Hangzhou and Suzhou are well known in China for being slices of paradise on Earth. Spring is the perfect time to visit these two cities and here are our top four reasons why.
There’s a famous Chinese saying that translates to, “There is heaven above and there is Suzhou and Hangzhou below.” These two cities are a short, 1-2-hour train ride from Shanghai, making them the perfect respite from big city life. We’d suggest visiting these two cities during the spring and here’s why:
Photo by PS Liu via Flickr
4. Stroll Around West Lake
Hangzhou’s West Lake is considered one of the most beautiful sights in all of China and spring is undoubtedly the best time to visit. Verdant weeping willows and lush green hills that surround the lake adds a wondrous beauty to the famous scene. Stroll along the shore and you will smell the sweet scent of peach blossoms. Follow the path down Su Causeway, a 3km-long stone belt that crosses the lake on the west side. Spring turns the causeway into a fairyland of peach blossoms, plum blossoms and spring flowers.
Photo by Xianyi Shen via Flickr
3. Pick Your Own Leaves from the Tea Harvest
According to legend, Emperor Qianlong loved Hangzhou’s Longjing tea as much as he loved the West Lake. The world-famous tea goes through a strict and elaborate preparation process that has remained largely unchanged since ancient times. Today, you can learn how the imperial tea is made at its source – Longjing Village. April is prime harvesting time so after you’ve studied the process, take part picking leaves in the nearby tea fields.
Photo by PS Liu via Flickr
2. Picnic in a Classical Chinese Garden
Suzhou is famous for its classical Chinese gardens, the brilliant work of artists who masterfully designed and incorporated elements of nature into physical spaces. In March and April, watch pear blossoms, canola flowers, tulips, and cherry blossoms burst into colorful displays within the gardens. Stroll along the winding pathways and elegant wood corridors of the magnificent Master of Nets Garden, or lay out a picnic basket and bask in the sun on a crisp spring day.
Photo by Yunfan Zhang via Flickr
1. Float Down a Canal
No picture of Hangzhou and Suzhou is complete without a visit to the nearby water towns, where life happens at a slower pace. An hour’s drive from Suzhou, Tongli is a quiet water town which has retained much of its original Song Dynasty appearance. Its canals are lined with traditional buildings that feature whitewashed walls and black roofs and sometimes in spring, mist and drizzle cloaks the town in an ethereal layer. Walk along the paths and old stone bridges or take a peaceful boat ride down the canals for a glimpse into old China.
Have the delicate Spring sights of Hangzhou and Suzhou piqued your fancy? Consider planning a Hangzhou and Suzhou: Heaven on Earth tour with us, and get ready to soak in the splendor of this land.