Suzhou

From Halal Explorer

Cover Suzhou Humble Garden

Suzhou (苏州; Sou-tseü in Wu, Sūzhōu in Mandarin) is a city in Jiangsu province, famed for its beautiful gardens and traditional waterside architecture. The town has many canals and has been called the Venice of the East. An older romanisation was "Soochow".

Heaven has paradise; Earth has Suzhou and Hangzhou. — Chinese proverb

eHalal Travel Guide covers the city; some towns within the administrative area, like Kunshan and Wujiang, have separate eHalal Travel Guides.

Contents

Suzhou Halal Travel Guide

Suzhou Canal 1

Suzhou has always been a major center of Wu culture which developed in the region around Lake Tai; a Suzhou accent in Wu language is still considered prestigious, even though the language is now often called "Shanghainese". Suzhou was the former capital of the Kingdom of Wu in the first millennium BCE and again the in first CE, but through most of history Wu has not been an independent state.

The area was settled much earlier, but the city walls that defined what we now know as Suzhou were built in the late 6th century BCE. By 100 CE Suzhou was one of the ten largest cities on Earth, and by the early 19th century it was the world's largest non-capital city. Throughout this history, Suzhou was clearly the most important city of its region; Shanghai was just a walled town near the river mouth and the officials there reported to higher-ranking officials in Suzhou.

Starting in the mid-19th century, Shanghai boomed due to foreign trade; today it is far larger than Suzhou and very much the center of the area. However Suzhou is still a very significant city; the core city has over five million people, and the whole urban area more than ten million. The entire region has prospered in recent years.

Suzhou has been a center of the silk trade and a place of gardens and canals for centuries. It has long been both a center of commerce and a haven for scholars, artists, and skilled craftsmen. Marco Polo wrote:

Suju is a very great and noble city. They possess silk in great quantities,... it hath merchants of great wealth and... accomplished traders and most skilful craftsmen. There are also in this city many philosophers and leeches, diligent students of nature.

All of that is still the case today, over 700 years later.

Master of Nets Garden 2

In Imperial China, Suzhou was a popular destination for retired scholars and officials, many of whom built classical Chinese gardens around their homes; even lesser houses and some commercial buildings often have lovely small gardens or courtyards. The Classical Gardens of Suzhou are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Today, East China is one of the nation's most prosperous and fastest-growing regions, and Suzhou is very much part of that. A wander off the beaten path and into some of the old neighborhoods can be quite a treat, but their seediness and crowded conditions provide a stark contrast to the endless billboards at the edge of the city advertising suburban developments that would not look out-of-place in Orange County.

Suzhou is a bustling modern city, though you can still see traces of a very old lifestyle centered around the canals.

Horizon Resort & Crown Plaza Development

Suzhou boasts one of the hottest economies in the world; the city is a major center of high-tech manufacturing and the world's largest single producer of laptop computers. The Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) east of downtown and the Suzhou New District (SND) in the west have dozens of factories for both Chinese and foreign companies, and many that are joint ventures. This makes for a sense of stark contrasts: The outskirts of town were farmland just ten years ago, but now there are four-lane highways connecting the city to Shanghai... four-lane highways with pedestrians, bicyclists and pedicabs using the breakdown lanes.

The SIP is definitely the main center for the computer and communications industries, but it is by no means alone. The SND on the opposite side of downtown is also doing very well and seems to be becoming a hub for biotech industries. The whole region is booming and electronics are only part of a very diverse industrial base; products include microchips, flash memory systems, electronics, computer equipment, telecommunications components, power tools, chemicals and materials, automotive components and pharmaceuticals. Kunshan and Wujiang, both administratively "county-level cities" within the prefecture-level city Suzhou, are also growing rapidly, as is the neighboring prefecture-level city Wuxi.

Suzhou has a large expatriate community, many associated with the factories but also the English teachers, Filipino musicians and others found anywhere in China. Compared to other Chinese cities, Suzhou has a higher proportion of expats from other Asian countries: the SIP development was a joint venture between the Suzhou and Singapore governments, and there has been much investment from Singapore and Malaysia. Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Indian companies are there as well; Samsung has large factories in Suzhou, including their first semiconductor fabrication plant outside Korea. Of course there are also many Chinese and Western companies.

Travel as a Muslim to Suzhou

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Suzhou

Suzhou does not have an airport. The closest airports with Flights of use to most travelers are the two in nearby Shanghai. The airport in Wuxi is closer, but it is relatively small and serves mostly domestic flights. Nanjing and Hangzhou are other alternatives; both are large airports with a range of flights and easily reached from Suzhou.

Via Shanghai

Pudong Airport (IATA Code: PVG) has many international flights and Hongqiao Airport (IATA Code: SHA) has mostly domestic flights, but also some Flights to nearby countries. They are 120 kilometers (75 mi) and 86 kilometers (53 mi) away from Suzhou respectively.

Regular shuttle buses run between Suzhou and both Shanghai airports, which takes around an hour to Hongqiao and one hour and forty minutes to Pudong.

  • Shanghai-Hongqiao to Suzhou - ¥70 Departs from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. On the hour from 10AM Monday - 4PM; and one at 5:30PM and 7PM.
  • Shanghai-Pudong to Suzhou | 26 kerry rd ¥82 Departs from the parking lot on the 2nd floor of Terminal 1 building. Almost hourly 10:40AM Monday - 7:40PM
  • Suzhou to Shanghai-Pudong - ¥80 Departs from the CEAG (China-Eastern Airlines Group) ticket office (No.115, Ganjiang West Rd). Almost hourly 6:20AM Monday - 2:50PM.
  • Suzhou to Shanghai-Hongqiao - The China Eastern Airlines buses going to Pudong pass through Hongqiao first.

A shuttle bus between Pudong and Hongqiao leaves every 10 minutes from 6AM Monday - 9PM and costs ¥95.

Hongqiao airport can be visited from Suzhou by train; some of the Suzhou-Shanghai bullet trains go to Hongqiao Railway Station which is only about a few kilometers from the airport — one stop on the metro or a walk that is fairly long but all indoors and level. The trip takes less than half an hour. Be certain your ticket is for Hongqiao station; some trains go to the original Shanghai Railway Station, which is nowhere near the airport.

It is also feasible to reach Pudong Airport by train, but this is much less convenient. From Hongqiao Station, metro line 2 goes to Pudong Airport but it takes over an hour and you need to change trains once; it is still called line 2 but you need to walk across the platform and get on a different train.

Via Wuxi

Wuxi is only a few kilometers from Suzhou and, like Suzhou, is both a traditional center of Wu culture and a hi-tech hub today. Wuxi Airport is situated to the southeast of the town (toward Suzhou) and has Flights to major Chinese cities and a few international flights (e.g. to Taiwan). From the airport to Wuxi downtown (Wuxi train station) there are infrequent (every 30 minutes) buses, just on the right side when you exit the airport (look for a blue plate with Chinese characters and timetable for 1,2,3 routes). Allow at least 40 minutes to ride to Wuxi center and about 15 minutes for a ride between Wuxi and Suzhou on a high-speed train.

Via Hangzhou

Hangzhou is well worth a visit; like Suzhou, it is both an ancient city with UNESCO-listed legacy sites and one of China's most modern and prosperous cities. Its airport has a good range of domestic flights and some international. The Air Asia flight from Hangzhou to Kuala Lumpur is usually the cheapest way from central China to Southeast Asia.

