Zhuo Zheng Yuan of Suzhou

Suzhou is famous for its gardens. This is the second time we visit a garden in Suzhou. We planned to visit some places none of us had visited, but finally, we chose the Zhuo Zheng Yuan or the Hamble Administrator’s Garden, which all of us visited already. We picked it because we want to refresh our memories of Suzhou Gardens, and this garden is among the best.

Suzhou Garden in New York

When Wendy and I visited the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, we saw a replica of Suzhou Garden in the exhibition. It was very interesting to see a place with so strong Chinese characters in the heart of New York. It raised our couriosity to visit the garden again. We often ignore what is around us until we find it again in an unfamiliar environment.

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Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang. Taken in the New York Metropolitain Museum of Art in New York

Please note: The image above is not a real Suzhou garden. It is a replica in New York.

Inside Zhuo Zheng Yuan

It is a nice experience to visit the Zhuo Zheng Yuan again. My understanding of the garden is better than the previous time, after visiting many museums and galleries. I still cannot tell why, exactly, this garden is so unique and beautiful, I just feel more at home this time.

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© Jian Shuo Wang

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© Jian Shuo Wang

About Suzhou Garden

Here is what my favorite architect I.M.Pei said about Suzhou Garden:

How to look at nature is also very important. I remember the windows we have in the Suzhou gardens. Sometimes they are in the shape of a vase, sometimes a bamboo bush, sometimes a fan. When we look out from our office windows on Madison Avenue, we want to see all the way to East River. In China, land is not that plentiful; there are so many people there. Gardens need not be very big. They cannot be big and all-encompassing. These windows are more like picture frames. If you go to the Metropolitan Museum here, you will see a replica of one of those gardens. Beyond the window there are some bamboo shoots, and behind the bamboo is a white wall. The distance between the window and the wall is only about five or six feet. I think it creates a very satisfying picture. Out of these ideas, one can begin to search the vernacular. That was how I started. [1]

It is exactly what I feel (but didn’t find out by myself).

Logistics

The administration fee is 50 RMB. Parking outside the garden is 5 RMB for one day. It is near the Suzhou Railway Station.

8 Comments

  1. SuZhou Gardens are majestic artworks, they are the real treasures accumulated by thousands years of chinese culture. Only Japanese gardens are comparable with their unique, delicated designs and very articulated landscapings. Of course, Japanese gardens are somewhat emulated the Chinese versions. Any ideas how many gardens are there in SuZhou? I went to Suzhou a few times, that’s more than 10 years ago. But I have no clues exactly how many gardens out there… JianShou, why do you think SuZhou is better than XinZhuang? Because it is easy for ppl to access everything within their reaches? Or the development itself ? Just curious, maybe it is not a bad option for ppl to start commute from SuZhou to Shanghai everyday in the future if there is a fast train connect to each city. In my view, SuZhou and HangZhou will be considered as satellite cities for Shanghai in the future ( many many yrs down the road). As someone mention early on this board, ppl will consider moving out of the city. Definitely these two cities are the top choices for ppl working in Shanghai. Certainly the transpotation infrastructure should improve in order to keep up with the trends. “Hu Kou” should not be a factor in ppl’s life and the wealth distribution is more balanced between coastal and inner cities. Just a thought.

  2. We are an English couple planning a three-week cycling holiday around Shanghai at the end of March, bringing our own bicycles to Pudong International Airport and cycling to the lakes and Suzhou and Hangzhou, returning by ferry to Shanghai.

    We don’t speak any Chinese, but we have been given a road atlas by a Chinese friend.

    Has anyone cycled in this area? Is it easy to find your way if you don’t understand Chinese symbols?

  3. I did it before. Taihu is besides Suzhou.

    http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20030618_taihu_from_shanghai_by_bike.htm

    It is easy, although may cost you more time if you do not know Chinese.

  4. Thanks very much. Great website. Great photos. Can’t wait to visit.

  5. I think Water, Taihu stone, bamboo and building with delicate woodcarves are the four essential elements of Suzhou classical gartens. When Hao came to Wujiang (a county-level city of Suzhou), he found that there are Taihu stones in almost every garten, street part, or even small courtyard of personal house. I’m pround of this.

  6. To maggie:

    There are many students in Fudan University love cycling. (I myself am a member of the Fudan Cycling Association, and I have cycled to both Pudong and Taihu several times). Please contact me if you need any help.

  7. To Elfe

    Thanks for your comments. Well we are nearly on our way to Shanghai as we arrive Friday of next week. We are staying in the Ji Jinn Hotel at Pudong and then the Agricultural Hotel on Saturday 26 – we think that is in the south of Shanghai and then after that Qingpu. We will increase the mileage then as we become a bit more familiar!

    We would welcome anyone to cycle with us or meet us. we will be getting mobile phone cards as we feel I may lose my husband whilst cycling. We did lose each other in Oxford a few weekends ago and that’s in our home city.

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