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How to Spend 1 Day in Suzhou

How to Spend 1 Day in Suzhou

Located west of Shanghai, the pretty city of Suzhou offers a wealth of cultural refinement and far fewer crowds. Known as the Venice of the East thanks to its network of canals, the city is also celebrated for its UNESCO-designated classical gardens. Discover its key highlights all in one day—here’s how.

Morning: Visit UNESCO-Listed Gardens

Whether you’re based in Suzhou or have taken a speedy bullet train in from Shanghai, enjoy a picture-perfect introduction to the heritage city when you venture to one (or several) of its masterfully sculpted, UNESCO-listed classical gardens. The Humble Administrator’s Garden is the largest in the city and dates to the 16th century, while the Master of Nets Garden blends pretty ponds, architectural features, and charming bridges. Be sure to bring your camera with you to capture the scenery.

Afternoon: A Relaxing Canal Cruise

Break for a traditional lunch—Suzhou’s cuisine is known for its seafood dishes, as well as pan-fried dumplings and other tempting nibbles—before continuing your excursions around town. It’s no accident that Suzhou is often described as the Venice of the East: its waterways and steep bridges resemble those in the northern Italian city, and it was even visited by Marco Polo. Hop aboard a small boat and float along the Grand Canal, spying heritage architecture as you go—it’s the best way to immerse yourself in Suzhou’s scenery.

Evening: A Night at the (Chinese) Opera

Millennia-old Suzhou is renowned for its cultural riches, so an excursion to the opera is a fitting way to wind down your day in town. Kunqu opera—one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera, dating to the 16th century—is still performed regularly in Suzhou. Once the sun goes down, venture to a local theater and enjoy the unique blend of music, singing, drama, and elaborate costumes.

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3 Tours and Activities

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The UNESCO Gardens of Suzhou

The UNESCO Gardens of Suzhou

Suzhou is renowned for its beautiful, classical gardens—and on this private, half-day tour, you’ll enjoy a seamless way of discovering two of them. Depart in the morning from your Suzhou hotel, and travel in a comfortable vehicle. You’ll visit the Master of Nets Garden and the Humble Administrator’s Garden: both are UNESCO World Heritage sites. As you go, explore in the fresh air and learn about the gardens’ history and harmonious designs.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$142.90
Price varies by group size
From
$142.90
Price varies by group size

Classic Suzhou Tour with Hotel or Railway Station Pickup

Classic Suzhou Tour with Hotel or Railway Station Pickup

Travelers have praised Suzhou’s elegant gardens and ancient town for centuries. Follow in their footsteps without the indignities of negotiating taxis on this private guided door-to-door tour. Explore Tiger Hill, ride a boat along the river, visit the Lingering Garden and Hanshan Temple, and learn how to spin silk at the Suzhou Silk Museum. Along the way, feast on a local restaurant lunch.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$213.09
Price varies by group size
From
$213.09
Price varies by group size

Private Suzhou Leisure Day Tour with Kunqu Opera Show

Private Suzhou Leisure Day Tour with Kunqu Opera Show

An old Chinese saying compares Suzhou to heaven on earth. Discover why on this private tour, with a guide to explain the culture and round-trip transfers from the train station or your hotel. Tour two of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage–listed gardens; stroll historic Pingjiang Road; take in a kunqu opera show at a teahouse; and learn how silk made this historic city great at Suzhou No. 1 Silk Mill.
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$183.00
Price varies by group size
From
$183.00
Price varies by group size