For my second blog entry for the 143 Journeys , I write about Shanghai (Suzhou) our first ever journey out of the country! (The first 143 Journey blog entry is on Beijing please click here .)
When: December 26-31, 2007
Duration: Five (5) Days
Occasion: Christmas/New Year Get-Away
Stay: Liang-An Hotel (located at the Shanghai Ever-bright Commercial Area, close to the railway station and subway, and is about a 20-minute drive from the airport. P3,500 approx.)
Eating: Don't Remember!
Shopping: Not In The Mood! ahhaha (done that in May 2006)
Travel: Cebu Pacific Airlines (roundtrip Manila-Shanghai for me), Cathay Pacific (New York-Shanghai - Beijing - New York,for my prince), Train (Shanghai to Suzhuo) and Foot (around Shanghai)
When we went to Shanghai during 2007 Christmas break, we were both in the "been there,done that" mode. I was in Shanghai for a week in May 2006 as a solo traveler pls. check my blog entry "Shanghai-China's Fascinating City" while my prince been there a number of times during his college days.
The compromise: slow down and skip those we have already seen in Shanghai and focused on our own off-the-beaten track lovers' destination list. Suzhou made the cut!
Suzhou is an ancient scenic water town located in the center of the Yangtze Delta, east of Shanghai. It is accessible by plane, train and bus. Since the city has numerous ponds and streams, Suzhou was nicknamed the "Oriental Venice" and becoming one of the famous tourist cities in China.
We took the train directly to Suzhou from Shanghai at 3:00 in the afternoon. Train travel was only an hour and we got on soft seaters for $2 each.
Although the best time to travel to Suzhou is in spring (when the trees and flowers of the gardens are green and in full bloom), Suzhou was also good to see in winter (unless you like to do the canal tour like us! haha). We didn't know that the lake was frozen!
Not being able to do the canal tour of Suzhou's unique and fantastic gardens, I was still able to enjoy the journey to this tranquil city.
December 30, 2007
Sights Visited: Northern Temple Pagoda, Suzhou at Night
Cost: Entrance Fee for the grounds (RMB10) and RMB5 to climb the pagoda
Being very close to Suzhou Railway Station, our first stop was at the Northern Temple Pagoda . Known as Beisi Ta in Chinese, Northern Temple Pagoda is one of Suzhou's more authentic temple attraction. The temple is said to be the tallest pagoda south of the Yangtze River and is a great place to get a fantastic view of the city.
At night, Suzhou city was quiet, peaceful and chilly. With its mild climate, we were able to observe the double-chessboard layout of Suzhou, (with 'the streets and rivers go side by side while the water and land routes run in parallel) . We strolled the streets to feel the unique lingering charm of Suzhou's landscape while we enhanced our attractions for each other.
I will never forget Suzhou in our romantic memories. Though we were not able to see any of the more than sixty (60) gardens (most of them in the World Heritage List like Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lingering Garden, the Garden of Master of Nets and the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty), its charm has definitely captivated me!