There is a bus between Suzhou and Hangzhou airports. You can go to the waiting room,which is north of Entrance 5 to the Arrival Hall, First Level of Terminal Building. Price range is ¥20/per~¥70/per.

There are also city-to-city connections, using either fast trains or buses. The trains go via Shanghai while the buses take a more direct route, so the difference in travel duration is not huge.

Via Nanjing

Nanjing is only about an hour from Suzhou via the frequent High-speed rail in China|high-speed trains and is worth a visit; it is a very important city in both Chinese history and today's economy. Its airport has Flights to all major Chinese cities and some international flights. Lufthansa fly Frankfurt-Nanjing, partly because the German company Siemens have had a factory in Nanjing for decades; one of their German managers is a hero in China for saving many people from the Japanese during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre.

Muslim Friendly Rail Holidays in Suzhou

See also High-speed rail in China

There are four major train stations in Suzhou:

Suzhou Railway Station Platform No.9 - GPS 31.3327 ,120.6065. North of downtown on the northern ring-road (Beihuan Lu), and on Metro Line 2. This station is on the Shanghai-Nanjing mainline; there are frequent high-speed trains to Shanghai, Wuxi, Changzhou, Zhenjiang and Nanjing. A train ride to Shanghai takes less than half an hour and Nanjing is about one hour away. Shanghai trains may go to either the original Shanghai Railway Station or the new Hongqiao Station.

  • Suzhou Industrial Park Station - Suzhou Yuanqu - GPS: 31.3423, 120.7063 For travellers to or from the SIP it is often more convenient to use this station. Like Suzhou Station, it is on the Shanghai-Nanjing mainline.
  • Suzhou New District Station - Suzhou Xinqu Zhan - GPS: 31.380, 120.514 In the SND northwest of downtown. It is on the Shanghai-Nanjing mainline and will be on Metro Line 3 when that opens, 2015 or 2016.
  • Suzhou North Station - Suzhou Bei Zhan This station is used for high-speed trains to or from Beijing, or to other cities to the north; it is on the Shanghai-Beijing line but not Shanghai-Nanjing. It's a bit on the outskirts but can be visited easily since it is on Metro Line 2. A ride to Beijing usually takes 5 hours.

Suzhou station and the SIP and SND stations are on the main line from Shanghai to Nanjing, but not all trains stop at all stations; you have to specify when buying the ticket.

The slower, cheaper and more crowded T- and K- services from other provinces on their way to Shanghai or Nanjing stop at Suzhou Station, but most travellers prefer the fast D- or G- trains.

Buying train tickets using self-service machines in the stations is no longer feasible without a Chinese ID card. Foreign Muslims must buy at the counter at the train station or at railway ticket offices throughout the city, and must provide their passport as ID. It is often wise to book tickets a few days in advance as trains fill up quickly, especially during public holidays, but the more expensive fast trains can generally be booked the same day.

  • China Rail website | It is feasible to book tickets via this site, and there is no charge for the service. However and the site is in Chinese only and it accepts only UnionPay so you will probably need a Chinese bank account to use it.
  • Ticket Offices in the city 8 Taijian Alley Guanqian Jie (观前街, 566 Renmin Lu (人民路, 50 Jinmen Lu (金门路, 22 Beiju Lu, 18 Shi Lu(石路, 120 Sanxiang Lu (三香路) and Xiangwang Lu (相王路 (near the east end of Shi Quan Jie(十全街) Prices at these offices are the same as at the station, but dealing with them generally requires some Chinese.

Most travel agents and some hotels will pick up tickets for you for a small additional fee.

From Suzhou or Suzhou North stations and the quickest way into town is by metro. Line 4 serves Suzhou station and runs north-south through the center of downtown. Line 2 serves both Suzhou and Suzhou North stations. Also, each stations has a taxi rank; you may have to queue but it rarely takes long. As anywhere in China, it is safer to ignore the taxi agents inside the station and just go to the taxi rank.

From Suzhou Station, you can also get downtown either by bus or on foot. Many city buses start from a terminus just across the street from the station. Most services will head towards the Guanqian Street/Ganjiang Lu area of downtown (15-20 minutes), although it's advisable to check. Buses 6, 26, 29, 178 go to the SIP. It is feasible to buy a tourist map (English-Chinese, ¥20) indicating the bus routes in one of the tourism offices on the lefthand side of the walkway leading up to the North exit. Once outside the station and the bus stops can be found on the righthand side. Bus You1 and You4 (both heading towards Renmin Lu) leave from platform 4.

On foot, it takes about 20-30 minutes to walk to most of the sights - simply go outside the station and head right. At the first intersection, make an immediate right into either one of two tunnels heading under the train tracks. A pedestrian path is available that will take you to the old part of town. Once you cross the river and the 8-story pagoda called Beisi Ta (North Temple Pagoda) should be in plain sight.

If you are adventurous you can try to unofficial e-bike taxi - guys standing right to the station outside, you can negotiate to about ¥50 to the downtown.

Travel on a Bus in Suzhou

Suzhou has three main bus stations:

  • Suzhou South Gate Bus Station - Sūzhōu Nán Zhàn - 31.28175, 120.63338 Where the Ring Road crosses Yingchun Road ☎ +86 512-65204867 - The largest station, a modern, clean terminal serving regular shuttles to Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou as well as most other major tourist destinations around eastern China. It is just south of the downtown and is connected by many local buses and taxis. You can arrive at the bus station by taking buses 29, 30, 31 and 101.
  • Suzhou North Bus Station - Sūzhōu Běi Zhàn | 29 Xihui Road 31.33182, 120.61604 ☎ +86 512-67530686 - Immediately adjacent to the train station. It mainly serves nearby cities such as Wuxi, Zhangjiagang, Changzhou and Kunshan as well as less-frequent services to other cities including Nanjing. The station was recently completely rebuilt and is much cleaner and more spacious than before, and is now a smoke-free zone. The ticket office and departure gates are on the 1st floor whilst arrivals are in the basement. All buses serving the train station also stop at the North Bus Station, and you can walk into the downtown in 20-30 minutes, see Get in/By train for details.
  • Suzhou West Bus Station - Sūzhōu Xī Zhàn - 31.2993, 120.5431Jinshan Road Changjiang Road New District Suzhou (Suzhou Xinqu) - On the far edge of the Suzhou New District (north of Suzhou Amusement Park) and mostly serves nearby towns of little interest to travellers.

The China Eastern Airlines City Air Terminal near the intersection of Renmin Lu and Ganjiang Xilu also has a small terminal for shuttle buses to Shanghai Hongqiao and Pudong airports, see Get In/By plane for details.

How to travel around Suzhou on a bicycle ?

If you are feeling adventurous, it is feasible to cycle from Shanghai to Suzhou in 2-3 hours (70 kilometers). From Shanghai downtown, head west towards Hongqiao Airport (following the route of Metro line 2) and follow the S343 Provincial Highway. This road can be quite busy but there's a segregated cycle path along its entire length and the route is entirely flat. The road passes through the attractive water town of Luzhi (20 kilometers east of Suzhou) making a nice stopping off point and the road will bring you into the Suzhou Industrial Park and ends at Donghuan Lu (the east part of the inner ring road).

Book a Halal Cruise or Boat Tour in Suzhou

The overnight ferries between Hangzhou and Suzhou are no longer running.

Riverboats on the Yangtze stop at Suzhou. See Along the Yangtze river.

