If you have two or three days in Shanghai, I’d suggest you to pay a visit to Suzhou. Although a visit to Suzhou is not as rewarding as a visit to Hangzhou (personally, I love Hangzhou better), it is very worth the time. It is only 100 km away from Shanghai.
As previous visit, I could get up late in the morning, had my breakfast at home, drove to Suzhou within 2 hours (including one hour or more in Shanghai) and had lunch in Guan Qian Street in Suzhou. After visiting some local stores or Chinese garderns, I drove back via the Suzhou High-Tech Zone. Very soon, we were at our favorite Hunan Restaurant in San Xiang Building (at the corner of Zhong Shan Elevated Highway and Hong Qiao Road) in Shanghai. After that, we still had time to visit the East bank of the Huang Pu river, or the Bund in Pudong. Wendy even spent half an hour shopping in the Grand Band Mall.
I had the best of the two cities in my life in the same day!
Suzhou v.s. Hangzhou
If time permits, the best approach is to visit Suzhou first and go to Hangzhou directly from Suzhou (without returning to Shanghai). There are highways connecting Suzhou and Shanghai, Shanghai and Hangzhou, Hangzhou and Suzhou. I don’t know whether it is because “the further the city is, the better it is” or something else. Hangzhou is a bigger city, with more historic stories and places of interests. Hangzhou was, anyway, the capital of China and is the capital of Zhejiang Province. That may be the reason why there are much more inside Hangzhou than in Suzhou. I still like the city of Suzhou, a small town with nice gardens. By Suzhou, I mean the old town of Suzhou. I went to the Hi-tech Zone of Suzhou. It is quite another story.
Suzhou High-Tech Zone
The Suzhou High-Tech Zone is east of Suzhou, adjenct to Shanghai. Many Singaporean enterprises and Taiwan investment went there.
We went to an area near the Ji Chang Road (or Airport Road) in Suzhou. It is a street in the city of Suzhou, but named after the Hong Qiao Airport. It is funny that people in Suzhou can access the airport more convinient than some in Shanghai. It is true.
Tall residential areas and massive town houses and villas around the lake area. There are new business centers and commerical areas. It gave me the impression that another Xin Zhuang (the town at the south end of the Metro Line #1) is rising in Suzhou. Wait. It is better than Xin Zhuang.
© Jian Shuo Wang. Photograph by Wendy Fan. The bulidings under construction along the road
© Jian Shuo Wang. Photograph by Wendy Fan. Sample of the buildings just completed construction.