Suzhou is a historic garden town, about half an hour from both Shanghai and Nanjing by high-speed rail. Famous for its canals and carefully cultivated gardens, Suzhou has plenty of Chinese culture to offer. The buses will take you everywhere you need to go, up until about 10 pm. For those who want to see the sky, Suzhou is notable among Chinese cities for a lack of skyscrapers and a distinct style of architecture, those Chinese-type houses you always see in books with the sloped tile roofs and whitewashed walls. You will not be the only foreigner in Suzhou, and you may not get as many strange looks as Americans in small towns do. This can be a pro and a con: you can blend in more easily, but you may have to make more of an effort to make Chinese friends.
Air: The Sunan Shuofang International Airport is shared between Suzhou and Wuxi, and is the best way to access the rest of the country. The airport is located 22 km northwest of Suzhou and can be access by public transportation.
Train: There are 4 public train stations in Suzhou, allowing you to access all major areas in the city. If your looking to visit Shanghai you can use the bullet train railway for a quick journey. Bullet Trains are the fastest moving landlocked transportation in the world, and can even reach speeds of 320 km/h!
Bus: Suzhou has over 200 bus lines running throughout the city, allowing you to access all of Suzhou. Most station are named after the roads that they are on, making its simple and easy to navigate throughout the city.
Taxi: Suzhou has over 4000 operational taxis and over 20 taxi companies, so you will have a variety of options to choose from. Simply handing the taxi driver your hotel card with the address on it is an effective way to get back home.
Suzhou silk is regarded as the best in China, which can be found in malls and shops all throughout Suzhou. If you have an interest in silk the Suzhou Silk Museum is a must-see. Additionally Su embroidery, which is one of the 4 traditional styles of embroidery, is prevalent throughout the city to purchase. Guanqian Street is a popular shopping attraction, containing both shops and restaurant that have been in business for year. If you are looking for lavish jewelry and pearls the Weitang Chinese Pearl and Gem City Mall is a perfect place to buy authentic treasure.
Food and Drink:
Suzhou is known for its tea, with various flavors and recipes found throughout the city. Ann's Tea house is a western hot-spot for tea and food, and is definitely a must-see. Bi Lou Chun tea is native only to Suzhou, and is one of China's ten famous teas with over a thousand years of history.
Cuisine in Suzhou is praised by all of China, offering a unique sweet taste only found in the city. Fresh seafood is plentiful as Suzhou is located next to Taihu Lake. De Yue Liu is a local favorite that is well known for its boat-style food and its mandarin fish.
The Shiquan Street bars are some of the best in the city, and is known for its central location and cheap drinks. Pulp Fiction is a club well-known for its nightlife that has a huge TV screen that plays sports 24/7. It is easy to meet with the local student and teachers in the street bars because of its proximity to the schools and colleges.
There are also many dishes particular to Suzhou that you should check out and try: