Best Things to Explore in Suzhou: Top 10 Classical Gardens

Outgrowing its original function dedicated to providing a tranquil and meditative atmosphere for ancient Taoist poets, classical Chinese gardens later were much favored by rich families and designed as their private gardens in the Song and Ming dynasties.

There are nearly a hundred classical gardens in Suzhou – a heavenly city on earth. Ten of them are known among the best in China, and form a big draw for travelers and expats in Suzhou.

#1 Humble Administrator’s Garden

The biggest one in Suzhou, and queen of classical Chinese gardens, it is the prototype of Daguan Garden of “A Dream in Red Mansions”, one of the four great novels in ancient China. Here visitors can also watch the graceful Kun Opera.

Suzhou Classical garden

#2 Lingering Garden

One of China’s four classical gardens (along with Humble Administrator’s Garden, Summer Palace and Chengde Mountain Resort), Lingering Garden features 700-meter-long undulating corridors that connect the archways, pavilions, ponds and artificial hills.

top Chinese classical gardens

#3 Lion Grove

Built in 14th Century, Lion Grove is quite small but shows subtle sophistication in the layout.

Suzhou highlights tour

#4 Garden of Net Master

Another representative works of classical Chinese gardens, Garden of Net Master was built in 1174, and was home to many ancient scholars and litterateurs.

Suzhou classical garden tours

#5 Canglang Pavilion

The oldest classical garden in Suzhou, it was built in 1044 during North Song Dynasty.

 

#6 Couple’s Retreat Garden

The special yellowstone rockery, classical courtyards, small and exquisite pavilions, long winding corridors, and ponds with bridges constitute harmonious and varied scenes.

cultural heritage sites in Suzhou

#7 Tiger Hill

Surrounded by pretty natural scenery, Tiger Hill attracts people by grand old trees and the century-old Tiger Hill Pagoda.

#8 Tuisi Garden

Water is the theme of Tuisi Garden in Tongli Ancient Town, suburb of Suzhou. An outstanding red marble boat leans against the water.

Classical Suzhou Tour

#9 Meditation Garden

3km west of Tongli, Suzhou, Meditation Garden stands out for the stunning Lingbi stones displayed in the Rare Stone Museum.

Suzhou culture tour

#10 Hanshan Temple

It is a Buddhist garden and houses dozens of Qing Dynasty architectures and beautiful Buddhist statues.

 Suzhou cultural heritages

Eat Like a Local in Shanghai: 8 Traditional Breakfast Shops

Its cuisine has taken in different food elements from both the East and West, and absorbed all the benefits. But that is not all about dining in Shanghai, as you’re encouraged to try the authentic Shanghai Local Cuisine with the traditional breakfasts, like soybean milk, deep-fried dough sticks, steamed buns…

China food tours to Shanghai:

10-day Taste of China Top Cuisines

7-day Gourmet Package to China

Shanghai Flavor Zongzi Wang (上海口味粽王)

Location: 488, Fuxing Zhong Road, Luwan District

Working hours: 8:00AM-18:00PM

The flavors of zongzi are different in North China and South China, however, Shanghainese have a crush on meat zongzi. There are various meat zongzi served in the shop, such as pork meat zongzi with an egg yolk, bean paste zongzi, lard bean paste with bean paste, etc.

Shanghai gourmet tour

Fat Guy Noodles / Pangzi Noodles (胖子面)

Location: 113, Wenmiao Road, Huangpu District

Working hours: 7:00AM—17:00PM

Hidden in the deep corner of Wenmiao Road, it is a family-fun noodle shop, serving traditional Shanghai noodles with oily but not greasy taste and enough delicious toppings. It will be an unforgettable gourmet experience to have the traditional food at an old street of nostalgic atmosphere.

