The temperature on the day was -6 Celcius in Zuchou. Very cold though it was not snowing. The bullet train journeys to and back was only about 25 minutes each way from Shanghai Train Station. Wished it was Meglev train currently the fastest on earth but they only depart from Hongqiao Train Station. The guide Rita, a small lady from Sunny, spoke American English, had looked after us start to finish from our Hotel at the Bund. The Humble Garden was fantastic. I think it would be better during Spring/Summer but we had enjoyed what we had seen as it was not crowded and we were able to take a lot of photos without too many people in the background. She took us to a lovely restaurant in town and we had a good lunch. After lunch we had a short boat ride in a local canal village. It was wonderful. Next time we would try Zhouzhuang or Tongli or even Wuzhen. When we finished the boat ride, we had a little stroll along the water canal village and it was wonderful. If not because of the cold weather, we could have visited another section of the village but we preferred the warmth in the train station so we decided to leave earlier waiting for our train back to Shanghai. Overall it was a wonderful and joyous trip to Suzhou from Shanghai.
We had a very nice private tour to Souzhou and our tour guide Annie was very competent and had excellent English. One very considerate feature was that tour agency contacted us to suggest changing the day of the excursion to avoid predicted rain. The switch of day really saved our enjoyment in this trip. This tour is organized around local transportation, with Annie calling Ubers each time we needed to change locations (actually DeDe (phonetic) in China). We did not have more than 5 minutes wait for a car so worked out fine. Negotiated changes to the standard private trip, and were taken to sites we requested. Client is responsible for admission charges, which were low. Suzhou is about classic Chinese gardens, and the Garden of the Humble Administrator was lovely, especially since ginko and maple leaves had turned, adding color. Then on to the Suzhou Museum, designed by IM Pei. Worth a visit for the architecture of course but collection worth viewing as well. Then lunch at a simple local place with no English menu (self pay, Annie helps you order) – very inexpensive, not gourmet, but good. Then the Beisei pagoda is just a short interesting walk away, and is itself interesting. It was at this point that our choices turned out to be less than exciting. The Daoist temple is under renovation which mars the visit, the Confuscian temple was closed, so off we went to Tiger Hill. You will only see this pagoda from a distance so not worth the time and effort. In retrospect, wished we had chosen to do a second Chinese Garden, perhaps Master of Nets.
Annie from Sunny Tours met us at our hotel and was our guide the entire day. We rode the bullet train to Suzhou and took taxis/Ubers as needed. She asked us what we wanted to see and gave us additional suggestions. Her English is outstanding and she gave us a most interesting and informative day. Our transportation needs were smooth and efficient. Lunch at a local restaurant was delicious. We toured the Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou Museum, ate lunch, toured Taoist and Buddhist temples, and took a wonderful ride along Grand Canal. I injured my knee two days before and was concerned about walking; Annie watched for and pointed out possible tripping hazards, which I really appreciated. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this tour and learned quite a bit about historical and modern life in Shanghai and Suzhou.
Our tour guide Rita was fantastic. She took us to the Master of Nets Garden which was not only beautiful but not incredibly crowded and very relaxed. Next we went to the Silk Museum which was interesting for our family to see the silk making process. Rita took us to a delicious restaurant and helped us in the ordering. Lastly we took a boat ride on the canal and then walked a bit around the town. The boat itself was a bit warm and stuffy as it wasn't an open air boat and we toured in August. The tour guide was great and I would have loved to have Rita show us the rest of Shanghai. Rita was 5 stars. However as far as selecting tours, the ride to Suzhou was long. It took about 2 hours to drive there and 2 hours to drive back which is why I rated this tour only 4 stars. I think a high speed train there would have been better.
Our tour guide, Sunny, certainly lives up to her name! She was a fantastic guide, with a great personality, and had SO much information to share. Sunny definitely knows the ins and out of the city of Suzhou, and helped us get around from one place to the other with ease, and no time-pressure at all. She even helped us to get back and forth from our hotel, since we were staying over one night after the tour. She answered all of our many questions, helped the boys while shopping in a well-known and popular athletic brand store that we passed in our travels, and took us to a nice place for a wonderful lunch. Beautiful gardens and lovely historic architecture to see everywhere! Despite the intense heat that day, she was cool and co-ordinated. We will definitely book another tour with her to another city soon!
A fabulous all day tour of Suzhou!
My family and I were met at our hotel in Shanghai's Bund District by a spry and super upbeat tour guide named Lily. She and a wonderful driver whisked us away in a very clean and comfortable passenger van. Upon arrival into Suzhou, we began with a tour of sprawling and enchanting garden. Lily was half full of information and her delivery was more old friend than jaded tour guide. We then had lunch in a bustling food district that was as interesting as any part of the tour. The food choices were immense and we let Lily choose an authentic table service restaurant for my family. The conversation was pleasant and educational. The tour continued at a pace we were able to dictate and Lily remained informative and always warm hearted.
I would highly recommend this tour.
My sister and I wanted to see our Great Grandfathers statue and building which he helped found at Suzhou Univ. Sunny, of Sunny Tours, was wonderful in trying to help my sister and me find out information about Suzhou University but getting a phone number was short of impossible. She assigned Fei Fei as our tour guide and this lovely lady was amazing. She was persistent in trying to get a phone number but ran into the same walls of disconnected numbers, wrong numbers, or fax numbers. She convinced a security guard to allow us to enter the Univ grounds and helped find locations such as Anderson Hall, found a Historical Museum with additional information, and as were were leaving we ran into the Assistant to the President and Fei Fei explained to her who we were and why we were there. Without her help we may have not been allowed onto the grounds at all. We later had a yummy lunch and took a canal boat ride that was very enjoyable.
We had a great experience on our personal tour with Lily. The process was very smooth from pick up to drop off. Lily had a lot of great insight into the history of the area and we also really enjoyed having lunch with her and learning a lot more about life in China. The gardens, pagoda and water tours were very interesting to see. I fully recommend this tour.
This tour is a must! The tour guide, Sunny, was not only very knowledgeable, but also very friendly and engaging. Without a doubt Sunny made the day a memorable occasion. Her English is excellent.The day includes a number of separate sightseeing activities, but is done at a relaxed pace that enables the tourist to get good knowledge of what they are visiting.