Suzhou Photo Gallery

At the end of Ping Jiang Lu is a big modern street heading east towards the new business district.

The Twin Pagodas are 7 storeys tall each and are believed to date back a 1000 years. You can't climb the towers, so the admission fee is to only enjoy the small gardens that wrap around them. A huge wall makes them almost invisible from the outside.

My main objective for Suzhou was to visit the gardens. I arrived at the Temple of Mystery and pondered whether the 10 yuan admission would be good value for money since it was just one building that didnít look particularly interesting or different from other Chinese temples. In the end, I opted to look from the outside and walked around the market street that surrounds the temple, which now sells mostly tourist gadgets.

The Lingering Garden also has rock formations to mimick artificial mountains, but on a much smaller scale than Lionís Grove. Perhaps it was later in the afternoon and the tour groups have left Suzhou already, so I got some more peace and tranquility that rightfully belongs to any garden.

With tired feet, I headed to the bus stop and searched for a route that would take me to the Blue Wave Pavilion further down the main thoroughfare. It was a quick trip but the 2 yuan was well spent. The Blue Wave Pavilion is the oldest existing garden in the city, dating back to the Song Dynasty some 900 years ago. The design is simple, with lots of greenery to shade the paths.

Ruigang Ta is a 37m-high pagoda in the southwestern part of the old city. With a steep admission of 40 yuan plus 6 more to ascend, I opted not to get ripped off. I was quite satisfied with the views earlier that day from the North Temple Pagoda.

Nearby, the city walls are still visible fronting the canal that surrounds the old city. However, plenty of construction is now happening on the other side of the bank, which renders Pan Men, which was once a water gate and fortress, inaccessible.

It was a 30 minute bus ride from just outside the southern end of the old city back to the main railway station. I had just enough time to find my bearings for my 1820 train back to Shanghai. It was not easy to find my train, as there were 2 departure floors and the main signboard apparently only showed departures on the first floor, while 2nd floor departures were displayed on small monitors off to the side.

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