 China food tour for nooldes

Anhua Road Aunt’s Egg Pancake/ Anhua Road Ayi Danbing (安化路阿姨蛋饼摊)

Location: next to No. 947 bus stop, 407 Anhua Road, Changning District

Working hours: morning time

The traditional danbing is increasingly rare in Shanghai, but Aunt’s keeps the traditional wrapper and the specialty sweet sauce, thus has become a classic breakfast in Shanghai.

top China snacks 

Ada Fried Baked Scallion Pancake (阿大葱油饼)

Location: the rear door of Nong 2, 159 Maoming Nan Road, Luwan District

Working hours: 5:00AM-14:00PM (close business on Wednesday)

The most famous shop of its kind in Shanghai, it serves traditional scallion pancake of enticing smells of fried scallion.

top Shanghai breakfast popular Shanghai breakfast

Beiwan Xin Steamed Bun Shops (北万新)

Location: 462 Huaihai Zhong Road, Luwan District (close to Chongqing Nan Road)

Working hours: 7:00AM-20:00PM

An old and famous dim-sum restaurant in Shanghai, Beiwan Xin serves delicate steamed buns, in addition to sparerib rice cake, crab shell cake, sticky rice shaomai, etc.

top Shanghai snacks

Jipin Fried Rice Cake (极品粢饭糕)

Location: the entrance of the Nongtang, 428 Guangxi Bei (North) Road, Luwan District (close to Tianjin Road)

Working hours: morning time

The breakfast shop is made up of only a small handcart, but it is very special in Shanghai city center, as a lot of people are queuing for the fried rice cake every single morning.

what to eat in Shanghai for breakfast 

Zhangji Deep-fried Dough Sticks (张记油条)

Location: 331 Wuyi Road, Changning District (close to Dingxi Road)

Working hours: Full day

The first choice for people to enjoy the Shanghai traditional breakfast, you can find the vanishing Haipai beancurd jelly and salty & sweet soybean milk, apart from deep-fried dough sticks and dabing.

China food tours

Hongyu Fang Guotie (fried dumpling) Shop (宏玉坊锅贴专卖店)

Location: 395 Zhaozhou Road, Huangpu District (at the intersection of Zhaozhou Road and Daji Road)

Working hours: 6:30AM-13:30PM

A family-fun breakfast shop, it is very small with only two tables, and serves wonton and fried bean curd in crock pot, apart from fried dumplings.

Shanghai local snacks

You may be also interested in:

The 16 Best Chinese Noodle Restaurants in Shanghai

Discover the Many Flavors of Breakfast in China

A Cultural Journey through Guilin’s East-west Alley

Guilin is home to some of nature’s most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights. Moreover, it is an elegant cultural city with a wealth of historical and cultural sites, including the East and West Alleys (Dongxi Xiang).

4-day Guilin Yangshuo Essential Tour

5-day Guilin Highlights Tour Package

Favorable located in the city center and in front of Jingjiang Princes’ City, the East and Weast Alleys are made up of three ancient streets named Zhengyang East Alley, Jiangnan Alley and Lanjing Alley. By restoring the old architectures of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) styles, the alleys turn to be a replica of old Guilin and like a time machine that gives insight into the city’s history and modern changes.

Guilin yangshuo tour package

History

A new cultural pedestrian street in Guilin, the East-West Alley has a history of over 1400 years and saw its heyday as a prosperous commercial city and a popular place for celebrities. Therefore there are many well-kept sites of chamber of commerce and residences of celebrities. It was also home to many of Guilin local century-old shops, such as ‘Youyixuan Rice Noodles’, ‘Xiongtonghe Pharmacy’, ‘Huangchangdian Writing Brush’, ‘Hongqinglong Moon Cake’, etc.

Yangshuo Guilin trips

Connected with Jiangnan Alley, Yan Street (Salt Street) was lined with dozens of salt stores, and is considered part of East and West Alleys. Walk on the stone paved path to get a glimpse of old Guilin.

Neighboring East and West Alleys are the old city walls. You can see four big Chinese characters ‘三元及第’ on the top of gate, which is to commemorate two ‘Number One Scholar’ from Guilin.

Guilin tours Guilin Yangshuo tours

A laid-back pedestrian street

The pedestrian street of East and West Alleys is officially open in June 6, 2016, and has become one of the best places to shop in Guilin. Featuring boutiques, fashion shops, galleries, traditional teahouses, bars and cafes in folk styles (e.g. Osmanthus Hall), the alleys provide visitors an opportunity to experience the leisurely life of Guilin. And like elsewhere in Guilin, hearty cuisine come in large portions in East and West Alleys, from unique local snacks to excellent Western foods.

