Famous Suzhou Gardens

Humble Administrator's garden in Suzhou China
Humble Administrator's Garden

Experience the pristine beauty and divine tranquility of Suzhou’s beautifully manicured classical gardens — nine of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites and two that are considered China’s most famous (Lingering Garden and Humble Administrator’s Garden). Thanks to impeccable preservation, this graceful place has seemingly stood still for thousands of years.

Classical Chinese garden design aims to create a flawless miniature landscape and emphasize the profound harmony between man and nature — and Suzhou’s gardens are regarded as masterpieces of the genre. Though these elaborate, private gardens owned by the rich and royal date back to the sixth century B.C., it wasn’t until the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties that Suzhou’s garden art reached its zenith.

Today, guests are welcome to visit the gardens and wander the paths, enjoying fragrant flora, rippling ponds and quiet pavilions along the way. Evoke the countryside and commune with nature, just like the people of Suzhou did so long ago. You, too, will discover why Suzhou’s classical gardens give merit to the moniker, “Heaven on Earth.”

Explore the Beauty of Suzhou Gardens

Humble Administrator's garden in Suzhou China

Humble Administrator's Garden

Humble Administrator’s Garden is Suzhou’s largest garden and considered the archetype of classical garden design.

Lingering Garden in Suzhou China

Lingering Garden

Lingering Garden is famous for its striking architecture and corridor adorned in ancient inlaid calligraphy.

Master of Nets Garden in Suzhou China

Master of Nets Garden

Suzhou’s smallest garden, Master of the Nets, boasts an intricate design and creates the illusion of a much larger space.

Lion Grove Garden in Suzhou China

Lion Grove Garden

Lion Grove Garden’s whimsical rock formations and imposing manmade mountains are the garden’s biggest draws.

Huanxiu Mountain Villa in Suzhou China

Mountain Villa

Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty captivates its audience with its soaring mountains and cliffs, deep caverns, stone houses and more.

Couple’s Retreat Garden in Suzhou China

Couple’s Retreat Garden

Fall in love with the Couple’s Retreat Garden, a romantic oasis sandwiched between three restful canals and a bevy of dramatic pavilions and verdant landscaping.

Canglang Pavilion

Canglang Pavilion

A flawless union of architecture and nature, Canglang Pavilion is the oldest garden in Suzhou and home to a mesmerizing forest of weeping willows, viridian bamboo and other ancient trees.

The Garden of Cultivation

The Garden of Cultivation, with its mist-cloaked hills, deep springs and placid pools, is simpler than the others — yet its beauty is commanding.

Retreat and Reflection Garden

Located in the picturesque water town of Tongli, the Retreat and Reflection Garden is notorious for its pavilions that seemingly float atop the pond’s peaceful surface.

Featured Tour Packages

13-Days : Gardens, Culture, History, People, and Nature

13-Days : Gardens, Culture, History, People, and Nature

Day 11 - 13 : You will visit the Urban Planning Exhibition and Shanghai Museum, a world-class museum with a collection of bronze, jade, pottery, ceramics, paintings, calligraphy, old coins, and furniture. Tour the Lingering Garden (Liuyuan) and Tiger Hill Pagoda (Huqiu Shan) including the Bonsai (Panji) Nursery on the grounds of Wanjing Villa. After lunch visit the Master of the Nets Garden (Wangshi Yuan) and Blue Wave Pavilion (Canlang Ting).

Book it
10-Days : Idyllic Water Towns

10-Days : Idyllic Water Towns

Day 7 - 8 : Garden art is one of the region’s most famous cultural expressions, and Suzhou is home to its greatest gardens. Here the Chinese literatis have integrated architecture, water and rock, and painting into a unified spiritual expression.

Book it
11-Days : Enchanting China

11-Days : Enchanting China

Day 9 - 10: Suzhou, which dates back to 514 BC, is sometimes called the "Venice of the East". And visit Shan Tang Street, which has always been regarded as the first name of Suzhou ancient streets. It has a long history of about 1,100 years, its layout and architecture are the best to represent the characteristics of Suzhou's old alleys, and it has connections to many ancient Chinese celebrities and anecdotes.

Book it

Expert Tips:

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.

Traveling with children? Don't miss the Suzhou Amusement Park at Junji Lake with zipline ride, a dancing water fountain show on weekends and one of the world's tallest Ferris Wheels. The 60 cabins carrying a total of 300 passengers take 20 minutes per rotation, providing great views of the lake and the Suzhou skyline.

Currency in Suzhou, and throughout China, is abbreviated as CNY for Chinese Yen or as RMB for Renminbi. Along with 13 other major currencies, US dollars can be exchanged at all the outlets of the state banks of China at the same rate. Bring a passport to make any transaction.

Known as the "Silk Capital of the World", those keen to see silkworms in action can be guided through the process from mulberry leaves to finished product at Suzhou No. 1 Silk Mill. The region's temperate, subtropical zone that's ideal for deciduous mulberry trees has supported 5,000 years of silk cultivation.

Picturesque canals, stone bridges, temples, gardens and pagodas make the ancient city of Suzhou one of China's top tourism destinations. Calligraphy carved onto Tiger Hill rocks indicate that it has attracted visitors for thousands of years. A Song Dynasty poet, Su Shi, said, "It is a lifelong pity if having visited Suzhou you did not visit Tiger Hill."

In Suzhou, the regional Chinese language is called Wu, the subgroup is called Taihu, and the local dialect, one of nine, is known as Suzhounese, considered one of the most elegant, flowing in all of China. Most people are bilingual in Mandarin used in schools, because Suzhounese is not mutually intelligible with either Mandarin or Cantonese.

Atop Tiger Hill, the Yunyan Pagoda, nicknamed the Leaning Tower of China, stands as a symbol of Suzhou. Completed during the Song Dynasty in the year 961, the 1,000-year-old pagoda is taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa and has become a symbol of Suzhou. The 3-degree tilt means that since 2010, visitors are no longer permitted entry.

Visit an authentic Buddhist monastery and temple just 3 miles west Suzhou old town. The temple has been well-known since the Tang Dynasty of the 7th and 8th centuries. Take bus No. 3, 6, 9, 17, 21, 31, 301 or Y3 and get off at Fengqaio Station.

Suzhou Railway Station, one of China's busiest, dates back to 1906. Now throughly modernized, the fast train connection with a design speed of 217 miles per hour covers the 52 miles to Shanghai in a journey of only a 24 minutes.

One of the best ways to tour the "Venice of the East" is from a front row seat on a hand-steered canal boat. Afterwards, stop into 130-year-old Pin Von Teahouse for exotic teas served in private booths on the second floor. It overlooks Pingjiang Lu, an 800-year-old lively pedestrian street, one of China's "National Historic and Cultural Streets."