It wasn’t long until I was lost again, venturing beyond the wide street and into narrower territory, the scenery quickly changed to family businesses, one-human food stalls and lazy after work cups of green tea being sipped on the canal edge.
At this end of Shantang Street, the public toilets didn’t have doors, a line of locals squatted as neighbours playing on phones while others waited their turn. Childen launched stones and wood into the river and watched it float under the bridges. Laughter and screams of families replaced the bustle of tourist-tour chatter, and I was in my element.
These were the moments I would always remember from China; the moments when the language barrier didn’t matter when smiles and nods were plausible conversations. You have to find the heart of a country when you travel to it, and in China, a country so vast it often felt there was no one singular vein to follow. Each city has a different pulse, and that made this journey so magical: I never knew what to expect or what I would find in China, but Suzhou was the first moment I knew it would be a country I would come back to.
Temples in Suzhou
Don’t miss Suzhou:
Shantang Street – Buzzing tourist hub where bars, boat rides and souvenir shops reside
Master of the Nets Garden – This small, but perfectly formed garden is ideal for those poor on time
More Gardens – It is famous for them after all, Humble Administrators is one of the largest and grandest
Grand Buddha Ling Shan – Head slightly out of the city to the lake to witness this towering statue
Tiger Hill Pagoda – If you have the time, and don’t get distracted like me, head up to this scenic park and viewing area to look down on the city and visit the pagoda