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Lovely waterside architecture and famous classical gardens are the two main tourist attractions in Suzhou, the Chinese city which served as the ancient Wu kingdom's capital between the 12th and 4th centuries BC. In 1997, UNESCO placed Suzhou's classical gardens on their World Heritage list, but this city west of Shanghai also has a more modern side which is most noticeable in the Suzhou New District and Suzhou Industrial Park's factories.Don’t Miss
Central Suzhou's main boundary is the Weichang River, which contains a total of 12 canals that run north and south as well as nine canals running east and west throughout the city. This area is also where Suzhou's main tourist attractions are located, and the city's intricate canal network is best explored aboard a Renmin Bridge boat ride.
Of course, no Suzhou landmark is more famous than its classical gardens. This UNESCO World Heritage site includes the Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lingering Garden, the Garden of the Master of the Nets, the Lion Forest Garden, the Surging Wave Pavilion, and the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty. Scholar and poet Yu Yue's former residence is also part of this impressive collection of serene gardens.
Aside from the classical gardens, Suzhou's main attractions include China's biggest inner city lake, Suzhou Jinji. Legendary architect I M Pei designed the Suzhou Museum, but the city also features an opera museum and a silk museum complete with live silkworms. The Pan Men city gates, first erected about 2,500 years ago, include a combined land and water gate, an extensive garden filled with pavilions and ponds, and the Auspicious Light Pagoda.Restaurants and Bars
Light, delicate, and slightly sweet are the best ways to describe Suzhou's distinctive cuisine, which includes lots of shellfish, freshwater fish, and glutinous rice paste sweets. One signature dish, song shu gui yu, is a fish which slightly resembles a squirrel's tail. China's oldest restaurant, which has welcomed diners for over 250 years, is just one of many places to eat in Suzhou. Ping Jiang Road contains quite a few Western style coffee shops, while Suzhou's main nightlife district is Shiquan Street.Shopping
Several upscale Suzhou hotels will provide their guests with Chinese speaking personal assistants to help them navigate and bargain for the best prices on silk handicrafts, lanterns, jade carvings, mahogany furniture, snuff bottles, freshwater pearls, sandalwood fans, and other locally produced souvenirs. Modern Plaza, InCity Plaza, and Times Square are some of Suzhou's most modern shopping centres.