Suzhou downtwon - Guan Qian Street
Apart from popular tourist spot, maybe you would like to explorer some of the city's real life and then Guan Qian Street is the place to go. It has been and is still the downtown of Suzhou. Again the place was full remodeled a couple of years ago but the old style of architectures are preserved there. On the street, you will still be able to find shops with hundres of years selling traditional Suzhou snacks, desserts, noodle soups and dinners. There is an small street besides it has a lot of resturants including some famous suzhou cuisine resturants such as "De Yue Lou", "Wang Si Jiu Jia". But I haven't been to those resturants for year myself so I really don't have an opinion on them.
"Guan Qian" street means before the temple. The central of the street is ChengHuang temple. Nearly every city in the old China has a ChengHuang temple. It is almost like a city hall for the city. It is a place for gathering and pray. A lot of the love stories in old China happen in such temples because it is the only place a mistress can go outside her home.
It's a temple on the edge of the Grand Canal.
It is famous for a poem by a poet in Tang Dynasty, Zhangji.
The poet stayed in the temple, during the night he heard bell rings from the ship on the canal. He wrote a very famous poem, "A Night Mooring near Maple Bridge".
Here is a website to learn more about the temple:
Suzhou, not just another city
"Historic and Cultural"
Pictured in this intro page are just a sampling of what you can find in Suzhou. I recently toured the Humble Administrato's Garden. I find nothing humble about the garden iteself as it is spectacular with intricate pathways and lotus plants on steroids. A must see if you are ever in the area. There are at least dozens of other famous and scenic gardens for you to explore.
The garden is a good example of blend of all the fundamental elements of water, plant, earth and people. Of course, it is difficult to predict the behaviour of visitors. But the garden is quite large and it is often possible to find a small piece of the garden to enjoy with relative peace. One can always bring an iPod if you really want isolation. Beauty surrounds you everywhere you go. It is easy to loose track of time if you take to time to sit and really relax and take in the beauty of it all.
"Contrast and Texture"
One of the masterful designs of the garden is the seemingly perfect blend of contrast and texture as demonstrated by the choice of foilage and architecture. The water which makes up most of the garden is the medium which connects it all together. The design of this garden is not by accident, very lovely place to visit.