Guilin tour to Yangfshuo Yangshuo tour package

How to get there

Travelers can take bus line 2, 9, 10, 11, 14, 18, 21, 24, 28, 30 and 206 and get off at Jiefang Brige (解放桥) Stop.

Guilin Yangshuo vacation

The photos of East and West Alleys on this article are taken by Jacqueline Liang

Shanghai to Kunming High-speed Railway Links Tourist Destinations

Scheduled to go into operation in June 2016, the Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway (沪昆高铁) is part of China’s system of passenger dedicated lines, and made up of three sections: the Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed railway, the Hangzhou-Changsha high-speed railway and the Changsha-Kunming high-speed railway.

Recommended China High Speed Train Tours by Easy Tour China

Travelling 2,080 kilometers from East China to Southwest China, this high speed rail connects a dozen tourist destinations, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanchang, Changsha, Guiyang and Kunming. Running at an average speed of around 300 kilometers per hour, the new line has shortened the train journey between Shanghai and Kunming from over forty hours to eight hours.

China bullet train tours

High speed trains not only runs much faster than ordinary trains, but also provides better train services and more comfortable passenger carriages, with lager seats, a socket below each seat, a clean modern toilet at each carriage, and special glass window offering slow-motion views outside the windows.

Six major stops on Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway

Shanghai

Distinctive yet diverse; traditional yet freewheeling: Shanghai is a unique metropolis in the East. Many international travelers have their first stop in Shanghai for the visit to China. From here, they travel further to Yellow Mountain, Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Chengdu and other parts of China, or take the cruise trip on Yangtze River to Chongqing.

Shanghai tours

The recommended cultural attractions in Shanghai include The Bund, Yu Garden, Xintiandi, Tianzifang, Zhujiajiao Water Town and many historical streets. Allow yourself at least two days to discover the old buildings of Shikumen, the distinctive dwellings of long tang, the interesting food streets, the bustling shopping centers, and enjoy the dramatic contrast between the old and new.Shanghai cultural day tour

Hangzhou

The capital city of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou has a history of more than 2200 years, and boasts a lot to offer. West Lake is the symbol of Hangzhou, and can be explored by boating, hiking and cycling. There are many temples, gardens and man-made islands that tell folktales and the city’s charming arts and history.

Hangzhou tours

Other top Hangzhou attractions include Lingyin Temple, Six Harmony Pagoda, Grand Cannal, Longjing Tea Plantation Village and Qinghefang Ancient Street. Scenic and cultural destinations around Hangzhou include Xitang Water Town, Wuzhen Water Town, and Lishui, a photographer’s heaven.

Tour to Hangzhou Lingyin Temple tours

Nanchang

The historical city Nanchang is the capital of Jianggxi Province, where many rivers and lakes crisscross. First built in 675 during Tang Dynasty, Tengwang Pavilion is the most famous historical site in Nanchang and has been rebuilt for 29 times, but still a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architecture.

China Jiangxi tours

If you travel around Nanchang, don’t miss scenic Dragon and Tiger Mountain that is one of the important cradles of Taoism, Wugong Mountain (Wushu Mountain) that is ideal for hiking, mountain trekking, camping and other outdoor adventures, or China’s most beautiful countryside Wuyuan.

Changsha

The over 3000-year-old Changsha is famous for the spicy Xiang foods and Hunan TV creating many famous TV shows and attracting numerous singers and movie stars to join the shows. Changsha’s famous attractions and cultural sites include Windows of the World, Moon Lake Park, Aiwan Pavilian, Yuelu Mountain Park, Tianxinge Park, and Orange Island Park.

Visitors can travel from Changsha to Zhangjiajie for with about one hour air journey or about five hours train journey, and go further to Fenghuang Town for the pristine and intoxicating atmosphere.

China Changsha tours

  

Guiyang

Never cold in winter, Guilyang is cool in summer, thus has been an ideal summer destination. Jiaxiu Tower is the famous landmark of Guiyang and one of the must-visit places. Popular Guiyang foods include Spicy diced chicken with peanuts, Griddle Cooked Chicken with Pepper, Fish in sour soup, Si wa wa and Beef rice noodles.

