Exploring Suzhou, China, Venice of the East

suzhou grand canal main gingerbread

Master Garden of the Nets

master garden of the nets water

buildings at master garden of the nets.

Room at the garden of the nets

  • The Master of the Nets Garden is the smallest but most impressive of the Suzhou residential gardens. In the 1100’s the studies in the central gardens were filled with books earning the nickname, Hall of Ten Thousand Books. In the 1600’s, it became known as the Fisherman’s Retreat.

rocks at master of the nets garden

me at master garden of the nets suzhou

  • In 1997, the Master of the Nets Garden was added to UNESCO World Heritage List. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization encourages preservation of irreplaceable cultural and natural heritage while providing life and inspiration around the world. 

master garden of the nets pavilion

Yinjing Bridge Suzhou

  • The garden is divided into 3 sections: the central garden, inner garden, and residential section. The central garden is filled with pathways, vegetation, and buildings surrounding a pond. Each rock, tree, and structure is perfectly placed to create a tranquil retreat. All rooms lead to the pond, including the Ribbon Washing Pavilion, Peony Study, and Moon and Wind Pavilion. One of the structures in the garden can only be accessed by Yinjing Bridge, a small stone bridge less than 12 inches wide (pictured above).

The Grand Canal

homes along the grand canal

entrance to suzhou canal

  • The Grand Canal in Suzhou, a traditional Chinese water town, is known as Venice of the East.  A entrance announces the beginning of Shantang Street, also known as the Seven Mile Shantang

boats in the grand canal

red building at grand canal suzhou

  • The Grand Canal reaching over 1,100 miles begins in Beijing and ends in Hangzhou. It is the longest and oldest man-made waterway in the world. Many boats offer tours through the canal passing under 20 stone bridges, by 10 city gates, 2 temples, and homes along the river. 

mitch in suzhou china

along the grand canal in suzhou

cafe along the suzhou canal

  • The canal is lined with shops selling everything imaginable, restaurants, and cafes. Getting caught in the rain, we easily find an umbrella for 15 Yuan, about $2.50 USD in a nearby shop. Unfortunately are are unable to located the name of this small, eclectic restaurant filled with strings of lights, memorabilia, a small stage, and American Christmas music. The Jasmine tea arrives unfiltered and still isn’t cool enough for us to drink after an order of dumplings and 2 beers.

Traveling Gingerbread Note: Many restaurants displaying Coffee Bar in the name sell alcoholic beverages. 

suzhou grand canal

grand canal at night

  • We watch the canal transform as night begins to fall. Red lanterns flicker on one by one, store advertisements in Chinese begin illuminating the sidewalks, and the reflection of the lights shimmer in the canal. We admire the changing scenery, protected from the rain, under one of many giant umbrellas lining the canal.

lanterns along the grand canal at night

*For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures China Express.


September 2017

Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

The Traveling Gingerbread is a place for us to share budget travel tips for people with full time jobs, fun facts, itineraries, and where to find the best craft beer. We have been traveling together since 2013. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, experiences, and local breweries. We can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. In 2019, we brewed our first beer and were hooked, although, we have no intentions of brewing more than small batches. We'll continue our self appointed roles of professional testers and creating craft beer trails.

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