Stuif's Adventures

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China July 2009 part II: Suzhou
We traveled from Hangzhou in about 2 hours to Suzhou. A very efficient and computerised bus station, frequent service and punctual departure.
In Suzhou we found accommodation in a Home Inn hotel, an affordable hotel chain in China. Within walking distance from the old city center.

Suzhou is a very old town, the center of the Wu culture. Famous for its classical gardens, which are now on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Such a classical garden is more an art form than a park. It is a harmonious combination of pavilions and halls with water, rock and vegetation. Artificial, but very beautiful.

First we visited the Taoist temple of Mystery, Xuanmiao Guan, in the middle of the town center. It was founded in the 3rd century but has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. Very attractive, busy with stalls, monks, visitors.

The Beisi Ta (North temple pagoda) is a landmark of the town, with its 76m high pagoda.
From there we walked to our first garden, the Humble Administrator's Garden (Zhuozheng Yuan), passing on our way the Suzhou Museum, designed by the famous architect IM Pei, a native of Suzhou. The Glass Pyramid at the Louvre is one of his works.

This Zhuozheng Yuan was disappointing, and not worth the money (RM 35 pp!). There was such a big crowd, that it was almost impossible to appreciate the beauty of the design.

The next day we visited the Pan Men complex with the Ruiguang Ta pagoda. The Pan Men (Coiled gate) is part of the old city wall, built in 514. There is also a water gate. And the most famous bridge of Suzhou is located here, the Wumen Qiao bridge.

The weather was not very good, but it added to the atmosphere of Suzhou with its characteristic white and grey houses.

In the afternoon we visited a much quieter garden, Ou Yuan, the Garden of Couple's Retreat. it was a real pleasure to walk around in this beautiful garden. It is located in a charming part of the old town, with many canals and bridges.

There are many more gardens, we decided to visit another, quiet one, near to our hotel. The Dark Blue Wave Pavilion, Canglang Ting. It is one of the oldest gardens of Suzhou, built in 1044. The Dark Middle Ages in Europe, it is impossible not to be impressed by the Chinese civilisation.
Fascinating door designs.

We had decided to spend the last few days of our trip in the "water village" of Tong Li. See part III

Characteristic for Suzhou ...

Canals, white and black houses

Delicious Hotpot dinner

Xuanmiao Guan temple

Oven to burn the fake money

Taoist service

Beautiful costumes

Large crowd of followers

Gods, gods, gods

Hit the bell and have good luck


Detail of the temple roof

Shops in the temple grounds

And street art

Lotus seed seller

Seller of cicadas!

We bought a "flute"

And another souvenir..:-)
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Chinese Chess

The Beisi Ta complex

Beisi Ta pagoda

Laughing Buddha

View from the pagoda

Suzhou Museum (IM Pei)

Museum entrance

A quiet spot

Entrance of the Zhuozheng Yuan

A huge crowd

Beautiful halls

A small pavillion

Perfect design, but too many people

Just a town house!

Basic restaurant, nice food

Ruiguang Ta

Detail of the pagoda

Climbing to the top

View from the pagoda

The main hall

The Pan Men complex

Always a combination of rock and water

The Pan Men gate

With its water gate

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The Wuman Qiao bridge

Suzhou, town of bridges

Modern or Old?

Another basic restaurant with tasty food

The quiet Ou Yan garden

Interior of a hall

Would not mind to work here

Or live here...:-)

The art of window design

Water, bridge, bamboo, rock

A quiet part of Suzhou

Picturesque street

House renovation

Suzhou tea shop

Even the bus stop has style!

Canglang Ting Pavilion

Main hall

Very decorative

Fascinating door design
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Water, rock, trees: beauty
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Even an artificial cave!

Perfection in every detail

lightlingmk2 wrote on Aug 16, 2009:
Wonderful holiday, Jan.

wrote on Aug 17, 2009:
Oh yes. With things like these, I'm proud to be Chinese. :))

Liz wrote on Aug 17, 2009:
What a wonderful part of China.

wrote on Aug 17, 2009:
now you have visited China, nice right?

Liz wrote on Aug 17, 2009:
Nice !

wrote on Aug 17, 2009:
Very pictureques. Pity about the umbrella.

wrote on Aug 17, 2009:
And China is thinking of filtering the Internet?

wrote on Aug 17, 2009:
I can almost imagine scholars in their robes strolling around here.

wrote on Aug 29, 2009:
It's really like I've seen in the movies!

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