Visitors are suggested to travel to Guiyang between February and October and plan an in-depth Guizhou tour to go to Kaili and the nearby Miao and Dong Villages, as there will be many ethnic minority festivals celebrated by local Miao, Dong, Yao, and the other 45 minority groups. Immerse yourself in the beautiful natural scenery and experience the mountainous tribe lifestyle.

China festival tours

 Huangguoshu Waterfall tours

Kunming

The final stop is the Spring City Kunming, where it is neither very cold in winter nor very hot in summer. The No.1 attraction in Kunming is Stone Forest. Formed 200 million years ago due to the earth’s movement, it is one of world’s geological wonders. Other should-not-missed sites include Yuantong Temple, Dianchi Lake and Western Hill &Dragon Gate.

Kunming Stone Forest tours

Travel from Kunming to Dongchuan for the Red Lands or Yuanyang for the amazing terraced fields, and further to Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-La… – there are much more to explore in Yunnan.

Lugu Lake tours

43 Chinese Foods Everyone Should Try

Speaking of food, people generally believe China is a foodie heaven. Over 2600 years ago,Confucius said, “Eating is the utmost important thing in life” – no wonder the conversations between Chinese people always begin with polite chitchat about food and the classical question “Have you eaten?”

Given its Eight Great Cuisines, tens of thousands of dishes, and countless regional snacks, it is hard to choose the best food in China.

Recommended China Tours for foodies:

10-day Taste of China Top Cuisines

15-day China Culinary & Cooking Tour

To help world travelers plan on best China food tours, here we’ve filtered through recommendations from both gourmets and normal local people to bring you this list of China’s best picks for eating. Try at least some of them when touring in China.

In North China

* Roast Peking Duck – must-have food in Beijing

* Dumplings/jiaozi

* Sugar-coated haws on a stick

* Harbin sausage

* Donkey Huoshao, originated in Baoding Hebei Province, and has become a popular snack in Beijing

* Luoyang Soup Banquet – a dish from Yu Cuisine of Northern China

* Xian Rou jia mo (Chinese hamburger)

* Mongolia dried milk cake

* Fruit pancake (jianbin guozi)

* Lanzhou stretched noodles

 China food tour

 Beijing food tours 

In East China

* West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy and Dongpo pork – the two most famous foods of Hangzhou

* Squirrel-Shaped Mandarin Fish – a popular dish in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province

* Jiangsu’s braised meat balls in brown sauce

* Shanghai Steamed Buns

* Shanghai braised pork in brown sauce

* Huangshan Wonton

* Earthenware pot soup – a favored traditional food in Jiangxi Province

* Nanjing’s Duck blood and vermicelli soup

* Nanjing’s boil duck with salt

China gourmet tour

Shanghai food tours China food trips best Chinese food

In Central China

* Pot-stewed Duck’s neck & hot-and-dry noodles in Wuhan

* Changsha Sticky Toufu

* Chilli Fish Head

China tours to Wuhan  China tours to Changsha

In West China

* Pork lungs in chili sauce (husband and wife pork lungs) – a famous dish of Sichuan Cuisine

* Fish filets in hot chili oil (shui zhu yu) – a must-have dish in Chongqing

* Chongqing spicy chicken

* Yunnan’s Crossing the bridge noodles

* Sichuan Hot Pot

* Xianjiang style stir-fried chicken with big dish (Xinjiang Big plate Chicken)

* Dali Xizhou Baba

* Lao GanMa chilli sauce made in Guiyang, Guizhou

* Guizhou’s Fish in Sour Soup

West China Tours

China tours to Chongqing Yunnan food tours Sichuan culinary tours

In South China

* The Steamed Rice in Clay Pot is a traditional Cantonese dish

* Eat Zaocha (Guangzhou dim sum) in the morning

* Boiled chicken with sauce

* Fried spring rolls

* Bamboo-tube-cooked rice

* Guilin Rice Noodles

* Fried clam in Xiamen

* Yangshuo beer fish

* Fujian Fo Tiao Qiang

* Worm Jelly – with a worm as the main raw material, it is a popular specialty snack in South Fujian Province

Guangzhou food tours

Guilin food tours Fujian food tours Canton food tours