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Suzhou or Hangzhou

Trebon, Czech...
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Suzhou or Hangzhou

Hi,

I am going to spend about a week in Shanghai and around. Would you reccomend to see Suzhou and its water towns (Tongli, Zhouzhuang) or Hangzhou side with some water towns of Nanxung, Wuzhen, Xitang (or other if you think)?

I am interested in gardens (nature) and history.

Other week we would like to do return flight to Guilin and river Li. One or two days more on one of those places are possible, but two weeks only. :-(

We expect second part of April of second part of May (to avoid crowds during holiday). What is better to see blooming gardens?

Thanks a lot!

Italy
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1. Re: Suzhou or Hangzhou

We liked Hangzhou better than Suzhou, but although we do like visiting gardens it's not the most important thing for us so maybe that's why but with a week in Shanghai you can visit both as we did along with a water town, we loved Xitang.

Beijing, China
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for Guilin, Xi'an, Tibet
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2. Re: Suzhou or Hangzhou

Tongli and Xitang has transportation advantage, and Tongli is small, Xitang is large. I prefer a little Xitang. For gardens i would like to remind that classic garden of China is more Chinese literary and artistic but not natural. when compared, Suzhou offers mainly classic gardens, Hangzhou offers little more nature(places west of West Lake like tea hills, Lingyin Monastery) around West Lake.

Hangzhou, China
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3. Re: Suzhou or Hangzhou

Well, I live in Hangzhou, of cos I would recommend Hangzhou :) Westlake is amazing, though her best time is in spring, her winter is also quite elegant and beautiful, just remember dont go there in weekend, too many people...(I lives close to Westlake, 20 mins walking)

However, I had to agree Chrella, since you would stay in Shanghai for a week, you can visit both, and the water town of Xitang is strongly recommended, if you do not speak Chinese, you might need a guide, you will really enjoy the attractions if you knows its history & cultrue etc, and the professinals know where u can get the best sightseeing.

I can give you some more advise if you want a guide or schedule yourself in a trip, or can give you some informations about trip companys that serves foreigners. All the price you have to pay me is write a review after your trip :)

Acutally i can be an average guide, i am not professional, but i speak good , english and i am local :), but i dont think i got the time for that :(.

Hangzhou, China
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4. Re: Suzhou or Hangzhou

wow, next april? Westlake would be at her best time, apart from the gardens around westlake(they are beautiful, but i saw them toooo many times, and get used to it), the peach blossom and willows are flourish aside the causeways and bridges, with proper sunshine or small rains, you would find yourself in the picture of dream or heaven. And one can never get used to that beauty.

I did a quick search of pictures of spring Westlake, find none can compare the view i saw, those pictures are arts, what i saw is the beauty of nature.

I strongly recommended you take a walk in the Sue causeway and te six bridges(maybe not advertised by most trip companys, I dont know, i dont use them for westlake:) ), or rowing a boat in the lake yourself if you had the chance. Just for the record, you can BBQ in some parks with permision, if the policy is not changed... they supplies the tools, you only need prepare the food

And do remember the weekend rule...:) unless you want more contact with locals like me...:)

Well, my poor English can only go this far, that beauty of Westlake is beyond lanuage.

Also, at my experience, Suzhou is also at her best time, and 14th april there is a festival, i am not sure its the day on the gregorian calander or the local one, do visit the city gate and the Liu garden.

And water town as well, which will impress you a lot.

If you dont yet detailed a plan, u can go for trip companys, they actually save you money, because they usually have special contract with the guides, the hotels, or anything that charges. But dont pay them too fast, you have your time, just take some free advise before you decide anything.

I had a friend can detail you something like itinerary or cost of such such, but shes not available until next Tuesday or Wednesday, she went Tailand with her husband for his boss's marriage.

Trebon, Czech...
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5. Re: Suzhou or Hangzhou

Thank you very much for your comments. So would you prefer second part of April instead of May and if May then not the first week. Does May holiday take only from 1st to 5th?

I will prepare itinerary and will consult it with you if you dont mind.

Concerning travel agencies, we are only two, which is not much for some small bus. Perhaps some guide for town only. That is oslo the reason why I do research in advance to have as much information as possible to be independent. Of course locals can give many important information to avoid traps.

Shanghai
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6. Re: Suzhou or Hangzhou

I suggest you to try one day for hangzhou for the west lake and the green tea plantation. As for the suzhou garden, if it is first time, you can organize to take a look.

As for your schedule, just remember to avoid the time during Apr 25th to May 7th,2012. Since logically it will be crowded with people everywhere and also the flight/train/hotel cost is higher than the normal day.

enjoy your trip!

