A few bus stops from Wuxi train station, this is a lively area with shops and restaurants aplenty. In the middle of the square is a statue of Hua Yanjun, better known as A-Bing, a blind performing artiste who lived in the earlier part of the 20th century. A native of Wuxi, he lived in poverty and destitution, surviving on busking. His most famous work was a piece for the erhu named Reflection of the Moon in the Spring (in Chinese Er4 Quan2 Ying4 Yue4).
Alright, this tip is about Plum Garden, stop guessing. :)
Located in the west part of downtown Wuxi, it's somewhat enroute to Turtle Head Isle on Tai Lake. It is traditionally one of the popular viewing spots for plum blossoms in this area of China.
Wrong time for plum blossoms when I visited in late March, instead we were treated to a variety of colourful tulips, though there would be more of them had we come perhaps a week or two later.
Admission should be 35 RMB from 1/1 to 20/5, and 30 RMB for the rest of the year.
Named after its shape (on the map it looks like a turtle's head), Turtle Head Isle is probably the most popular place to take in the sights of Tai Lake, the biggest lake in this part of China.
I've been here at least 3 times IIRC, once in winter (January 2005) and twice in spring (March 2005, and March 2009). I'd say not to bother coming in winter unless you have some masochistic interest in experiencing biting cold wind!
In spring the place is livened up by the addition of colourful blooming flowers. If you visit at the right time (in 2009 we visited at the end of March) you can catch some beautiful sakura. However if you're coming in sakura season I would strongly recommend visiting on a weekday, otherwise you'll see more human heads than flowers.
Sanshan island, reachable by ferry (round-trip included in the price of the admission ticket) has some tacky "attractions" such as a copycat Longmen Grottoes, a big Lao Tzu (founder of Taoism) statue, a temple with a terribly tall Jade Emperor of Heaven, etc.
Admission price has now increased to 105 RMB, with the student price remaining unchanged at 50 RMB -- however note that graduate students are NOT eligible for student price. Price includes the round-trip ferry ride to Sanshan (Three Hills), and the tour bus inside the park that saves you some walking.
Admission is 25 RMB for the "bare" entry ticket, just the entrance fee and nothing else. There are 3 combination tickets, A (45 RMB) is entrance fee + cable car (return). I can't remember what B (45 RMB too) includes but I think it's the entrance fee and the zoo; can't remember about C but I think it's 55 RMB and includes entrance and the silly playgrounds.
Sakura ain't just in Japan, they're in Wuxi too! Or more specifically, on Changchun Bridge of Turtle Head Isle, on the bank of Tai Lake. To catch them, come in March-April. Apart from sakura, in spring there're also resplendently colourful flowers of various kinds to tease your lenses.
The tour guide told us that foot and body massages are cheap and good in Wuxi, and brought us to one of the massage centres. The whole massage lasted for about 1 hour 40 minutes, and cost 120 RMB.
We were told that female customers should get a male masseuse, and vice versa for the male customers. This is based on the Yin-Yang theory (female are "yin", and male are "yang". Thus getting a man to massage a woman would balance the yin and the yang in the body).
The session started off with a foot massage. We soaked our feet into a tub of hot herbal mixture for about 10-15 minutes. The masseuse then proceeded to massage each foot. After about 40 minutes, we were then taken to another room for the body massage.
Customers will be fully clothed during traditional Chinese body massages. After the massage, we felt really good and refreshed.
Li Lake (Lihu) is a bay of Tai Lake (Taihu). Tai Lake is a huge lake, about 400 times the size of Singapore.
The Li Lake is named after the legend of Fan Li and Xi Shi (one of the four beauties of ancient China). Xi Shi was from the country of Yue, and was presented to the ruler of Wu as a concubine. Her role was to sow discord between the Wu ruler and his loyal officials. She succeeded, and the Wu ruler neglected the state affairs to spend more time with her. In the end, the Wu kingdom was destroyed by the Yue army. After Xi Shi has returned to her hometown, it is said that she led a life of seclusion with Fan Li. They led a carefree life and went boating on this lake, thus the name "Li Lake".
The finale of our visit to this studio is watching a show - the battle at the Hulao Fortress (Liu, Guan, Zhang Da Zhan Lu Bu). In this story, the 3 sworn-brothers - Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei fought against Lu Bu (well-known for his extraordinary strength and martial skills) outside the Hulao Fortress (Hulao Guan). The performers did their stunts on horses, and it was quite entertaining. These performers were originally stuntsmen who were involved in the filming of the TV series, and they stayed on to perform when this studio was converted into a tourist attraction.
Cao Cao, being the ruler of Wei, has a huge warship. This model has two levels - level one is the deck and level two is the living area. Tourists can rent costumes and take photos at level one, for a fee.
These models were used to film the scene of "Huo Shao Chi Bi" (Battle at Chi Bi). In this story, fire was used to foil the ruler of Wei, Cao Cao's battle ships, and the alliance of Shu and Wu won this battle. This is a classic story of brains triumphing over brawn.
"Romance of the Three Kingdoms" is about the warring and political battle-of-wits amongst three countries - Wei, Shu and Wu. In the story, The ruler of Wu married his sister to Liu Bei, the ruler of Shu, to trick Liu into coming to his country so as to capture him. Unfortunately, his ploy was foiled and Liu Bei escaped back into his own country, with his new bride. The ruler of Wu suffered another loss when his troops fell into a trap when pursuing Liu Bei. This story gave rise to the Chinese proverb - "Pei Le Fu Ren You Zhe Bing" (to suffer a double loss).
The 3 words carved into the rock says "Wu Wang Gong" (Palace of Wu). At this sight, there is also a "Liu Bei's Wedding Chamber".
This studio is founded by the China Central Television Station in 1987, and is the earliest movie and TV programme production base in China. The TV series "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" (San Guo Yan Yi) was filmed here, and the production cost of this series was a staggering 80 million RMB. Many film sets and props from this TV series have been preserved for tourists to visit in this studio.
Being avid readers (and gamers!) of "San Guo", me and hubby quite enjoyed this tour.
You may want to catch a performance at the TV studio. We watched 1 about a battle and you have to go earlier if you want to get a good seat, otherwise only standing place is available. If the ground is muddy, I advise you not to take the frontmost seats. We saw the people at the front rows being splashed with mud when the horses were running on the muddy ground. Haha..
The Three Kingdom City is simply too big to explore on foot,the distance between each site can be very far away.Hence you may wish to take a tram for a small fee and enjoy your visit in the Three Kingdom City.
Taihu Lake is situated in the southwest suburb of the city about 4 kilometers away from the urban area.Taihu Lake is the third largest freshwater lake in China with an area of 2250 square kilometres.
Taihu Lake Scenery Zone consists of Meiliang Lake scenery zone and Lihu scenery zone. The best spot of Taihu Lake scenery zone is the with Turtle Head Islet.