There is a thrice-weekly service from Suzhou to Shimonoseki, Japan with Shanghai-Shimonoseki Ferry. Call 083-232-6615 (Japan) or 0512-53186686 (China). Tickets from ¥35,000 (Japanese Yen).

How to get around in Suzhou

Orientation

The city has three main parts and the older center and large suburban developments on either side of it. On the east is Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP)], and on the west Suzhou New District (SND)]. These are not just industrial suburbs; both have much residential and commercial development as well.

Within the old center, Downtown Suzhou (Canglang, Pingjiang and part of Jinchang neighborhood) is completely surrounded by a large, rectangular canal known as the Hucheng River (Hucheng Hé), which is connected to China's Along the Grand Canal|Grand Canal. Most of the major sights are within this area.

Outside the main canal is the ring road which is divided into east (Donghuan Lu), west (Xihuan Lu), north-east (Beihuan Dong Lu), north-west (Beihuan Xi Lu), south-east (Nanhuan Dong Lu) and south-west (Nanhuan Xi Lu) sections. It forms a rectangle on the map. The main long-distance transport hubs are along this road, and bus #10 runs in a complete loop of the ring road.

East of the ring road, Jinjihu Lake marks the centre of the SIP with two main through roads crossing the lake (Xiandai Avenue to the north and Jinjihu Avenue to the south). Most streets in the SIP have names beginning with Xing (from 'Xingjiapo' - the Chinese rendering of Singapore) for east-west routes and Sunday (Suzhou) for north-south routes.

Downtown

Within the rectangle of downtown, 9 east-west canals and 12 north-south canals run through the city.

The two primary streets in downtown are Renmin Lu (north-south, Metro Line 4 runs under it) and Ganjiang Lu (east-west, Metro Line 1 runs under it). Both are well-provided with shopping, hotels and restaurants. Ganjiang Lu has a bridge into the SIP at its east end.

Two streets of importance to travellers run east off Renmim Lu. Guanqian Jie, a bit north of Ganjiang Road, is a busy pedestrians-only shopping street near the center of town, with a major Taoist temple and a flea market area toward its east end. #Bars|Shiquan Jie, south of Ganjiang Road, has restaurants, bars, hotels and the main Suzhou tourist information office, much tourist-oriented shopping, and the Garden of the Master of the Nets.

Guanqian Jie and Shiquan Jie are within walking distance of each other via Renmin Lu on the west, Fenghuan Road further east or various smaller streets in between. The back streets are not particularly scenic but do have some good shopping, especially for moderately-priced clothes and shoes.

By metro

Suzhou Metro Linemap

The Suzhou Metro or SRT (Suzhou Rail Transit) has 3 lines and is rapidly growing. Lines 1 and 4 are most useful to visitors, as they form a cross shape in the middle of downtown. Line 1 runs east-west, while lines 2 and 4 run north-south.

Rates start at ¥2 for up to 6 kilometers and then ¥3 for 6-11 kilometers, ¥4 for 11-16, ¥5 16-23, ¥6 23-30; going the whole length of Line 1 is ¥6.

Walking

Downtown Suzhou, where most attractions are, is a rectangle about 6 by 3 kilometers in size. Depending on your stamina and the weather (summers can be up to 40 degrees), it may be feasible to walk between the various sites. Be warned that walking in downtown is not relaxing - most sidewalks are narrow and clogged with parked scooters meaning that you'll end up walking in the bike lane or in the road. Also, around the subway construction sites the sidewalk and bike lane disappear altogether. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Walking in the SIP is more pleasant as roads and sidewalks are wider, and traffic is less heavy.

To make sure you don't get too lost, ask your hotel concierge to write out the name of your destinations, as well as how to get back. Make sure to add your own notes so you know what the translation is.

Taxis

Suzhou's rattling old silver-and-teal VW Santana taxis are a very reasonably priced way of getting around and are easily available outside of rush hour. Rates start at ¥20 for 3 kilometers and tick up at ¥7.2 per kilometers, so most trips within the city are cheap. That said, Suzhou's cabbies are infamous for their lack of local knowledge (most of them are migrants from poorer provinces) so having an address or phone contact to your destination will save you a lot of hassle. Driving style is best described as aggressive, although serious accidents involving taxis are rare. Taxi agents work near tourist destinations and the train station - always use the taxi queue or flag one down from the street (available taxis have a green light on the front dash). Always get a receipt from the taxi driver at the end of the ride, so you may call the taxi company if you have left anything behind or need to dispute a fare.

Few, if any taxi drivers speak English or any other foreign languages, so be sure to get your hotel's business card, and have the names addresses of your destinations written in Chinese to show your taxi driver.

Bus

Taking a bus in Suzhou is relatively easy if you have a basic grasp of Chinese, or horribly bewildering if you don't. Buses cover the whole city, run at 10-20 minutes frequencies from 5AM Monday - 9PM on most routes and are a affordable way of getting around.

Fares are based upon the distance between where you board and the last stop of the bus - most times you will pay ¥2-2, although some longer routes such as the #69 to Xishan charge up to ¥7 - the fare will be displayed on the bus schedule as well as on a digital display above the driver's seat. Exact change is required, so keep plenty of ¥2 coins handy. Buses displaying a green or blue 'snow-flake' symbol next to the route number have air-conditioning and a ¥2 surcharge is paid on top of the regular fare (regardless of whether the A/C is switched on or not).

There are five handy tourist buses numbered Y1-5 - all serve the train station and connect most of the tourist sights within the city proper, so if you are unfamiliar with the city and they are a good way to familiarize yourself.

Buses are often crowded, and it's good custom to offer your seat to elderly, disabled or mothers with children.

If you are in town for a while, it's advisable to get a Suzhou-Tong card (available from several outlets around town) - it's a prepaid smart-card that gives you a 10% discount on bus travel.

Pedicabs

Pedicabs (rickshaws) are available on most main streets and always near tourist attractions. Negotiate the price before you get in and don't allow the driver to change it once you arrive at your destination, for example, saying ¥25 and demanding ¥70. This is a slow means of travel but it allows you to actually see the city while you go somewhere. Despite what you might expect, pedicabs are often more expensive than taxis - and be warned that 99% of Suzhou pedicab drivers are notorious price-gougers, so bargain hard with these guys. Expect to pay a little more in the summer months since the driver is working hard in the heat to take you there.

Motorcycle taxis

Suzhou motorcycle taxis are found in the same places as pedicabs, and should be approached with similar caution. They are usually filthy, dangerously driven, and relentlessly uncomfortable (the seats are about 12 cm above the floor), so traumatic to your spine that it would usually be best to consider another form of transport.

Local Language in Suzhou

The language of the region is the Wu dialect; it is not mutually intelligible with standard Chinese (Mandarin), or any other Chinese dialect for that matter. Suzhou is the traditional cradle of Wu culture, and a Suzhou accent has some prestige, even though the language is now often called "Shanghai dialect" or "Shanghainese". Therefore, Suzhou is a good place to learn to speak Wu Chinese. However, as anywhere in China, most people are bilingual in the local dialect and Mandarin, and you should have no problem speaking Mandarin unless you are talking to the elderly.

Suzhou is a prosperous city with huge numbers of migrant workers, mostly from poorer provinces. People in the service industries that you may encounter — taxi drivers, waitresses, hairstylists... — are more likely to speak Mandarin than Wu, and quite likely to have a Sichuan or Anhui accent.

