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-   -   Suzhou - alone or with tour? (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/suzhou-alone-or-with-tour-189532/)

Mickey Sep 16th, 2001 06:46 PM

Suzhou - alone or with tour?
 
I am going in Shanghai for a few days. I am considering a trip to Suzhou. I was wondering if I could do that fairly easily on my own or should I take a tour. How far apart are the sites? How readily is transportation available? <BR> <BR>Thanks,

Al Sep 17th, 2001 04:25 AM

Assuming you are taking the train from Shanghai to Suzhou, there are buses and taxis at the Suzhou train station. <BR> <BR>Lion Grove and Humble Administrator's Garden are close to each other (5 minutes walk). Probably worth a bus/taxi ride to other places.

Ricky Sep 17th, 2001 04:50 PM

I did it on my own last time. Suzhou is a small town and some sites are even within walkable distance. As long as you plan your route in advance, it would be very relax.

Mickey Sep 18th, 2001 05:59 AM

Thanks for the information. Does anyone know where I can get a map of Suzhou. Either before I get there or when I get there? <BR> <BR>

Ricky Sep 18th, 2001 06:04 PM

If you go from Shanghai by train, you can buy the map at the station in Suzhou or even in Shanghai. There are some people selling the map right outside the station. Read the map to make sure it's detail enough & bargin before buying.

Ricky Sep 18th, 2001 06:05 PM

If you go from Shanghai by train, you can buy the map at the station in Suzhou or even in Shanghai. There are some people selling the map right outside the station. Read the map to make sure it's detail enough & bargin before buying. <BR> <BR>Shops in Suzhou hotels also have it.

Mickey Sep 21st, 2001 12:46 PM

My friend and I arranged a taxi through our hotel concierge last May for US$100 and spent the day touring Suzhou and surrounding area. It was well worth the $50 per person and we were able to see and do what we wanted, especially visiting some of the more remote gardens. A tip ... if you decide to do this, you should research what you want to see and have the concierge write the destinations in Chinese for your driver.

Don Sep 24th, 2001 08:14 AM

Just returned. Suzhou was about 1 1/2 hours ny bus. Tour was through our Ritz tour group and cost $75 per person. It included canal ride, 2 different gardens, visit to silk factory (which was very interesting) lunch, dinner upon return to Shanghai and riverboat ride at night on the rampo(not sure of the spelling)river. <BR> <BR>A tour will save you time because all the arrangements are made, but you can only stay as long as the tour stays there.

Kay Sep 24th, 2001 12:03 PM

We arranged a car and driver through our travel agent in the U.S. They met us at the Shanghai airport for transfer to hotel and back. Then we also had them booked for 1 day of sightseeing (other 2 days to spend on our own). We met 2 relatives in Shanghai who decided we should all go to Suzhou - guide was available and he booked us a van and driver. Less adventurous than totally on our own, but we appreciated the guide's excellent English and the driver's expertise. I asked for gardens, silk factory, and the canals and that's what we saw. Guide asked if we would prefer a local restaurant for lunch rather than the usual tourist stop--it was great with him to help us order. His name was Eric Zhang at Shanghai Airlines Tours([email protected]).

Andrea Sep 24th, 2001 06:21 PM

I vote for those who recommend going alone. From what I remember, it's less than $5 each way for the train. The train is really nice, too, if you ask for "soft" class - very much on par with the passenger sections of the regular trains in Italy and France (of course, not the same as the newest high speed trains, but just the average trains). Very clean, very comfortable. <BR> <BR>There will be taxis on every corner, maps for sale in the train station, and guides popping out of the woodwork to offer you their services. You can just hop in a taxi and point to the garden you want to visit (and the silk museum). <BR> <BR>I recommend private car and driver for lots of excursions, but this isn't one of them (for me). It's so easy and inexpensive to do on your own if you typically prefer things that way.

AnnaC Sep 25th, 2001 07:30 AM

Andrea (or anyone else) - we are going to Shanghai next week - hooray! - and are planning a trip to Suzhou by train but just wanted to check about buying train tickets. I have several guide books and some mention that you need to buy train tickets in advance, while others don't say anything about this. How *do* we go about getting train tickets for a day trip to Suzhou?


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