Lion Grove (Shizilin) is arguably Suzhou's best example of using a garden to evoke images in the mind. Taihu lake rock arrangements display leonine forms throughout the garden.
Lion Grove pleases the mind with discoveries around every corner as you use your imagination to appreciate the forms around you.
This garden is not very large and gets crowded relatively quickly. Going early to beat the crowds could help. A visit here can be followed by a visit to the larger Humble Administrator's Garden not far to the north on
Open: 8am to 5pm daily.
Cost: Tickets are RMB15.
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North Temple Pagoda is one of Suzhou's less restored and therefore more authentic, temple attractions. Built in the 3rd century, and rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty, North Temple Pagoda (Beisi Ta) towers over modern Suzhou and is a great place to get a fantastic view of the city. The temple is said to be the tallest pagoda south of the Yangtze River.
North Temple Pagoda is less popular with Chinese tourists and should not be as crowded as other Suzhou sights. If you have a few extra days to spend in Suzhou, it is nice to spend an afternoon visiting this ancient pagoda. You can also enjoy a cup of Biluochun tea (a famous regional tea) at the teahouse on the premises.
Open: 8am to 5:30pm daily.
How to get there: The Pagoda is very close to Suzhou Railway Station off Xibei Jie in the north of the city.
Cost: Tickets are RMB10 (for the grounds) and RMB5 to climb the pagoda itself.
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Suzhou's Temple of Mystery (Xuanmiaoguan) is not just another Daoist Temple! It is Suzhou's most active place of worship and houses a great collection of Southern Song Dynasty religious statues.
The most important hall in the temple is Sanqing Hall, which is dedicated to the main gods of Daoism with Tianshanglaojun most prominent.
The statues here have a high degree of artistic detail, excellent scale, solemn facial expressions, and dignified postures. These statues, some of which are 17 meters high, are some of the best examples of Song Dynasty religious sculpture existing today.
The temple also contains a collection of stone carvings, preserved paintings and calligraphy from the Tang Dynasty.
Open: 8am to 4pm daily.
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Tiger Hill Park is simply one of Suzhou's greatest attractions! Within the park walls, there are lots of great sights, filled with history and legend. All in all, this is great place for a picnic or an afternoon of exploring.
Tiger Hill (Huqiu) is the final resting place of the ruler of ancient Suzhou, He Lu. The area was named Tiger Hill after a tiger was seen lying on He Lu's tomb. One of Tiger Hill's most famous spots is Sword Pond (Jianchi). He Lu was a famous warrior and sword collector and the Sword Pond is said to hold He Lu's treasured swords in its watery depths.
Tiger Hill also houses the Yunyan Pagoda, that has been leaning since the before the Qing Dynasty. Today this 1000-year-old (from the Sui Dynasty) pagoda has become a symbol of
Last, but certainly not least, the Wanjing Villa (Wanjing Shanzhuang) is simply one of Huqiu's best attractions. Wanjing Villa is a garden of potted landscapes and "bonzai-style" shrubs, covering an area of about 1700 square meters. Some are the potted landscapes are quite small and some are not potted at all, but are small displays set up like miniature Suzhou gardens. All are intended to evoke images of marvelous mountain and forest scenery in the viewer's mind.
It's best to take a full afternoon to explore this wonderful historic park.
Open: 7:30am to 5:30pm, closing at 4:30pm in Winter.
How to get there: Take bus number 5 to the end of the line.
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West Garden Temple (Xiyuan Si) is a one of Suzhou's active temples and a beautiful garden combined! In the garden section of the West Garden Temple, there is a pool where Buddhist worshippers have placed fish and other wetlife. The creatures are ritually "set free" into the pool and taken care of by the temple.
In the temple section of the complex, the Hall of the 500 Arhats is particularly interesting. In the center of the Hall stands a 13 meter high statue of Guanyin Bodhisattva with 1000 eyes and 1000 hands, made of a single piece of sandalwood. Not far from that statue is a unique Buddha statue whose face has four sides with four different expressions. It is said that the four sides represent the four sacred mountains of Chinese Buddhism and the Buddhas worshipped at each sacred mountain.
This is an active temple and the crowds can get rather large, especially on weekends and Chinese holidays. Visiting in the morning may help keep crowds down.
Open: 7am to 4:30pm daily.
How to get there: Take a taxi west in the direction of Tiger Hill or take bus number five.
Cost: Tickets are RMB8.