AsiaChinaSuzhou

Suzhou (苏州) and Tiger Hill (虎丘山)

Suzhou Travel Blog

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Canal Near Tiger Hill
This weekend, I went on a trip to Suzhou with a couple of coworkers.  We took the hard-sleeper Z train from Beijing.  I haven't taken hard sleeper for about a year, and this train had some big improvements in the that class.  Before, hard-sleeper  class was mostly open, with no wall between the compartment and the aisle.  Also, in previous hard-sleepers, the luggage could only be stowed in a rack over the aisle, making it prone to theft from anyone walking down the aisle.  In the train I took this time, the arrangement was more like in a soft-sleeper.  There is a barrier separating the aisle, and the luggage can be stored overhead inside of the compartment, making it much more secure.

We booked a triple room in Guanqian Hotel, right in the center of Suzou.
Pagoda at Tiger Hill
  It was a pretty good deal at 200RMB.  Suzhou is not an easy city to get a taxi in.  At the train station, there is a long line for a taxi.  Our driver seemed pretty annoyed that we weren't going far enough to justify the time he spent waiting in line at the train station.  He almost took it out on a pedestrian by nearly running her over and then cursing at her out the window!  In the center, it's somewhat easier to get a taxi, but seems to depend on the time of day.

We spent the first day visiting Tiger Hill, the nearby canal city Zhouzhuang (Venice of China), and enjoying the walking streets in the center of Suzhou.  Tiger Hill came highly recommended by some of our Chinese coworkers, but we came away feeling disappointed.  The main attraction is a pagoda at the top of the hill.  Climbing the pagoda is off limits since it is starting to lean over like the tower of pisa.

After visiting Tiger Hill, we found a taxi and went to the main bus station about 1km east of the train station.  There we got tickets to Zhouzhuang.  The bus tickets to Zhouzhuang cannot be purchased at the normal ticket windows.  Instead, go all the way to the office at the east side of the building.  The bus ticket includes an entry ticket for the special sights in Zhouzhuang.  I think there are about 10 and seeing them all will take you most of the day.
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Canal Near Tiger Hill
Canal Near Tiger Hill
Pagoda at Tiger Hill
Pagoda at Tiger Hill
Suzhou
photo by: sylviandavid