English is not widely spoken; staff at the better hotels and in tourist-oriented shops or the expatriate bars will speak some, but the level varies vastly. Do not expect cab drivers or staff in local restaurants or railway ticket offices to have any English; some will surprise you, but this is common. Be sure to have the names of your destinations written in Chinese, so that taxi drivers can get you there; carry a business card for your hotel so they can get you back to it.

What to see in Suzhou

Suzhou has a number of attractions, including at least two that are absolutely world-class - its famous classical Chinese gardens, and the Suzhou Museum designed by a world-renowned architect.

Suzhou's gardens and architecture have had influence worldwide. Suzhou Street in Beijing's Summer Palace is a copy of Suzhou's Shangtang Street, and the Chinese Garden Court in New York's Metropolitan Museum is a copy of part of the Master of the Nets garden. Both Vancouver's Sun-Yat-Sen Garden and Portland's Lan Sunday Chinese Garden were built by craftsmen imported from Suzhou.

Classical gardens

The UNESCO World Heritage List listing for Classical Gardens of Suzhou includes nine of the finest gardens, with dates from the 11th to the 19th century. They are:

Humble Administrator's Garden 7173 (6399181839)

  • The Humble Administrator's Garden - Zhuo Zheng Yuan 拙政园 | Dongbei Street 31.326, 120.625 in the NE corner of the old city ☎ +86 51267537002 | Opening Hours: 7:30AM Monday - 5:30PM ¥70, ¥70 off-season Humble Administrator's Garden Said to have cost a boatload of silver and taken sixteen years to build. Free tours through the garden start every 5-10 minutes, though these tours are conducted only in Mandarin. Included in the tour is a "Chinese marriage", a look at carved tree roots, followed by a boat ride through the garden canals. The incredible collection of bonsai trees ('pen cai' or 'pen jing' in Chinese) at the end of the garden furthest from the main entrance is worth a trip all by itself.
  • The Garden of the Master of the Nets - Wang Shi Yuan 网师园 - 31.3, 120.629 down a small alley off of Fenghuang Road, just south of Shiquan Jie ☎ +86 512 65293190 | Opening Hours: 7:30AM Monday - 5PM ¥70 Master of the Nets Garden Originally created in 1140, and rebuilt in 1770 by the bureaucrat Song Zongyuan. The enclosed complex of house and garden is one of the smallest, most beautiful, and most perfectly proportioned in Suzhou. Don't let the small size deceive you, this garden has enough to occupy you for half a day or more. On certain evenings there are demonstrations of many traditional performing arts.
  • The Lingering Garden - Liu Yuan 留园 | 31.317528, 120.588111 Lingering Garden One of the largest classical gardens in Suzhou.
  • Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty - Huanxiu Shanzhuang 环秀山庄 - 31.313167, 120.6089 at the Embroidery Museum Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty Mainly a rock and water garden.
  • Lion Grove Garden - Lion Forest Garden, Shi Zi Lin 狮子林 | 31.323222, 120.625056 just off Lindun Road, near the Humble Administrator's Garden Opening Hours: 7:30AM Monday - 5:30PM ¥60 Lion Grove Garden Has an incredible collection of pitted, eroded rocks that were greatly appreciated by classical Chinese scholars. It was originally part of a Buddhist monastery. The gardens are a reminder of the Buddhist story of the lions. The layout of the garden follows many twists and turns. It is easy to get quite lost in these winding paths.
  • The Surging Wave Pavilion - Canglang Pavilion, Canglang Ting 沧浪亭 - 31.296547, 120.621517 just off Renmin Road on the South side of the old town, near the Confucian Temple ☎ +86 512 65293190 - ¥20 Canglang Pavilion One of the oldest of Suzhou's wonderful collection of private or "scholar's" gardens. More densely forested than other gardens, so ideal for hot days when you want to escape the sun. This garden is best viewed from within its many pavilions, with windows framing different views.

Retreat garden thatched hall

  • The Retreat and Reflection Garden - Tui Si Yuan 退思园 - 31.159912, 120.716174 Retreat & Reflection Garden In the township of TongLi (同里) in Wujiang neighborhood, about 30 kilometers south of central Suzhou.
  • The Garden of Cultivation - YiPu Garden - 31.31525, 120.604722 in the northwest corner of the old city, inside the encircling canal; ask local shopkeepers for help since it is in an ancient block with small alleys/streets ¥20 Garden of Cultivation Make sure to go all the way towards the back inside the garden to see the best part.
  • The Couple's Garden Retreat - Ou Yuan 耦园 | 31.318306, 120.634528 quietly hidden in a small lane off of Pingjiang Road, not easy to find; look for the gate at the south end of the zoo's carpark, or, since three sides of the garden face canals, try getting there by boat ¥20 Couple's Retreat Garden Built in early 20th century by a couple. Many small garden rooms lead you from view to view. Each window or hall perfectly frames a set of plants, rocks or trees. Every inch of the garden has been carefully thought out. Most of the garden consists of covered walkways, so even though it may rain you will be able to enjoy this garden without getting wet.

The four great gardens of Suzhou are four of those, each of which represents the gardening style of a different Chinese dynasty:

  • Humble Administrator, Song Dynasty (960-1279)
  • Lingering Garden, Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)
  • Great wave Pavilion, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
  • Lion Grove Garden, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

Of course Suzhou has many other gardens as well. At one point there were over 200 classical gardens in the city, and the Chinese government lists 69 which survive today as protected legacy sites.

Large and famous gardens are fine, but smaller or less-known gardens can also be interesting; they can be good for a quick look or relaxing with a cup of tea in relative quiet. Often local folks are seen enjoying their tea and chatting. The small garden is a living part of the local, yet ancient, culture. Some of the other gardens are:

  • Tarrying Garden - Wufeng Xianguan |outside Changmen Gate - ¥20 - Built in the Ming Dynasty, but many parts of it were rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty. Part of the garden is the Nanmu Hall with a collection of furniture made of nanmu, a wood that is fairly common in China and prized because it looks good and resists both humidity and decay. Mandarin Duck Hall is divided into two parts by a meticulously carved partition.
  • The Garden of Pleasure (Pleasence) - Yi Yuan 怡园 - 31.30974, 120.61712 - Very small garden in the heart of downtown. Good place to have a cup of green tea. Usually visited by lots of local elderly people.
  • The Former Residence of Poet and Scholar Yu Yue - in the ancient Liuhuafang Block, central part of the old city near Guanqian St. Cross Renmin Road to the southwest corner, go south maybe 100 m along the west side of Renmin Road, turn west at the KFC and you will see it on the north side of the alley ¥2.5, ¥7-7 for entrance and tea Make sure to go all the way towards the back inside the garden to see the best part. This tucked away place is a little tough to find but totally worth the effort if you want to find a quiet, unpretentious place visited mainly by local residents.
  • Five Peaks Garden - 47 Changmen Xi Street 31.31938, 120.60568 on the road to Changmen Gate ☎ +86 512-6727 5866 -

Temples

Suzhou's North Temple Pagoda

  • North Temple Pagoda - Beisi Ta | Renmin Lu 31.3236, 120.6157 bus #4 from train station, second stop ¥25 Viewable from the train station and the peak of the pagoda is Suzhou's most famous. A garden and temples are on the grounds.
  • Ding Hui Temple - DingHui Si | DingHui Temple Ln 31.3083, 120.629 Off Fenghuang Street - Free A recently constructed temple on the site of a Tang Dynasty temple. Little more than two huge 300-year-old Ginkgo trees and some stone pillar bases remain from the original complex after it was demolished and a factory built atop in 1949.
  • Twin Pagodas - 双塔 | DingHui Temple Ln Opening Hours: 8AM Monday - 5PM ¥8A pair of brick Northern Song Dynasty pagodas stand sentinel over the stark remains of an Arhat Temple from the same era. Mostly intact stone pillars, gracefully carved with floral designs, at the junctions of the foundation, give a sense the invisible halls size and a stone etching at the rear of the garden helps you fill in the rest. The temple was damaged in the Qing dynasty and abandoned totally at the onset of China's republic. The grounds are peaceful but feel like a stone graveyard with fragments of carvings displayed around the outer wall or used as stands for bonsai plants.
  • Cold Mountain Temple - HanShan Si 寒山寺 | 31.312408, 120.564831 south of the Grand Canal - Established in the Liang dynasty (502-557 AD), most of the buildings date from the Tang Dynasty except for the recently built five-storey pagoda.

