Nine ancient gardens in Suzhou were listed as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO between 1997 and 2000. The nine gardens are Humble Administrator Garden, Lingering Garden, Master-of-Nets Garden, Mountain Village with Embracing Beauty, Canglang Pavilion, Lion Grove, Tuisi Garden, Ouyuan Garden and Yipu Garden.
It is not necessary to visit all the nine gardens even if you are one of the craziest fans of gardens. Normally, two days are enough to cover the highlights in Suzhou at a relatively relaxing pace.
Open Hours 9:00-17:00, closed at Monday. Entrance Fee: Free. Recommended Time for Stay: 30 minutes.
Initially built in 1960 and rebuilt in 1999, the Suzhou Museum is the best place to learn the history of Suzhou. Over 40,000 ancient relics are being exhibited in the museum. Besides, the small garden in the museum shows you the culture of Suzhou Garden.
Open Hours: 7:30-17:30. Entrance Fee: 70 RMB. Recommended Time for Stay: 2.5 hours.
The garden is only 600 meters away from the Suzhou Museum, so you take a stroll from the museum to the garden. Covering an area of 5.2 hectares, the Humble Administrator Garden is the largest garden in Suzhou, so it is worth to spend 2.5 hours to see the highlights in the garden. The entrance to the garden is narrow, but when you go through the entrance, a large Arcadia will goes into your sight. The countless pools are the most attractive parts in the garden.
You can take bus 2 or tourism 1 from the Humble Administrator Garden to the Guanqian Street. Get on at Suzhou Museum stop and get off at Chayuanchang stop, and then walk 1.3 kilometers to the street. You might be tired after walking for over 3 hours in the Suzhou Museum and the Humble Administrator Garden, so you may want to spend around 15 RMB taking a taxi to the Guanqian Street.
The noodles, pan-fried buns and local desserts are must-eat Suzhou foods. The recommended restaurants on the street are 老苏州大客堂 (Guest Hall of Old Suzhou) for noodles and buns, 松鹤楼菜馆 (Crane Pavilion Restaurant) for noodles and fishes and 桃花源记 (Peach Blossom Restaurant) for dessert and dumplings.
Open Hours: 9:30 to 16:30 between March 1st and October 15th, 10:30 to 16:00 between October 16th and the end of next February. Entrance Fee: 40 RMB. Recommended Time for Stay: 1.5 hours.
After lunch, you can take bus 301 or 305 from the Guanqian Street to the Lion Grove. Get on at the Chayuanchang stop and get off at the South Lion Grove stop. The grove was initially built by a few Buddhist monks in 1342 AD. Teaching scriptures is also called lion’s roar in Buddhism and the rocks in the grove look like lions, so the grove was named Lion Grove. Lots of tourists visit the grove not only for garden views but also for learning Buddhism.
It takes only 30 minutes to walk from the Lion Grove to the Pingjiang Road. With a history of over 800 years, the Pingjiang Road is one of the best places to learn the ancient culture of Suzhou. It is suggested to have supper on the street. Both Chinese and Western restaurants are available on the road.
If you want to extend your tour to night, the Moon Light Port is a good choice. After your supper on the Pingjiang Road, you can go to the port by taking subway line 1 from Xiangmen Station and getting off at Culture Expo Center Station. There are lots of bars beside the port, where you can refresh yourself by admiring the view of Jinji Lake.
Open Hours: 7:00 – 17:30. Entrance Fee: 40 RMB. Recommended time for stay: 1 hour.
The Master-of-Nets Garden is one of the smallest gardens in Suzhou, meanwhile it is the most exquisite garden in Suzhou. You can see art students drawing everywhere in the Garden. If you want to enjoy the garden view without walking too much, the Master-of-Nets Garden is your first choice.
The street is accessible by taking bus 501 or 204 from North Master-of-Net Garden stop to the Shangtang Street stop. The 360-meter long old street enjoys a reputation of the window of Suzhou. If you don’t have enough time to visit every part Suzhou, you can see a miniature one on this street. The restaurants on the street offer you the authentic local foods for lunch.
There is recommended attractions for afternoon. You may want to buy some souvenirs. Please remember that the souvenirs in the shopping malls in Suzhou are much cheaper than the shops around the tourist attractions. Or you may want to go back to the some of the attractions you have visited if some highlights are missed.Two-Day Suzhou Garden Tour from $289.