China Trip Part 2 – Suzhou Part 1

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

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Pictures of streets in Suzhou

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Lingering Garden (留园)

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The boat ride was a scam as there was nothing to see but I did capture a couple of shots.

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The famous Tang Bo Hu’s residence (唐寅园)

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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.

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The poem reads like this:

林展葳蕤气象兴

顺势拓展事竟成

源入江海容万物

宏图大展任纵横
Below are pictures of Shan Tang old street (山塘街)

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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

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