Xuanmiaoguan-Temple-Suzhou

  • Temple of Mystery - Xuán Miào Guān 玄妙观 | east end of the pedestrian shopping area on Guanqian Jie 31.314444, 120.621944 Opening Hours: 7:30-5PM ¥20A large Taoist hall perpetually obscured by a curtain of joss smoke of devotes eager to placate the gods inside. It has a large market area, many small shops with a range of goods aimed mainly at either devotees or tourists. The temple was established in the 3rd century and broadened to its present size in the Song Dynasty, where it became a popular spot for travelling magicians and acrobats. The erstwhile performers have given way to a multitude of stalls selling meretricious worldly goods on which you can easily make your money disappear. The main Sanxing Dian hall was rebuilt in 1811 to hold Song Dynasty deity statues, later destroyed by Red Guards they occupied the hall during the cultural revolution. The present sculptures are modern reproductions. Of greater antiquity is a stone impressed with the footprints of a Taoist god, found in the Ming dynasty. The stone is genuine, but the origins of the feet less certain.
  • Confucian Temple - 孔庙 - in the southwest of the old town, on the street of the Surging Wave Pavilion - Free First established in the Northern Song Dynasty (1035 CE) and the Confucian Temple has continually been one of the most important institutes for higher studies in the nation. Much of its ground today is still occupied by Suzhou Middle School. Flanked by trees of hundreds of years of age and the main hall includes an impressive portrait of Confucius made of lacquer, and various ceremonial instruments. Ask the guard for the four Song Dynasty Steles (四大宋碑), each standing more than 15 feet tall, which include a Song dynasty map of the city (much of it still works today), a map of China, a sky map, and a lineage of all Chinese emperors till the 13th century when these steles were carved.

Museums

  • Suzhou Museum - Sūzhōu Bówùguǎn | 204 DongBei Street 31.3246, 120.6231 near the entrance to the Humble Administrator's Garden ☎ +86-512-67575666 | Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 9AM Monday - 5PM Free Designed by Architecture#I.M._Pei|I.M. Pei, whose family came from Suzhou. Pei lived most of his life in the U.S. and was a very successful architect there, known for the glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and other monuments. He came out of retirement in his 80s to return to Suzhou to create a museum that married his modernist sensibility with his sense of the region; as a teenager he lived in Shanghai and often visited family in Suzhou. Do not miss the recreation of the Ming Dynasty scholar's study.
  • Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute - see Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty #Classical gardens|above for location - GPS: , Suzhou is famous for embroidery work, with silk as the main material. The Suzhou style has a history going back 2000 years and is considered one of China's four great types of embroidery. (The others are centered in Changsha, Chaozhou and Chengdu.) The Institute functions as a museum, as a workshop for modern craftspeople, and as an outlet for their products. Prices may be somewhat higher than elsewhere, but quality is high.
  • Suzhou Art Gallery - 苏州美术馆 | No. 4 Canglangting Houjie, 沧浪亭后街4号 31.3264444, 120.6125879 on the street of the Surging Wave Pavilion ☎ +86 512 6530 5207| price-Free - time=9am-5pm Exhibits of painting and calligraphy, especially modern Chinese art and local Suzhou artists.
  • Suzhou Opera Museum - 苏州戏曲博物馆 | 31.3149036, 120.6316177 Opening Hours: around 2PM on Sundays ¥70 The Suzhou Opera Museum has performances of three traditional local arts — Kunqu opera, which is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, Suqu opera, and Pingtan storytelling with ballads. All use the Wu phrasebook|Wu language. There are stages for the opera and a teahouse in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) style for the storytelling. The museum part has exhibition rooms for each of those three arts, a collection of musical instruments, and other items including block-printed editions of Kunqu opera from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), original rubbings of local opera scripts, rare handwritten copies of operas and Pingtan from the Qing Dynasty, and items that belonged to well-known deceased singers such as Ma Rufei, Wu Mei, Yu Sulu and Wang Jili.
  • Suzhou Silk Museum - Sūzhōu Sīchǒw Bówùguǎn | 2001 Renmin Road 31.325556, 120.614167 Opening Hours: 9AM Monday - 5PM ¥25 Most of the artifacts are faded and rather plain looking, but the live silk worms are quite a sight. A great place to bring the kids
  • Suzhou Arts and Crafts Museum - Sūzhōu Gōngyì Měishù Bówùguǎn 苏州工艺美术博物馆 | No. 88 Northwest Street, 31.32475, 120.62034 ☎ +86 512-67535273 - This is a relatively new museum, opened in 2003, but the building it is in dates back to the reign of Emperor Qianlong, 1735-1796. The museum's collection numbers nearly one-thousand pieces and includes modern Suzhou embroidery, sandalwood, tapestry, wood carving, stone carving, Ming-style furniture, ethnic musical instruments, antique bronze, lacquerwork and metal crafts.

The Opera, Silk and Handicrafts museums are all right in the same area and can conveniently be visited together.

Other attractions

20090926 Suzhou Pan Men 5941

Some pagodas and towers are covered above since they are within temples. The others are here.

  • Panmen city gate - 盘门 | DongDa Jie 31.29, 120.6131 Southwest corner of the old walled city Opening Hours: 7:30AM Monday - 5:30PM ¥25 This gate is renowned for its unique structure as a combined water and land gate. It was built as a gate in a city wall built in 514 BCE, but the present structure is from a 14th century rebuild. The remaining wall is 300 m long and 5 m high. Visiting Pan Men includes access to a large and rather lovely garden with ponds and pavilions (feed the koi for ¥2), a boat ride and the city water and land gate, and an original foot bridge over the grand canal.
  • Auspicious Light Pagoda - Rui guang ta - ¥22 This pagoda, built in 247 CE and rebuilt during the Song Dynasty about 1000 CE, is part of the Panmen complex. It has seven storeys and is 53m (about 174 feet) high. Visitors may climb it, and the view is worthwhile.
  • Changmen city gate - GPS: 31.32, 120.6 Northwest corner of the old walled city This gate is well preserved and still used.
  • Shantang Street - 山塘 - 31.328, 120.586 A recently-restored canal street running from Changmen to Tiger Hill. The southeast end of the street may be mobbed with tourists, but as you walk further north the souvenir shops and restaurants disappear, and you can take a leisurely stroll along the canal through a quiet residential neighborhood.
  • Tiger Hill Pagoda - 虎丘塔; Hǔqiūtǎ - 31.338056, 120.576389 ¥60, tours from ¥60-100 are negotiable. Also for those less able to climb the hill, electric carts make the journey for ¥20 per person. This is also called the "Yunyan Pagoda", after the Buddhist temple it was once part of; the temple was burned during the cultural revolution. Some buildings have been reconstructed and a 48-m tall brick pagoda with seven stories and eight sides remains, though now missing its wooden outer skin. It is one of the few remaining examples of pagodas of this type and is sometimes called the "Leaning Tower of China" because it has tilted a bit since it was built in the 900s. Tiger Hill is of enormous importance historically and culturally, but much of its significance will likely be lost on foreign visitors.
  • Baita Road - BáiTǎ Lù - Starting from the Northern Pagoda, this street has been sympathetically developed and retains many old-style store fronts. On the east end huge gnarled trees arch over the street.
  • Ping Jiang Road - 31.31421, 120.63008 A beautiful walk along an ancient road paved with hand-cut stones over a thousand years old and lined with shops maintaining traditional architectural styles. It runs from near the Humble Administrator's Garden and Suzhou Museum south into the center of town. There are a surprising number of Middle Eastern style Coffee shops with full English menus, Internet and English books. If you get further north on this road, but south of the museum area and the shops eventually run out and it just becomes a quiet neighbourhood again. This may be the best part of all.

Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) - West Bank of Jin Ji Lake

  • Ligongdi - 李公堤 - 31.3043, 120.685 - Li Gong Di is a 1400-meter causeway across Jinji Lake and the largest inner-city lake in China; it was built during the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1874-1908). Some areas near it are being heavily developed.
  • The Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) - on both sides of Jinji Lake, east of downtown 31.3233, 120.7144 - Described by some as a masterpiece of urban planning. Jointly designed by the city government and a Singaporean urban planning committee, this area is characterised by wide boulevards lined with new high-rise apartments, office buildings and factories with some recreation facilities that might make it worth a visit. Shopping malls, eating and drinking streets are surrounded by some interesting contemporary parkland. Bus number 2 will get you there.

What to do in Suzhou

  • Take a boat ride through the city's canals | Renmin Bridge An interesting way to see the city low down in the network of canals.
  • Explore GuanQian Street (观前街) - The street is a rather uninspiring shopping street, however the back streets off it harbor many small shops selling local crafts and some interesting restaurants serving local cuisine.
  • Yangshan Hot Springs - 31.36431, 120.48145 ¥288A hotel resort with hot spring facilities - you can buy a ticket to soak in hot tubs outdoors. It's quite fancy, has plenty of different baths, illuminations and spas. It's in the outskirts to the west of the city, a 30-minutes taxi ride away. By public transportation, take Metro Line 1 to a western station and then take a bus - consult Google Maps for details.
  • Cycle - Suzhou is relatively flat, and once past the ring-road, traffic is light and easy-going enough to enable a pleasant ride about town. Jinji Lake, Dushu Lake and a few outlying temples are within casual cycling distance. Many hostels rent bikes for around ¥25 a day.
  • Weekend cycle rides Two local cycle shops — Specialized Bicycles and Trek Cycles; see #Bicycles|below for contact information — organise one or two day rides to nearby attractions such as Lake Tai (30 kilometers one way), Yangcheng Lake (40 kilometers around the lake), Tongli (20 kilometers one way) and Zhouzhuang (40 kilometers one way). Pace is normally relaxed with regular stops for photos and taking a rest. Joining the tour is free, although you have to bring your own bike or rent a bike from the store for a deposit and small charge. Costs such as meals and accommodation are split between group members. Although most of the riders are local residents, foreigners are always welcomed and most members will speak English, and will ride in a safe manner.
  • Suzhou Amusement Land - 31.29430, 120.54263 Metro 1, Suzhou Amusement Land stop Amusement park in the SND west of downtown.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Suzhou

Shi Quan Jie is the main area downtown for tourist shopping, with everything from affordable tacky souvenirs and ¥20 silk ties to fine antiques, silks and jewellery. There are also many such stores around the Mystery Temple and along other back streets north of Guanqian Jie, and some near various tourist attractions. Guangqian Jie itself is mainly a general-purpose shopping street similar to what one might find in any city, but does have some upmarket shops for silks and other tourist items. The same could be said of shops in the SIP, most of which are concentrated in a few enormous malls.

As anywhere in China, bargaining is the norm. Since Suzhou is a domestic tourist destination, though, prices will start off at surprisingly reasonable values. As anywhere, help from a knowledgeable local can save you both hassle and money, but you should not accept "help" from unknown local residents; that may just mean you get a higher price and the "helper" gets a commission.

As a city famed through the ages for its silk embroidery, Suzhou is one of the best places to pick up silk handicrafts. Suzhou double-sided embroidery, in which the same picture is rendered in great detail on both sides of a silk screen and the knots are tied in the middle, is a traditional Suzhou speciality and is absolutely amazing. The needles used for this work are finer than a human hair.

Much of lower-priced embroidery work sold to tourists is now made using sewing machines which provide embroidery stitches. The fine handwork is still available, and often at better prices in Suzhou than elsewhere, but it is not cheap.

  • Sunday Embroidery Studio | 1902 Senso International Plaza, 98 North Dongwu Road ☎ +86-1825-1161-121 This is a Suzhou-based company whose main business is exporting embroidery; the address is for their Suzhou distributor. Their web site is in English and has a lot of good background information on the history and techniques.

The Embroidery Institute is a lively enterprise producing high quality work which you can see on a tour of the facility. The gift shop has prices a little higher than at the street stalls but they will bargain and the quality is much better.

Silk fans, musical instruments, paintings and calligraphy, lanterns, mahogany furniture and jade carvings are all made in the city and all readily available. Prices can be very good, though you generally have to bargain to get a good price.

Freshwater pearls – the Suzhou area is part of the largest freshwater pearl-producing region in the world. Pearls can be purchased in every conceivable price and quality range, either singly or as strings or jewellery.

Sandalwood fans – folding fans made from thin ornately-stamped sheets of sandalwood- are another very old Suzhou craft and widely sold around the city. The scent of the breeze they generate while fanning is heavenly. Cheap versions are probably more mundane wood dipped in sandalwood oil, and will lose their scent rather quickly.

Tea is produced in Suzhou; the most famous locally-produced green tea is called 'Biluochun'. Large shops with endless varieties of tea can be found all around the city, and some have seating where you will be encouraged to come sit and sample a pot. See China#Tea for background.

Snuff bottles are a long-standing Suzhou craft that remains popular today. Tiny glass bottles are delicately painted on the inside with elaborate and beautiful pictures. The best ones are truly incredible works of art.

Supermarkets & department stores

  • InCity Plaza - Ying Xiang Cheng | Xiandai Dadao/Sujiahang Xian - One of Suzhou's most popular shopping malls, with a WalMart, chain fashion stores such as Next, H&M and Uniqlo.
  • Times Plaza & Modern Plaza | A suburban shopping area on the east side of Jinji Lake. Times Plaza is an open pedestrian area situated alongside a canal with some Halal restaurants and retail outlets, whilst Modern Plaza is a large mall selling many luxury brands. There is a Times Plaza stop on metro line 1. Alternately, buses 2 and 47 will get you close - get off at the International Expo Centre and walk 10 minutes to the east. Buses 219 and 168 will also stop by Times Plaza & Modern Plaza.