Hangzhou, China
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7. Re: Suzhou or Hangzhou

You are very welcome.

The May holiday usually takes a full week, and really chaotic, there's too many people and too many vehicles here, and crazy shoppings, and everything relate with tourism is expensive, such as hotel, train, flight, guide, its time for the Chinese to go abroad rather than foreigners come into China, do not join this mess at the early May, unless you want shopping...and if you want do some shopping in China, the best choice might be Hong Kong during new years.

I have been abroad for 3 years, and just went back this month, so my memory can not recall how long the peach blossom last,

I did a quick search, and some people says it lasts from mid March to April, and viburno lasts from mid April to May, then mid April would be better choice.

Feel free to ask anything you want, though I might not as helpful as u think.

If its your first time to China, maybe you dont want dodge Beijing, the capital of China, where has the forbidden city, Greatwall, and some park i can not recall the name immediately but impressed me alot when I visit Beijing a few years ago.

And as the one above said, you may need only 1 or 2 days for Hangzhou, 1 day for Suzhou, 1 day for watertown, and comparatively save some days from your Guilin trip, and visit Beijing. (Though you can definitly spend 1 week in Shanghai region or Guilin region, there are a lot attactions in Shanghai alone not to mention the region)

The forbidden city is the palace of the emperor (and his women) of the last monarchy of China, the old saying says, there hides 3000 beautys, well, today, its kinda a musuem of recent Chinese history, architechture, and antiques.

And as for a foreigner, Greatwall is strongly recommended, its like pyramid of egypt, there is a Chinese saying "one who fails to reach greatwall is not a true man"... hm...to me...its basically a wall you can walking on it, it was build to defence the Huns over 2000 years ago, the place is hm...open, refreshing, a little bit cold, I didnt hire a guide, so enjoyed its history and culture based on my own knowledge(I had my advantage, i was a history student...).

But anyway, its your call, and I know nothing about your bussiness plans or others plans and dont mess your plan because of me, i am not professional....

Edited: 27 November 2011, 11:56
Trebon, Czech...
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66 posts
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8. Re: Suzhou or Hangzhou

Thanks a lot. I was in Beijing last year including Great wall and two days in Xian, where we went by train, which was nice and pleasant experience. I put some pictures to bee seen in my blurb photo book here www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2545571.

I realy enjoyed gardens and started some study of its history. And of course I love to eat local dishes, better where lot of locals eat, because I can expect good food although ordering is sometimes theather without words, because my Chinese is only hello, thank you and beer. We went to China in beginning of April and saw blooms of magnolias and partly cherries. Second part of April would be the best, but if May holiday starts as soon as 25th of April, dont know. We dont go to rice fields in Guilin area that would need later term and we have seen many of terraces in tropical Asia.

Ok, I will start with our plan and information research. Thank you.

Trebon, Czech...
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66 posts
15 reviews
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9. Re: Suzhou or Hangzhou

Thanks a lot. I was in Beijing last year including Great wall and two days in Xian, where we went by train, which was nice and pleasant experience. I put some pictures to bee seen in my blurb photo book here www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2545571.

I realy enjoyed gardens and started some study of its history. And of course I love to eat local dishes, better where lot of locals eat, because I can expect good food although ordering is sometimes theather without words, because my Chinese is only hello, thank you and beer. We went to China in beginning of April and saw blooms of magnolias and partly cherries. Second part of April would be the best, but if May holiday starts as soon as 25th of April, dont know. We dont go to rice fields in Guilin area that would need later term and we have seen many of terraces in tropical Asia.

Ok, I will start with our plan and information research. Thank you.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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10. Re: Suzhou or Hangzhou

Hi there I had only 3 days to visit shanghai and as Hangzhou is further I did a one day tour to Suzhou and Zhouzhuang combined. It was a great day and as I was short of time it saved me a lot of time and effort. You could easily do both in the time you have. Guilin is stunning. I did the bamboo rafting on the river li which was breathtaking and much nicer than the standard boat trip. I also did the trip to the terraced rice fields. It was a dreadful day weather wise and our views were restricted but it included a trip to the villlage with the hair combing ceremony which was fascinating. It was still a great day and as you are short of time recommend the tours. If you are flying into guilin there is a tour operator at the airport. They can arrange all the tours for you. The cormorant fishing was a bit of a dead loss but do do the night trip on the lake. It was stunning. Also recommend the reed flute caves - you can easily do this on your own by public transport.

have a great trip

angie

www.angietravels.com