24 August 2016.
This was the day that I left the beautiful Wuzhen and headed to Suzhou, which is supposed to be another beautiful city. There is a Chinese saying that goes: 上有天堂下有苏杭, meaning there is heaven up above but there is Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth. It’s comparing heaven with these 2 places in China.
I checked out from the Inn at 8am and arranged with the Inn owner to send me to Wuzhen Bus Station for a bus ride to Suzhou Bus Station (it happens that it is also Suzhou Train Station). The bus ride was about 2 hours plus and I reached Suzhou Bus Station (North) around 11am. As I stepped out into the open space in the Bus station, I was approached by the local tour agent and offered me a ride to the hotel that I have booked. I hesitated for a while but decided to take the risk. I was then picked up by a van with other local tourists. In the van, the driver persuaded the local tourists to take up their local tour offers that cost $120 RMB for a few sight seeing places. They took up the offer, so did I (stupidly… haha!).
I reached Soul Hotel at 11 plus and was happy to see that the hotel looked better than I expected. As I was early and the check in time was supposed to be 2pm, I tried my luck and was pleasantly surprised by the offer made by the hotel. The room that I have booked was not ready and hence they have offered me a free upgrade to executive suite and of course, I would not deny such an offer.
After settling down in the hotel, I went for quick bite before meeting up with the local tour agent for the day’s activities. The local tour was supposed to bring us to a few places – Lingering Garden, Boat Ride in one of the river, Huqiu Mountain Scenic Spot, Hanshan Temple. It was not long after I went to the first place (Lingering Garden) that I realised all the tourists have been conned. The itinerary changed drastically and we ended up only with a boat ride, a “shopping” spree at the Silk house, the famous Tang Bo Hu’s residence and Shan Tang old street.
Therefore, I would advise travellers not to believe in what the local tour agent’s promises, as we did not go to the places that we expected. Instead, we spent 2 hours at the Silk house which is just a shopping activity!
Shown below are the pictures I’ve taken in the few places that I have been to (except the Silk house).
Last snap shots of the place I stay in Wuzhen
Pictures of streets in Suzhou
Lingering Garden (留园)
The boat ride was a scam as there was nothing to see but I did capture a couple of shots.
The famous Tang Bo Hu’s residence (唐寅园)
In Tang Bo Hu’s residence, I spent $390 RMB for poem that was composed from my Chinese name. It was then written by a famous Chinese Calligrapher and Poet.
The poem reads like this:
Summary of my route:
Arrange with Inn owner to bring me to Wuzhen Bus Station
Take Express Bus to Suzhou Bus Station (North)
Take van to Hotel Soul (you can easily grab a cab to the hotel with just $22 RMB)
Travel with local tours to Lingering Garden, Boat Ride, Silk House, Tang Bo Hu’s residence and finally Shan Tang old street