Some great silk, local craft, stamps and paintings.
What to buy: If you can speak the language bargain hard and you will get some great priced items, unfortunatley for me i must have had a sign around my neck saying "tourist" and did not buy any thing, but Shirley girl had a great spend on the silk clothing....go Shirley!
What to pay: not much if your good!...lol
A small shop at the basement of Sheraton Suzhou sells double sided embroidery. I sincerely wanted a big room divider but it costs thousands and normally comes framed so transporting it back to Manila would be a feat.
Try online shops but the process of actual selection is a feast for the senses.
What to buy: Double sided embroidery. Silk trinkets sold for less than RMB1 when I bought some in HKG for HKG5 each. :(
What to pay: Things are generally cheaper in Suzhou than in Shanghai or HKG.
Chinese traditional fan is a kind of art, Wang Xing Ji is one of the most famous brand of fan. Buy some fans and bring them back as gift for your friends, I like the design which with black colour on background and white handwriting on the front.
What to buy: fan
What to pay: tens to thousands RMBs for a fan
In Suzhou you have a whole area with only shops for wedding dresses. I didn't count them but I think there are between 100 and 200 shops there. A real dream for women (or a nightmare for indecisive women). :-)
Apparently most women from Shanghai go to buy their wedding dress in this area. The dresses are twice as cheap as in Shanghai.
Another important point: they do some corrections (make longer, shorter, wider, thinner) on your dress in 1 or 2 hours.
One thing you have to be careful for: I heard that the shops sometimes charge higher for foreign customers.
What to pay: In 2004, my wife bought a stunning (see picture) wedding dress for 40 euro.
The shop Cai Zhi Zhai was established in 1870, during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing Dynasty. It specializes in producing Suzhou foodstuff eg. sweets, cakes, preserved foods etc. The philosophy of the shop is the old ancient Chinese belief of eating healthy (ie. consuming food with medical benefits).
What to buy: We bought "Bei Mu Gong Tang" - a kind of sweetened cough drops made with medicinal herbs. My friends had bought a packet of these sweets for me, and it was really quite good for soothing sore throats and coughing. Each packet has 12 individually wrapped sweets inside. It is said that the Empress Dowager Cixi had also taken these sweets, and recovered from a persistent cough she was suffering from.
What to pay: 2 RMB for a packet
Suzhou is also famous for Jade Craft, but it is quite hard to give advices on how to buy one. It is usually quite difficult for people to judge between good jade and bad jade so it is very likely you will get cheated and end up buying something not worth the money.
Suzhou is famous for its embroidery. Double-face embrodery is an embordery that have same or different view on both side of cloth.
Really good embroidery is very expensive because it is both an art and labour consuming craft.
The Shop is a part of the silk processing factory. The shopping area is divided into 3 parts: bed linen selling quilts and covers; silk decorative items and finally a section selling clothings.
What to buy: Was recommended to buy the silk quilt, costing RMB400. The cover for the quilt ranges from RMB 760 (one side silk, the other cotton) to RMB2000 (both sides silk). Move on to other sections of the shop/factory to get the silk clothings. The clothing section is considerably huge.
What to pay: For silk products, you can expect the prices to be quite high. The tour guide will tell you that the silk sold here is 100% authenticate while those outside may not be. I am not experienced enough to judge however.
This is one of the most buy in Suzhou Guan Xian Street...It sells lots of different local candies.This is a government owned shop and hence no bargaining is entertainment.
One of the must buy would be the candies once eaten by Empress Cixi.Look out for the packaging which has a picture of Empress Cixi on it.
100 year old Silk Fabric Manufacturer. The prize winning factory is the only grade one state enterprise in China's silk industry. Most od the silk produced here never makes in to the China's market.
What to buy: Silk and mixed silk fabric
Suzhou has long been a major producer of the finest silk in the world. Hence, it is nicknamed the Home of Silk. Silk produced here are of superior quality if you buy from government runned outlets.
Tour to Suzhou will not be complete without a visit to silk museum / factory.
Here you can also learn about the process of making silk, turning cocoon into silk thread.
What to buy: Consider buying a silk quilt which is warm during winter months & cooling during summer months. It is also dubbed as "longetivity blanket" as it can last almost a lifetime. Other things to buy are silk scarf, tie & clothings.
What to pay: A single-bed quilt costs about RMB380.
This is the busiest street in Suzhou, dotted with old & reputable merchants & restaurants.
Eg: Chaizijai Shop famous for its assortment of candies, Lugaojian Shop renowned for its marinated duck & pork, etc. This street has been given a facelift to become wider & modern thus it had lost some of its traditional appeal.
Established since 1870, this is the trademark for Suzhou candies.
What to buy: It has more than four hundreds variety of products categorised into candies, roasted seeds, preserved fruits, biscuits & salted range.
You may consider to buy some of its favourite candies / cakes like dumpling candies, crispy candies, etc.
What to pay: Most of the food stuff here are sold according to weight in gramms. Remember 1 kati is equivalent to 500g and not 600g.
There are many silk factories in Suzhou. This city is famous for its natural silk from silkworms.
What to buy: Purchase the silk blankets for a fraction of the cost of outside of mainland China.
What to pay: RMB380 for a single/double blanket.
This is where the locals shop!
What to buy: any localy dried product from mushrooms to a good selection of fish or you can get a good deal on Chinese tea!
The little shops are very good value!
What to buy: You can find anything from food, drinks and even a great selection of fireworks....no smoking...lmao!
What to pay: cheap