Bicycles

For the resident expatriate or the traveller planning some bicycle touring, Suzhou is an excellent place to buy a bicycle. Bikes are common anywhere in China (see China#By_bicycle) and the flat terrain around Suzhou encourages their use, and several major makers of bikes and parts have factories in the area; Shimano and Giant are both in Kunshan.

The commonest bikes in China are still heavy and single speed, but a wide range are available, including multi-speed road bikes, mountain bikes with various suspension types, ultra-aerodynamic triathlon bikes and electric scooters. As anywhere in China there are many hole-in-the-wall bike shops, some of them surprisingly good, and most department stores carry bikes at prices from about ¥200.

In Suzhou, two popular choices for low-to-midrange bikes are:

  • The French sports store Decathlon has a branch in the SIP (Auchan Shopping Mall 1F, 55 Jinjihu Lu, SIP) with reasonable selection and prices. Staff speak a little English.
  • The aptly named Taiwanese company Giant has a large store in Suzhou. (1607 Renmin Lu, Pingjiang-qu) Prices are somewhat cheaper than in the west, making them a popular choice. Staff don't speak much English.

There are also stores specialising in more upmarket equipment, including Silver Storm (city branch on Shizi Jie, Canglang-qu; SIP Branch on Xinggui Jie, SIP), Specialized Bicycles (Harmony Plaza, Ganjiang Dong Lu, Pingjiang-qu, next to the China Merchants Bank) and Trek Cycles (Xincheng Dasha, Xiandai Dadao, SIP, behind the Starbucks (Please do not support Starbucks as Starbucks supports Israel. Shun this Coffee and go for alternative brands and if possible for a Muslim owned brand.)).

Islam in Suzhou: Suzhou Taipingfang Mosque

Suzhou Taipingfang Mosque

Address: No. 29, Taipingfang, Yanmenshi Road, Suzhou
Name & Address in Chinese: 太平坊清真寺,苏州市阎门石路太平坊29号

How to Get to Suzhou Taipingfang Mosque

By Bus: Bus No. 2, 26, 44, and 202. Get off at Sanshan Street Station.
By Subway: Line 1. Get off at Sanshan Street Station.

The Historical and Cultural Hub

The Suzhou Taipingfang Mosque is not just a place of worship but a significant cultural and historical landmark in Suzhou. Established in 1924, this mosque has stood the test of time and has been a cornerstone for the local Muslim community for over 80 years. The mosque has undergone several renovations and expansions and now covers an area of 650 square meters. Despite these modernizations, it retains its historical essence, housing 10 stone steles from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Religious Activities and Community Gatherings

Every Jumat (Friday), the mosque welcomes around 200 local Muslims who gather to perform their prayers. On significant religious occasions, this number swells to over 1,000, as the mosque becomes a vibrant center of religious and cultural activities. These gatherings highlight the mosque's role as a vital hub for the Muslim community in Suzhou, fostering a sense of unity and spiritual fulfillment.

Headquarters of the Islamic Association in Suzhou

The Suzhou Taipingfang Mosque also serves as the headquarters of the Islamic Association in Suzhou, underscoring its importance in the religious and administrative aspects of the Muslim community. This role further cements the mosque's status as a central institution for Muslims in the city.

Architectural and Historical Significance

The mosque’s architecture reflects a blend of traditional Chinese and Islamic styles, creating a unique aesthetic that stands out in Suzhou. The presence of the ancient stone steles adds a layer of historical depth, offering a tangible connection to the city's past. These steles are not only valuable artifacts but also serve as a testament to the long-standing presence and integration of Islam in the region.

The Suzhou Taipingfang Mosque is more than just a place of worship; it is a historical and cultural landmark that embodies the rich heritage of the Muslim community in Suzhou. Its role as a center for religious activities, its historical significance, and its function as the headquarters of the Islamic Association make it a pivotal institution in the city. Whether you are a local Muslim, a visitor, or a history enthusiast, the Suzhou Taipingfang Mosque offers a unique glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of Suzhou's cultural and religious landscape.

Halal Restaurants in Suzhou

Suzhou, known for its picturesque canals and classical gardens, also offers a range of Halal dining options that cater to Muslim residents and visitors. Here are some notable Halal restaurants in Suzhou where you can enjoy delicious and authentic cuisine while adhering to Islamic dietary laws.

Beijiang Restaurant

Rating: 4.3 (7 reviews)
272 Xinshi Rd

Beijiang Restaurant is a popular spot for those seeking Halal Chinese cuisine. The restaurant is known for its flavorful dishes that are safe for Muslims to enjoy. With a variety of traditional Chinese offerings, this restaurant ensures a satisfying dining experience for all.

Soochow University Muslim Dining Hall

Rating: 3.8 (10 reviews)
Yucai Rd

Located within the Soochow University campus, this Muslim dining hall offers a convenient option for students and visitors. The dining hall provides a range of Halal meals, making it easy for Muslim students to maintain their dietary practices.

Muslim Noodles And Dish Restaurant

Rating: 4.0 (1 review)
Longtan Rd

Specializing in Noodles and various dishes, this restaurant offers a cozy environment for diners. The menu features a selection of Halal options, ensuring that everyone can enjoy a hearty meal.

Beijiang Restaurant (Xiyuan St)

Rating: 4.4 (5 reviews)
Xiyuan St

Another branch of the Beijiang Restaurant, this location on Xiyuan Street continues to provide excellent Halal Chinese cuisine. With a commitment to quality and authenticity, it’s a great choice for those looking to explore traditional flavors.

Muslim Damoxiao Restaurant

Rating: 5.0 (2 reviews)
Haoxi Rd

Muslim Damoxiao Restaurant stands out with its perfect rating, offering a variety of Chinese dishes that adhere to Halal guidelines. The restaurant's focus on quality and taste makes it a must-visit for Halal food enthusiasts.

Wenhui Food Center

Rating: 5.0 (1 review)
Wenhui Plaza

Within Wenhui Plaza, the green restaurant is a Halal gem owned by a Muslim proprietor. Known for its diverse menu and friendly atmosphere, it’s a fantastic spot to enjoy Halal cuisine.

Dongwu Noodles Restaurant

Rating: 5.0 (1 review)
118 Heshan Rd

Dongwu Noodles Restaurant is praised for its Halal offerings, particularly its noodles. The restaurant provides a welcoming environment and delicious meals that cater to Muslim dietary needs.

Mash Burgers Restaurant

Rating: 4.3 (46 reviews)
Suzhou Blvd E
Hours: Open until 10 PM

Mash Burgers Restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, offering a range of Halal Burgers and fast food options. With a strong reputation for tasty meals and a comfortable dining experience, it’s a great choice for casual dining.

Muslim Lanzhou Beef Stretched Noodles

Rating: 3.7 (3 reviews)
Lvshan Rd

Known for its beef stretched noodles, this restaurant provides Halal options for those seeking authentic Chinese Noodles dishes. It’s a reliable spot to enjoy a quick and satisfying meal.

Suzhou’s Halal dining scene is diverse and vibrant, offering a range of options for Muslim diners. Whether you're a local resident or a visitor, these restaurants ensure that you can enjoy delicious meals while adhering to your dietary practices. From traditional Chinese cuisine to modern fast food, Suzhou's Halal restaurants have something for everyone.

eHalal Group Launches Halal Guide to Suzhou

Suzhou - eHalal Travel Group, a leading provider of innovative Halal travel solutions for Muslim travelers to Suzhou, is thrilled to announce the official launch of its comprehensive Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Suzhou. This groundbreaking initiative aims to cater to the diverse needs of Muslim travelers, offering them a seamless and enriching travel experience in Suzhou and its surrounding regions.

