If you travel to Shanghai, don’t miss these two cities near Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou. From Shanghai to Suzhou, it takes around 30 minutes using High Speed Train. From Suzhou to Hangzhou, it takes around 1 hour 35 minutes using High Speed Train. From Shanghai to Hangzhou, it takes around 1 hour using High Speed Train. For more schedule train details along with the prices, please check on ctrip.com.
Well, actually why do you have to travel to these two cities? What special about Suzhou and Hangzhou? Let’s check it out.
1. Suzhou and Hangzhou have beautiful views
There’s an ancient Chinese proverb says, “上有天堂，下有苏杭”, which literally means “Up there is a heaven, down here are Suzhou and Hangzhou”. It actually means that Suzhou and Hangzhou are so beautiful like a heaven. From the ancient times, Suzhou and Hangzhou have been recognized by its natural beauty. And when I had a chance to visit these two cities, I agree with the proverb. Suzhou and Hangzhou have so many beautiful views. However, my local Chinese friend said that Suzhou and Hangzhou used to more beautiful than now. Maybe because there are a lot of tourist came to these cities, so it’s not as beautiful as before. But since it’s the first time for me to be there, I think Suzhou and Hangzhou are so beautiful, like the proverb said 🙂
2. Suzhou is regarded as ” Garden City” and “Venice of the East”
This second point is related with the first point above. Why Suzhou has beautiful views? In my opinion, the answer is because Suzhou is regarded as “Garden City” and “Venice of the East”. Suzhou has a lot of gardens, but there are 4 most popular gardens and have the ancient Chinese style: Lion Grove Garden (Shizilin 狮子林), Canglang Pavilion (Blue Wave Pavilion), Lingering Garden (Liu Yuan) and Humble Administrator’s Garden (Zhuozheng Yuan). Read my experience traveled to Lion Grove Garden (Shizilin 狮子林) and Humble Administrator’s Garden (Zhuozheng Yuan) here.
Suzhou is dominated by river and the unique thing is there are some canals around the city. Suzhou used to recognized as one of the most famous port city in China. That’s why Suzhou is called “Venice of the East”. To me, Suzhou is a beautiful small city in Jiangsu Province. But in fact, Suzhou is the second biggest city in Jiangsu Province after Nanjing city.
3. Hangzhou has the famous West Lake and Lingyin Temple
If Suzhou is the place to enjoy the garden and canal view, so Hangzhou, the major city of Zhejiang Provice is the place to enjoy lake view of the popular West Lake. I guess you already know the legend story of “Bai Su Zhen 白素贞” or “Madame White Snake”. This is the legend which was originated as a folktale and was already well known during the Song dynasty, then told by mouth to mouth in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang Province. It has been presented in a number of major Chinese operas, films and television series. According to the legend, West Lake is the meeting point of Madame White Snake and her husband Xu Xian. Now it’s become a tourist spot, especially during Spring and Summer.
There are two touristic spot in West Lake, “The Broken Bridge” where Madame White Snake and her husband first and last met, and “Leifeng Pagoda” where Madame White Snake was caged after destroy Hangzhou city.
Well, actually my Chinese name is “Cai Su Zhen 蔡素贞”. The “Su Zhen” is the same with “Su Zhen” of Bai Su Zhen, or Madame White Snake. Moreover the pronunciation of family name is quite the same. My family name is Cai 蔡, and the White Snake’s family name is Bai 白. If I met Chinese people, and when I spell my Chinese name, they automatically said about the legend of Bai Su Zhen in Hangzhou. And because I have been to Hangzhou and visit West Lake, I said to them that it’s like going back to home. LOL :)))
Not only West Lake, in Hangzhou there’s also Lingyin Temple, a Chan Buddhism temple which located in the middle of 2 mountains, the Peak of Mount Feilai and Beigao. Read my travel experience in Lingyin Temple, here.
Anyway for your additional information, Hangzhou is the center of politics, economy, culture, and transportation in Zhejiang Province, also the largest silk producer in China Mainland and has more than 1000 years history of tea processing. Marco Polo had been in Hangzhou for a while, and said “Hangzhou is the most beautiful city and incredible in the world.” I believe you also know Jack Ma, the most popular, rich, and influential person who come from China. His hometown is actually in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. The G20 meetings 2016 were also held in Hangzhou. These facts are the proof that Hangzhou is a city that worth to visit in China.