Situated outside the Changmen gate (the western gate of ancient Suzhou), Lingering Garden, the Chinese classic garden, is best known for its exquisite layout of buildings and numerous strange stones and rocks. It is one of four greatest classic gardens in China together with Humble Administrator’s Garden, the Summer Palace in Beijing, and the Summer Resort in Chengdu.
Covering more than 7 acres (3 hectares), the Lingering Garden was originally built by Xu Taishi, a bureaucrat of the Ming court, as his private residence, and was named East Garden. In 1794, the garden became the property of the Liu Family and was expanded and renovated. In 1873, the garden was purchased by the Sheng family. The garden had been damaged several times, especially during the Sino-Japanese War, but has been repaired.
“Lingering Garden” implies the garden is lingering between Heaven and Earth. The Chinese name “Liu” is also very similar to the surname of the former owner, Liu Shu. The garden was separated into four sections which present different views like hills and waters, the courtyard, wood and pastoral.
The central section features water scenery and is the essence of the whole garden. The eastern section is characterized by winding corridors which are inlaid with calligraphy from celebrated artists. In the northern section, you can experience the pastoral views and dish garden. The western section is the highest area in terms of elevation and is home to many strangely shaped rocks.
The garden has other features, including windows and doorways, ponds and dense clusters of bamboo and many stone tablets.
The garden is about almost 2 miles (3 km) west of the city center and can be reached on tourist bus for 2 or 3 RMB from the train station or Renmin Road.
Opening Time: 7:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Admission: RMB 50 from October 31-April 5, RMB 60 from April 6-October 30.
Address: 338 Liuyuan Lu, near Tongjing Bei Lu
How to Get there: Take bus no. 406, 933, 949, 34, 85, 161, 311, 44, 45, or Tourist Bus No. 1 and then get off at Liuyuan Station