The classical gardens of Suzhou feature some of the most tranquil and pristine landscapes in China. More than 50 gardens dating as far back as the 6th century BC cast a harmonious network of manicured paths, bridges, ponds, and pavilions over much of the historic city of Suzhou. Nine of the gardens are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, their Ming- and Qing-era mastery of Chinese garden architecture and design having attracted world visitors for hundreds of years. The Lingering Garden, famous for its garden hall inlaid with ancient calligraphy, and the Humble Administrator’s Garden, the largest of the nine, are the best preserved, but also worth visiting are the Master of Nets Garden and Tiger Hill.
You can visit the gardens on a day trip from Shanghai. Most tours include entrance to one or more of the classical gardens, and can also be combined with a trip to nearby attractions, like the Zhouzhuang water village, Tong Li Old Town, or the Silk Museum. If you wish to see the most famous of Suzhou’s gardens in one day, book a private day trip of Suzhou Humble Administrator's Garden, Tiger Hill, and Master of Nets Garden.
Suzhou is located approximately 62 miles (100 km) west of Shanghai, and the two cities are connected by high-speed train. Most gardens are open daily from 7:30am to 5:30pm, but hours vary slightly by garden and by season. If not visiting the gardens as part of an organized tour, expect to pay separate admission for each garden.