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The Yunyan Temple Pagoda at the Tiger Hill, Suzhou

As we were going down the stairs, you can see that the ladies are working hard on buddha figures…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou, China

Looking at the pond from the middle of the 53 Steps of Stones…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou, China

Despite the rain, more people are coming…I told you, this is a must seen place…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou, China

Me with my yellow umbrella…You know why I bought a yellow one? Cause I want it to look bright, shiny and happy like the sun even though I use it on rainy days….and I bought it on the first rain storm in Shanghai…I am proud to tell you that this is the only umbrella I haven’t lost for a year…Hope it stays with me for a long time…

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou, China

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The Tiger Hill in Suzhou, China

My converses are now serving as a shoe pool…My feet are literally swimming in them…How great!

After seeing all the ancient places at the Tiger Hill, it is time to go and have early dinner…Walking in the back streets of Suzhou and looking for a clean cafe/restaurant to eat…”Clean” and “backstreet” sound like a big contradiction but we couldn’t notice it…Being hungry affects your judgements for sure…

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Walking in the back streets of Suzhou, China

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Walking in the back streets of Suzhou, China

Here you go, a traditional Chinese restaurant…

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A traditional Chinese restaurant in Suzhou, China

The interesting fish dish that I couldn’t even touch…I am gonna get the vegetable dish and tastes delicious actually…

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An interesting fish dish in a traditional Chinese restaurant in Suzhou, China

Walking towards the bathroom is a mistake…I got to see the things that left me with no apettite…

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A traditional Chinese restaurant in Suzhou, China

The bathroom…

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The bathroom of a traditional Chinese restaurant in Suzhou, China

Well I couldn’t eat much but better keep going…

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Streets of Suzhou, China

The statue along the way…

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Streets of Suzhou, China

Marketing activities with traditional outfits and the rabbit ears…Interesting combination…

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Streets of Suzhou, China

4+1 statues welcome you in front of the Suzhou Railway Station…

The statues in front of Suzhou Railway Station

The statues in front of Suzhou Railway Station

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The statues in front of Suzhou Railway Station

As trains are one of the most important transportation vehicles in China, the railway stations were built really big…I mean literally huge…

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Suzhou Railway Station, China

It was a mistake not buying the return ticket once we got to Suzhou cause now only 10.30pm is available and tickets with no seats…We’re gonna stand or sit on the floor…I have to go back to Shanghai anyway to catch my flight to HK  which is 5 hours later.

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Suzhou Railway Station

Looks like everyone is here! Now you see why the railway stations are huge…

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Suzhou Railway Station

You can find hot water in the railway stations…Here the lady is preparing her dinner by adding hot water and here you go: The chicken noddle soup…I think being really hungry makes me more interested and involved in this food preparation process…

Suzhou Railway Station

Suzhou Railway Station

Do you remember that trousers? This baby is really cute, you wanna sit next to him and hold him till the strong smell of his diaper makes you pass out…

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Suzhou Railway Station

THE CITY WALL OF SUZHOU

Chinese city walls were built to protect the cities and even towns. Most of the Chinese city walls have three parts: the wall, gate and tower…

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

The City Wall of Suzhou looks even better with the lights…

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

People are sitting on the stairs to watch the lights of the City Wall of Suzhou…

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

Chinese love to have their pictures taken with foreigners as you can remember from Peaceful Clouds, Yunhe Rice Terraces…As you know,now  it is my turn to ask him the same…

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

The lights are taking me away…I love the view!

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

People are dancing at the City Wall of Suzhou…

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

It’s time to have my pictures taken with the City Wall of Suzhou at the back…

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

I want to walk on the City Wall of Suzhou…Let’s go…The view along the way…

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The view along the way while walking towards the city wall of Suzhou, China

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The view along the way while walking towards the city wall of Suzhou, China

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The view along the way while walking towards the city wall of Suzhou, China

The first big dog I’ve seen in China…The picture is blurry cause I was running and trying to take his picture…But then I then felt something warm and sticky around my foot…When I looked down, I was literally in the middle of that dog’s huge poop…Nooooo! Well, I have to wash it at the pond…

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The first big dog I’ve seen in Suzhou- China, unfortunately not a nice memory…

The tower of the City Wall of Suzhou…

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

The view of the railway station from the tower of the City Wall of Suzhou…

Suzhou Railway Station

Suzhou Railway Station

The City Wall of Suzhou…

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The city wall of Suzhou, China

Lights look literally amazing…

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Suzhou view from the city wall of Suzhou

Washing my flip-flops and my foot at the pond is done…

I travelled with 5 of my friends and one of them,Naza, is showing the picture of the City Wall of Suzhou he drew…

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The drawing of the city wall of Suzhou, China

FINAL THOUGHTS ON SUZHOU

I’ll say… “What a great place Suzhou is!”…I’ll be coming back to visit more places in Suzhou for sure! When you’re in Shanghai, Suzhou is a must place to be seen!

Leave your comments and let us know what you think about Suzhou…See you in the next trip…

The admission fees, opening hours, bus route/map

Here are the details you need to know for the places mentioned above…

The Humble Administrator’s Garden

Admission Fee: CNY 90 (April 16 to October 30)
CNY 70 (October 31 to April 15)
Opening Hours: 07:00 to 17:30
Bus Route: take bus no. 40 or 313 and get off at Beiyuanlu Station

The Tiger Hill

Entrance Fee: CNY 80 (Apr.16 – Oct.30)
CNY 60 (Oct.31 – Apr.15)
Bus Route: take bus no. 32 or express line 3 and get off at Huqiubeimen (north gate of Tiger Hill)
The map for Pingjing Road:
pingjing road

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