If you’re travelling to China, apart from visiting major cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, consider relatively less busy but equally charming cities like Suzhou and Hangzhou.
Each with its own unique appeal and cultural significance, Suzhou and Hangzhou are known for their picturesque landscapes, historical heritage, and contributions to Chinese art, literature, and economy.
Suzhou, located in the southeastern Jiangsu Province, is often referred to as the “Venice of the East” due to its intricate network of canals, stunning classical gardens, and classical architecture. It also has a rich history of silk production and is famous for its high-quality silk products.
On the other hand, Hangzhou, located in Zhejiang Province (to the south of Jiangsu Province), is often described as a paradise on Earth, thanks to its scenic landscapes like the famous West Lake and rich cultural history.
What are Hangzhou and Suzhou known for?
Specifically, Hangzhou is known for producing Longjing (Dragon Well) tea, one of China's most renowned green teas. It is also home to several historical temples and pagodas, including Lingyin Temple and Leifeng Pagoda, which offer insights into Chinese Buddhism and architecture.
Both Suzhou and Hangzhou offer a balance between historical significance and modern development. They provide travellers with a chance to experience China’s traditional culture while also enjoying the comforts of modern amenities.
Whether you're interested in gardens, waterways, tea culture, or historical sites, both cities have much to offer to those seeking to explore the beauty and depth of Chinese culture. Here are some things you can do in Suzhou and Hangzhou, which are only about two hours apart by train.
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN SUZHOU
1. Visit classical gardens
Explore the exquisite classical gardens of Suzhou, such as the Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lingering Garden, and the Garden of the Master of the Nets. These gardens are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and showcase traditional Chinese garden design.
Lingering Garden Ticket in Suzhou
2. Admire the waterways
Get a unique perspective of the city’s layout and architecture through the ancient canals of Suzhou.
Suzhou Highlights Half Day Biking Tour
Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal Hangzhou Scenic Area
3. Explore water towns
Take a day trip to nearby water towns like Zhouzhuang, Tongli, or Wuzhen to experience the charm of traditional waterway life, with winding canals and well-preserved architecture.
Luzhi & Jinxi Water Towns Biking Tour from Suzhou
Jinxi Ancient Town Attractions Combo Ticket
4. Appreciate silk culture
Visit a silk factory or museum to learn about Suzhou’s historic silk production and witness the silk-making process.
Suzhou Classic Full Day Biking Tour
5. Explore historical sites
Visit the Panmen Gate, an ancient city gate with historical significance, and the Hanshan Temple with its iconic pagoda.
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN HANGZHOU
6. Marvel at West Lake
Spend time around the stunning West Lake, taking leisurely walks, renting boats, or simply enjoying the serene beauty that has inspired poets and artists for centuries.
Impression West Lake (Enduring Memories of Hangzhou) Show Ticket
7. Visit Lingyin Temple
Explore Lingyin Temple, one of China’s most famous Buddhist temples, known for its intricate carvings, ancient statues, and serene atmosphere.
Hangzhou Lingyin Feilai Peak Scenic Spot Ticket
8. Experience tea culture
Visit a Longjing tea plantation to learn about tea cultivation and have a taste of the world-renowned Longjing tea. You can also enjoy tea ceremonies in various tea houses.
9. Climb Leifeng Pagoda
Ascend Leifeng Pagoda for panoramic views of West Lake and the surrounding area. The pagoda has historical significance and offers an impressive vantage point.
10. Stroll along Hefang Street
Wander down Hefang Street, a historic street filled with shops selling local crafts, snacks, and traditional Chinese souvenirs.
11. Explore Xixi National Wetland Park
Discover the natural beauty of Hangzhou by visiting the Xixi National Wetland Park, where you can explore waterways, lush vegetation, and traditional architecture.
12. Visit Qinghefang Ancient Street
Experience the charm of a traditional Chinese street with Qing dynasty architecture, shops, and local snacks.
13. Enjoy the beautiful landscape of Qiandao Lake
With over a thousand forested islands dotting its surface, Qiandao Lake is a breathtaking man-made reservoir known for its stunning emerald waters and submerged ancient villages.
Qiandao Lake (Central Lake District) Ticket Hangzhou
Qiandao Lake Lakers Kayak Club
14. Learn about beer brewing at the Qiandaohu Beer Museum
Explore interactive exhibits, learn about brewing techniques, and enjoy tastings of locally crafted beers at the Qiandaohu Beer Museum.
Thousand Island Lake Beer Museum
15. Heal your body and mind at Tuankou Hot Spring
Renowned for its healing mineral-rich waters and serene ambience, Tuankou Hot Spring offers a rejuvenating escape from urban life. Surrounded by lush greenery, it provides a perfect setting for relaxation, wellness and a soothing retreat.
Tickets for Zhong'an Radon Hot Springs in Tuankou
16. Take a dip at Hangzhou Water Park
With a range of water attractions including pools, slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools, Hangzhou Water Park provides a fun and relaxing environment to escape from the heat and make lasting memories.
Hangzhou Langlang Langshui Park Ticket
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