Jinji Lake – Rebuild Another West Lake

This post was created one months ago, and only show up today.

For people tired of going to West Lake in Hangzhou or The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou (I mean, after you visit these two places for more than 10 or 20 times), they may be interested to find out somewhere that si near Shanghai, and offers something new. Wendy and I went to Jinji Lake last Tuesday on our six year wedding anniversary. To my greatest surprise, the Jinji Lake has been turned into a new West Lake type of tourism destination, and a Xintiandi type of clustering of modern chain high-end restaurants, and Around-Century-Park type of high-raising residential areas.

How to Get There

Among all the transportation options, driving seems to be the most practical way to get there (do you want to take public transportation just to have a cup of tea along the lake?) It is about 100 km from Shanghai, and takes 1 and half hour to get there.

You can take Shanghai-Nanjing Expressway 沪宁高速 A11 (wonderful newly completely 4-lane expressway) heading Nanjing direction, and turn to Suzhou City Ring Expressway (East) 苏州绕城(东)heading Zhou Zhuang 周庄. Take the Luzhi/Airport Road 甪直/机场路 Exit, and get to Airport Road (a.k.a S343) heading west for 15 km. Jinji Lake is on your right hand.

If you do want to take public transportation, find a train from Shanghai Railway Station to Suzhou Railway Station (pretty frequent – 30 minutes interval), and take Bus 178 to get there. Google Map also suggests that you can walk from People’s Square to Jinji Lake. It costs 16.5 hours, and 81 km. :-)

The Emerging Center

The Jinji Lake is a natural lake that is a little bit bigger than West Lake of Hangzhou (7.82 sq. km v.s. 5.6 sq. km). Just like the old capital Hangzhou to West Lake, the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) is the source of the development of Jinji Lake. With huge amount of industrial and commercial activities going on in the park, it is taken for granted that the big natural lake within the area become the entertainment and residential center.

Sitting at any corner of the lake, and look around, you will be amazed by the high raising business towers, and residential buildings. They surround the lake like a curtain. Even you are used to the buildings in Lujiazui, you may still be surprised by the numbers of skyscrapers, and the speed people are building it. If this would have happened to the West Lake, people may say it is a disaster. But in Jinji Lake, the concerns seem to be much less, since this lake on the first day, was designed and built to be a modern West lake – the skyscrapers are also part of the characteristic of Jinji Lake, just like mountains and trees do in West Lake’s example.

Li Gong Di 李公堤

Li Gong Causeway (Li Gong Di 李公堤) is another reason to convince me that Jinji Lake is moving toward the direction of West Lake. The 1400 meters long ancient causeway is now renovated to be a modern street with all kinds of restaurants, and bars.

If you have a day to spend, and have been to Hangzhou for so many times, Jin Ji Lake is another option.

7 thoughts on “Jinji Lake – Rebuild Another West Lake

  1. Martin

    From your photos, Jinji Lake doesn;t look as beautiful as West Lake. Maybe they can develop it to be nicer plus with shopping and restaurant facilities. Plus better direct transport other than by car from Shanghai would be useful.

  2. Gordon Hsu

    Me and my parents co-own 3 condos around the lake. One is on the south side of Jinji Lake which is the side with the private high end golf course and Li Gong Di, basically an upscale area catering to tourists and semi-wealthy locals. Another condo is on the west side of the lake and that area is developed as sort of a commercial/financial/downtown center for the SIP. The last condo is on the east side of the lake and that side can be described as a high end residential zone. Lastly, the north side is a bit of everything with some hotels, residential enclosures, convention/entertainment centers and a massive cinaplex/theatre.

    I don’t necessarily think that Jinji Lake is trying to be another West Lake as the area lack one major criteria which makes West Lake special, the rolling hills. However I do think that Jinji Lake is definately developing a unique identity for itself, one of modernity while retaining some of the culture/scenic beauties of traditional China. And to answer an earlier question by another poster, yes, you can bike all around Jinji Lake. There are waterfront parks and paths on all sides of Jinji Lake, though the eastern side of the lake there really isn’t much to see.

  3. Mary

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post these blogs. For a first time visitor to Shanghai, it is most helpful to read all about these little tips. Last thing I want to do is to march with a queue of 100 tourists along the Bund with a guide waving a flag. You provide just enough info to let us find our own way there and explore the city in a personal manner.

    Not sure how I ended up on your link as I was just googling for some taxi information. Keep up the good work. Thanks so much for your time.

    Regards,

    Mary

  4. Albert

    I’m a Suzhouese live in SIP and go to Jinji lake area frequently, for eating, shopping, or just for a walk.

    There’s no way Jinji Lake can turn into another West lake, West lake is famous for the beautiful stories behind, and for it’s beautiful natural scenes.

    But Jinji lake never intends to turn into another West lake, it’s newly developed and is turning into a modern residential, business, shopping, convention and leisure area.

    So there’s really no need to compare them with each other, they’re simply different.

    And also, if you drive from Shanghai to Jinji Lake, the best choice is take Nanjing-Shanghai Express way(A11), exit at Suzhou Industrial Park, then go all the way down Modern Avenue, it leads you to Jinji lake in about 20 minutes.

  5. Michael

    “Among all the transportation options, driving seems to be the most practical way to get there (do you want to take public transportation just to have a cup of tea along the lake?)” Jian Shuo, do not forget your humble roots. Just joking. Love your blog.

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