Relive Old Suzhou at Pingjiang Lu
On Pingjiang Lu, you can still relive the Old Suzhou you are looking for. However, it’s not the kind of experience that will fully give you a satisfying experience. Though the street is lined with white-washed houses of old yore, many are turned into businesses that cater to tourists. There are cafes, street food stalls, a few high-end fashion silk brands, and restaurants. And oh, Starbucks invaded this street, too.
Pingjiang Road is a well-preserved street that is part of Old Suzhou.
The record shows that the street’s history dates back to Song Dynasty.
At first glance, you’ll find the street to be made-up to attract tourists.
The good news, however, is that there are no aggressive hawkers and vendors here.
No one bothered me to buy their wares while walking around.
But if you are a curious visitor, don’t tread on the main street all the time.
Walk into small alleys where you might find some authenticity.
Or you might find something that could interest you – a cat cafe, perhaps? 😀
When I got away from the crowd, I witnessed a Chinese wedding ceremony. Had I stayed on the main thoroughfare, I would have missed this.
One of the things you will enjoy here is going on a boat tour.
Hop on a boat and enjoy the river (which is more like a canal)!
It passes through 18 stone bridges built from the Song Dynasty.
Venice? Not really. Not even close.
But, it can be romantic at
When tired, sit on one of the benches along the canal and enjoy watching the boats go by. It can be a calming scene to see.
Also, before you visit the street, find the exact location of the Suzhou Opera Museum. And if you time, stay for a while and watch a performance. The famed Kunqu Opera is said to be originated from Suzhou.
Shopping here can be a bit expensive, but they have good silk scarves, leather bags and more.
A Love Story on 29 Xuanqiao Lane
In 1886, a man named Hong Jun met a 20-year-old Sai Jinhua. He’s a diplomat and she’s a prostitute. He made him his concubine and he brought her to his diplomatic missions abroad. They had a daughter named Deguan. They returned to Suzhou in 1893 and resided on 29 Xuanqiao Lane. Sadly, two months after their return, Hong Jun got so sick and died at the young age of 55. His unexpected death forced Sai to move out of the residence and moved to Shanghai. There, she went back to her old profession – as a courtesan.
Hostel / Hotel in Suzhou
Since Pingjiang Lu is a protected area, there is no hotel here. But,
Some of the tourist attractions close to Pingjiang Lu
VPN in China
Remember that while most hotels in China have free access to wifi, it is recommended that you install your own VPN to access your social media accounts.
Buying Train Tickets Online in China
Buying train tickets at the train station anywhere in China can be confusing for those who don’t speak the language. What I always do is book via TRIP because it’s the most convenient, and they don’t really charge that much for the service fee. The money you’d spend on going to the train station might be the same as the service fee. And you wasted no time joining the long queue there. However, on the day of your trip, make sure to be at the station for at least an hour and a half. Go directly to the window booth where they issue the real tickets. You have to show the reservation number/s. Train attendants usually allow passengers to check in between 20-30 minutes before the scheduled departure.