With the steady growth of Muslim tourism worldwide, eHalal Travel Group recognizes the importance of providing Muslim travelers with accessible, accurate, and up-to-date information to support their travel aspirations to Suzhou. The Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide is designed to be a one-stop resource, offering an array of invaluable information on various travel aspects, all carefully curated to align with Islamic principles and values.

The Travel Guide encompasses a wide range of features that will undoubtedly enhance the travel experience for Muslim visitors to Suzhou. Key components include:

Halal-Friendly Accommodations in Suzhou: A carefully selected list of hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals that cater to halal requirements, ensuring a comfortable and welcoming stay for Muslim travelers in Suzhou.

Halal Food, Restaurants and Dining in Suzhou: A comprehensive directory of restaurants, eateries, and food outlets offering halal-certified or halal-friendly options in Suzhou, allowing Muslim travelers to savor local cuisines without compromising their dietary preferences in Suzhou.

Prayer Facilities: Information on masjids, prayer rooms, and suitable locations for daily prayers in Suzhou, ensuring ease and convenience for Muslim visitors in fulfilling their religious obligations.

Local Attractions: An engaging compilation of Muslim-friendly attractions, cultural sites such as Museums, and points of interest in Suzhou, enabling travelers to explore the city's rich heritage while adhering to their values.

Transport and Logistics: Practical guidance on transportation options that accommodate Muslim travel needs, ensuring seamless movement within Suzhou and beyond.

Speaking about the launch, Irwan Shah, Chief Technology Officer of eHalal Travel Group in Suzhou, stated, "We are thrilled to introduce our Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide in Suzhou, a Muslim friendly destination known for its cultural richness and historical significance. Our goal is to empower Muslim travelers with accurate information and resources, enabling them to experience the wonders of Suzhou without any concerns about their faith-based requirements. This initiative reaffirms our commitment to creating inclusive and memorable travel experiences for all our clients."

The eHalal Travel Group's Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Suzhou is now accessible on this page. The guide will be regularly updated to ensure that Muslim travelers have access to the latest information, thus reinforcing its status as a reliable companion for Muslim travelers exploring Suzhou.

About eHalal Travel Group:

eHalal Travel Group Suzhou is a prominent name in the global Muslim travel industry, dedicated to providing innovative and all-inclusive travel solutions tailored to the needs of Muslim travelers worldwide. With a commitment to excellence and inclusivity, eHalal Travel Group aims to foster a seamless travel experience for its clients while respecting their religious and cultural values.

For Halal business inquiries in Suzhou, please contact:

eHalal Travel Group Suzhou Media: info@ehalal.io

Buy Muslim Friendly condos, Houses and Villas in Suzhou

eHalal Group Suzhou is a prominent real estate company specializing in providing Muslim-friendly properties in Suzhou. Our mission is to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Muslim community by offering a wide range of halal-certified residential and commercial properties, including houses, condos, and factories. With our commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and adherence to Islamic principles, eHalal Group has established itself as a trusted name in the real estate industry in Suzhou.

At eHalal Group, we understand the importance of meeting the unique requirements of Muslim individuals and families seeking properties that align with their cultural and religious trainings. Our extensive portfolio of Muslim-friendly properties in Suzhou ensures that clients have access to a diverse selection of options tailored to their needs. Whether it's a luxurious villa, a modern condominium, or a fully equipped factory, our team is dedicated to assisting clients in finding their ideal property.

For those seeking a comfortable and modern living space, our condos are an excellent choice. Starting at US$ 350,000 and these condominium units offer contemporary designs, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient locations within Suzhou. Each condo is thoughtfully designed to incorporate halal-friendly features and amenities, ensuring a seamless integration of Islamic values into everyday living.

If you are looking for a more spacious option, our houses are perfect for you. Starting at US$ 650,000, our houses provide ample living space, privacy, and a range of customizable features to meet your specific requirements. These houses are located in well-established neighborhoods in Suzhou, offering a harmonious balance between modern living and Islamic values.

For those seeking luxury and exclusivity, our luxury villas in Suzhou are the epitome of sophistication and elegance. Starting at US$ 1.5 million and these villas offer a lavish lifestyle with private amenities, breathtaking views, and meticulous attention to detail. Each luxury villa is meticulously designed to provide a serene and halal environment, allowing you to enjoy the finest living experience while adhering to your Islamic principles. For further details please email us at realestate@ehalal.io

Muslim Friendly hotels in Suzhou

Stay safe as a Muslim in Suzhou

Suzhou is a safe place on the whole but there are a few things to watch out for. Pickpocketing is common on crowded buses, and around the north bus station and the train station. Watch out for incredibly pushy hawkers operating on Guanqian Jie shopping street - they generally charge ridiculous prices for counterfeit goods.

Taxis are generally safe although it's advisable not to follow agents operating around tourist sights or the train station.

Remember that in China it's legal for vehicle drivers to make a right turn against a red light - albeit they ignore the latter part of the rule 'turn with caution' - it's all too common for cars, and more notoriously, trucks, to fly round an intersection too fast and unfortunately accidents involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are too common. Always keep an eye out in both directions when crossing the street.

Medical Issues in Suzhou

Suzhou skyline

Some travelers may need to worry about the air quality in Suzhou, although the problem is not as bad as in nearby Shanghai or Nanjing.

As is the case for most of China and the tap water is not recommended for drinking but OK for washing. Filtered and boiled tap water is considered safer for drinking.

As Suzhou is a water town and there is a high presence of mosquitoes in the summer; luckily, repellant can be found in every convenience store, and they don't carry any known diseases in this area, so they're more of an annoyance than a hazard.

News & References Suzhou


Explore more Halal friendly Destinations from Suzhou

Suzhou has a central position in East China and anywhere in the region is accessible. The other major cities of the area — Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou — are all both economically important and major tourist destinations. Some of the lesser cities may also be of interest:

  • Wuxi is so close that people from either city often shop or dine in the other
  • Yixing is famous for pottery, especially teapots
  • Yangzhou is historically important and Zhengjiang, just across the river, was the girlhood home of Nobel Prize writer Pearl Buck

See East_China#Go_next for some possibilities beyond the region.

Suzhou is close to Lake Tai, which is a major recreational area. Day trips to the lake are feasible going straight west from Suzhou or going via towns which are right on the lake, Wuxi to the north or the Suzhou suburb Wujiang to the south. Longer trips are also feasible; see the Lake Tai Travel Guide.

The whole region around Suzhou is flat Yangtze Delta terrain and has water towns, once the market towns for agricultural areas. All have picturesque canals with old houses along them and many bridges, and many are set up to accommodate tourists. Suzhou itself is very much a water town, and some travellers will find that enough. However, smaller places may be more picturesque or better preserved. Many agencies in Suzhou offer tours to some of these — especially to ones within Suzhou such as Zhouzhuang, Tongli and Zhen Ze. All are within an hour's travel of central Suzhou, and these tours are quite popular.

Another water town, Mudu, can easily be visited without taking a tour since it is the last stop going west on Metro Line 1. It is reportedly a bit shabby, not as pretty or developed as some of the others, but this may change now that it is more accessible.

See also our lists of water towns in East China and within Shanghai.

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