Transportation in the City
Despite its old-world charm and historic eminence, Suzhou is one of the most developed cities in all of China. Modern transportation systems have been implemented to support tourists and locals alike. Here are some fast and easy ways to get around Suzhou.
Traveling by train can be a quick and effective way to get from point A to point B in no time. Suzhou Rail Transit (SRT) provides two metro lines ideal for visiting local attractions, while Suzhou’s four main transit stations provide connections to major cities, including Shanghai, Beijing and Nanjing.
Metro — Use Metro lines 1 and 2 for traveling within Suzhou. Metro lines 3, 4 and 5 are under construction and are expected to be completed between 2015 and 2020. Depending on the distance, ticket prices range from ¥2 to ¥6.
Suzhou Rail Transit — Line 1
Direction: Runs east-west from Mudu Station (western Suzhou) to Zhongnan Jie Station (Suzhou Industrial Park/SIP)
Local Stops: Suzhou Amusement Land, Suzhou International Expo Center in Suzhou Industrial Park/SIP
Number of Stations: 24
Suzhou Rail Transit — Line 2
Direction: Runs north-south from Suzhou North Railway Station (north Xiangcheng District) to Baodaiqiao South Station (Wuzhong District)
Local Stops: Suzhou Railway Station, Suzhou North Railway Station
Number of Stations: 22
Intercity Stations — Suzhou’s four conveniently located train stations are ideal for day trips and best used for city-to-city travel. Although some lines make local stops within Suzhou, many trains provide high-speed service perfect for quick connections to neighboring cities. Fares vary for each destination, and visitors must purchase their tickets from the railway station counter or through ticket offices throughout the city.
Travel Tip — If traveling during a Chinese holiday or festival, purchase your ticket well in advance.
Suzhou Railway Station
Line: Shanghai–Nanjing Main Line
Location: 27 Chezhan Road, Gusu, Suzhou (Gusu District)
Suzhou North Railway Station
Line: Beijing-Shanghai (Jinghu) High-Speed Railway
Location: Fulin Road, Xiangcheng District (northwest Suzhou)
Suzhou Yuanqu (Industrial Park) Railway Station
Line: Nanjing–Shanghai Main Line
Location: Zhihe West Road, Suzhou Industrial Park
Suzhou Xinqu (New Distict) Railway Station
Line: On the Nanjing–Shanghai Main Line, but used for high-speed trains to/from Beijing only
Location: Hushuguan Town, Suzhou New Zone 215004
Suzhou buses are both convenient and affordable. Clearly labeled with a “Y” for tourist routes, most fares are as little as ¥2 and can take you to all of Suzhou’s most popular attractions. All mentioned buses depart from the Suzhou Railway Station (27 Chezhan Road, Gusu).
Travel Tip — Be sure to have exact change before hopping aboard, and know that bus route information is printed in Chinese (not English).
Bus Route Y1
Runs the length of Renmin Lu
Time: 5:15 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Attractions: Liuyuan Garden, Shizilin Garden, Zhuozhengyuan Garden, Suzhou Museum, Beita Temple
Bus Route Y2
Runs along Shi Quan Jie from Tiger Hill to Panmen Gate
Time: 5:45 a.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Attractions: Shizilin Garden, Zhuozhengyuan Garden, Suzhou Museum, Wangshiyuan Garden, Panmen Scenic Area; Tang Yin’s former residence
Bus Route Y3
Runs from Suzhou Railway Station to Golden Hill Gas Factory
Time: 5:05 a.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Attractions: Suzhou Train Station, Suzhou Amusement Park
Bus Route Y4
Runs the length of Renmin Lu
Time: 5 a.m. – 9:10 p.m.
Attractions: Silk Museum, Beisi Pagoda, Yiyuan Garden, Canglang Pavilion, Tang Yin’s former residence
Bus Route Y5
Runs along the western and eastern edges of Suzhou
Time: 6 a.m. – 10:15 p.m.
Attractions: Suzhou Train Station, Shizilin Garden, Zhuozhengyuan Garden, Suzhou Museum, Panmen Scenic Area
With a fleet of more than 4,000 cabs, taxis are a common way to get around Suzhou. Similar to the U.S. and Canada, cabs can sometimes be hard to hail during peak travel time, rain-soaked weather and on holidays. A taxi is available if you see the illuminated Chinese characters “空车” or the dash light is illuminated in green.
Fares are inexpensive, starting at just ¥10. Using meters, rates increase based on the total mileage/kilometers, time of day and traffic.
Travel Tip — Know your destination’s address. Many drivers don’t speak English, so write down the address (in Chinese) and hand it to the driver.
A favorite among visitors and locals alike, cycling through Suzhou is both a scenic and speedy mode of transportation. Avoid busy thoroughfares and ride along charming back roads, winding canals and budding gardens.
Rent a bike from a local shop for roughly ¥25 per day. Or, if you’re staying at a hostel in Suzhou, ask the concierge if they have any bikes for rent.
Travel Tip — Check your seat, brakes and tires before touring the historic city of Suzhou.
See the same sights as a cyclist without ever putting foot on a pedal. Pedicabs are perfect for travelers who want to see the sights — they are even small enough to travel down Suzhou’s historic, narrow streets.
Pedicabs are a great alternative to taxis — and are often less expensive, starting at just ¥5. Due to summer heat, rates in warm-weather months tend to be higher.
Travel Tip — Negotiate and confirm the price before hopping in; drivers have been known to price-gouge after the trip concludes.
Humble Administrator's Garden is one of China's finest, the centerpiece of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that comprises nine classical Suzhou gardens. Visitors during spring and summer may attend the azalea or lotus festival. Adjacent, the Suzhou Museum is the latest masterpiece of China's most famous architect, I.M. Pei. For transportation, take tourist buses No.1, 2 or 5. next tip>