Suzhou hotels china and hotel accommodation guide  
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Suzhou hotels china and hotel accommodation guide

Popular Chinese legend states that, "In heaven there is paradise, and on earth there are Hangzhou and Suzhou". Suzhou (population 5.7 million), has been praised as a "paradise on earth" since ancient times. Being only two hours from Shanghai, Suzhou has enjoyed great prosperity and recognition over the years and this is an extraordinarily delicate and elegant city in parts. However, it is an exaggeration to refer to this pretty place as "paradise". Like many other cities in China, the bulldozers and cranes have moved in. There is still a fair amount to see and the classical and traditional Chinese style and designs here make a nice change from the modernity of Shanghai.

Suzhou is one of the oldest towns in the Yangtze basin, founded in about 600 BC but really making it's fame one thousand years later when the Grand Canal was up and running. The great location that the city affords helped Suzhou become a prosperous trading area and the silk industry especially boomed here. By the 14th Century, Suzhou had become the leading silk producer in China and this quaint little retreat became popular with visitors from the imperial court at Hangzhou. Artists, scholars and painters all retreated to this "Venice of the East" to seek inspiration and to relax.

Suzhou was one of the few city's in China to escape the ravages of the cultural revolution and its famous gardens survived almost intact. It is the gardens here, which are the most famous attraction in the city. The gardens embody the harmonious principles of Chinese garden construction which dictate that gardens should attempt to create a microcosm of the universe in a confined space. Amongst the most charming are the Garden of the Master of the Nets and the Humble Administrators Garden. The intimate gardens here are particularly pleasant on a misty day and Suzhou's narrow streets and lanes can be very romantic and relaxing.

Suzhou's cultural sites and temples are also worth a visit. Hanshan Temple's distinctive atmosphere and construction are unforgettable. The Temple of Mystery and West Garden Temple are both excellent examples of Daoist and Buddhist tradition respectively. Also, Tiger Hill is a great spot to explore and spend a lazy afternoon in a historical setting. Suzhou's profound cultural and historical background as an ancient capital have helped make this one of China's premier tourism cities.

However, the crowds of tourists here can get unbearable and Suzhou is a favorite with Chinese tour groups who are bussed in and out on day trips. It's most pleasant therefore, in the early evening when the sun is going down and the streets are emptying. The canals and quaint little houses and alleys are charming at this time. Get there fast though, as things are changing. Hotels, skyscrapers and highways are going up and urban renewal is eating away at this little area of "paradise".

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