The city of Suzhou in Eastern China is one of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting the world’s most-populous country. Among the most magnetic draws is the ancient system of canals in the area.
Pingjiang Road and Shantang Road are the destinations of choice for canal seekers, replete as they are with flowing waters and striking stone structures. While touring the city, be sure to check out Pan Gate at the southwest corner of the main canal, Beisi Pagoda (the tallest Chinese pagoda south of the Yangtze) and Baodai Bridge (known as Precious Belt Bridge), which stretches across Daitai Lake. If you want to escape the crowds, a leisurely stroll along the recently-restored canal next to Shan Tang Street is a good bet, as it leads away from the throngs and into a quiet residential neighborhood.
Less than 20 miles from Suzhou is another astonishing example of the Chinese phenomenon known as “water towns.” A day trip to Zhouzhuang is an advisable activity for anyone who travels the region in search of canals and other related Chinese architectural marvels. The profusion of beautiful bridges, canals, temples and pavilions that are perched above the water here are definitely a sight to be seen.
Also worth checking out while visiting the city are the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, which have been described by UNESCO as representing the “most refined form” of Chinese garden art in existence and demonstrating “the development of Chinese landscape garden design over more than two thousand years.”