Explore Suzhou's Old Alleys | Eastern China's Old Residential Area | 4K HDR | Jiangsu | 苏州 | 巷子
Suzhou is a street photographer’s daydream. Old streets, narrow alleys and a network of canals. The houses remind me of Beijing hutongs. If you enter through the front door, you will find yourself in a narrower alley that zigzags around many small houses.
Kind of like a commune. Most of the people living here are old Suzhounese people or migrants that only want a small space and a cheap rent. It is amazing how quiet these alleys are.
They are right in the city center, but you turn a corner from a busy street, enter one of them and it is like if you travelled back in time, or to a very remote village. There was almost no people, only a few grandmas chatting and a couple of children playing. One of the alleys was completely empty. It was so quiet!
There are a lot of old wells in that area and people still use their water to wash clothes and vegetables. I wouldn’t mind living in one of those alleys! Although the rooms in the ground floor must be pretty dark. In contrast to cities like Shanghai, Suzhou enjoys a landscape of fairly low-rise buildings, green leafy parks and a canal system that winds its way through the city. The city itself and outlying area has about 12 million people and is a bustling metropolis that is the best of new and old China.
Suzhou boasts buildings over 2,000 years old while modern cutting-edge skyscrapers glimmer in the distance. The beauty of Suzhou can be found in its abundance of classical Chinese gardens, which have been added collectively as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Old Town of Suzhou is abundant with classical gardens, the bells of historical Hanshan Temple, the majesty of the Beisita Pagoda, and the nearby Suzhou New District showcases natural beauty in the Liuyan, Tianping, Tianchi and Dongting mountains along Lake Tai, one of the largest freshwater lakes in China. Just a short travel by bullet train from Shanghai, and easy access to numerous waterside cities, Suzhou is an amazing place to live. Here is the top 10 Suzhou food you should try: Pan-Fried Bun. Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish. Taihu Lake Three Whites. Noodles with Red Soup. Gorgon Fruit with Sweet Osmanthus. Cherry-shaped Pork.
Fermented Rice Wine Cake. Quick-fried Shrimps with Biluochun Tea. Suzhou is a beautiful and historic city. It is located in the south-east of Jiangsu Province. On the map it can be found half way between Beijing and Hong Kong and nowhere near Singapore, but very close to Shanghai. SIP’s train station has a high-speed train to the center of Shanghai, taking just 25 minutes to reach the city.
Shanghai boasts tennis tournaments, grand prix, top flight soccer, museums, art galleries, theatres, musicals, and world class dining. The weather in Suzhou is mild with four distinct seasons. The temperature peaks in July. Spring and Autumn are very pleasant.
Winter is not too cold, and with breaks for Christmas and Chinese New Year, there is always the chance to retreat to warmer climates. There are shopping malls with international chains such as Sam’s Club, Walmart, Auchuan, and IKEA. Every type of restaurant can be found from Australian and US steak houses to Greek cuisine, charming Italian bistros and Mexican fare. Of course, all different types of Chinese are available to try from traditional Suzhou fish to spicy Szechuan to Cantonese.
And if eating out isn’t your thing, restaurant delivery is commonly used and available for most restaurants. We are lucky to have several expat grocery delivery services available making it is possible to get international groceries delivered without ever having to go to a store. There is always something to do on the weekends and at night. Suzhou is full of arts, culture, parks and recreational outlets. Residential areas are regularly punctuated by parks and gardens.
The Suzhou Arboretum is about 10 minutes on bike from the school. The Cultural Arts Centre boasts performances from Austrian choirs, German orchestras, English drama companies and all kinds of local talent. The Suzhou Sports Complex hosts all types of major sporting events.
Suzhou has lured many Fortune 500 companies and is a recreational spot for locals and expats. It has a shopping and entertainment district named Times Square, a London Eye–like Ferris wheel, multiple Western and Asian restaurants, bars, theaters, and a concert hall, plus colorful musical fountains on Jinji Lake at night—and it’s all just a 20-minute subway ride from the heart of Old Town. The W Hotel, Sheraton, and the Shangri-La recently joined a stampede of Western hotel brands that include the stylish Tonino Lamborghini, a Hilton, and a Hyatt Regency. On the outskirts are fantastic ancient towns from centuries ago, old buildings delicately crafted and rigorously lived in. The city is studded with parks and Buddhist temples, street food and dusty roads.
Almost every street has a bridge over a river or canal. To the South of Suzhou lies the ancient town of Tongli, which is a definite must-see. Full of winding roads and bustling markets, this town has seen centuries roll by and has barely changed. In Suzhou city center there are brand new shopping malls, western chain coffee shops, and places you can get Western comforts and food you’ll recognize.
At night the city skyline lights up in neon colors and reflects off the lake to create an awe inspiring display. The clubs in Suzhou are crazy, with DJs and live music. V Suzhou city is huge, and I don’t think I’ll ever run out of things to do – even if it’s just staring at the skyline. It’s a city of art, culture, history, business, excitement. There really is something for everyone here.