April 18 & 19
We left after
breakfast for our journey to Zhengzhou where we would take our
flight to Shanghai and then on to Suzhou. Jackie our local guide
met us at the airport for the journey to Suzhou and we enjoyed
dinner before checking into our rooms.
The Pan Pacific is a wonderful hotel, built like an old Chinese
castle with winding hallways and a beautiful garden that you can
see from the restaurant. There is another public garden behind
that with a beautiful Pagoda too. It is easy to get lost in this
hotel as it has many levels. We stayed in the Garden Wing. A lot
of the rooms face the gardens so be sure to ask for one of
those. I was here with my tour group and all were happy. They do
get a lot of tour groups staying here but the two or three times
I have brought groups here we have not had any issues as most
are not around for breakfast time nor were they around when we
My room was on the third floor, just off the reception area and
easy to find. Very comfortable bed with lots of pillows. There
are reading lamps but they are not very bright for reading in
bed. There is a chair and ottoman with a lamp that is better for
reading. Desk and chair with just one plug in that will take
north American plugs but by the bed they have put a set of four
plug ins that will also take them so this is fine. Lamps over
the desk but not that bright. I like it bright in a room. Big
windows and this room had a little balcony as well but no chairs
to sit on. Just as well I guess as I didn’t have much time to
sit and all I could see were the willows – nice with the birds
singing but no view of the gardens. The rooms are a fairly good
size but when you have two people in a room it will be snug with
suitcases on floor.
TV is a good size and has CNN and CCTV which is English. Bar
area with fridge, kettle and tea/coffee. Also two comp bottles
of water per day. Closet is lit with safe that will hold most
things except large laptops. Slippers and bathrobes, iron and
board and hairdryer. Bathroom is quite large with separate
shower and bathtub, good size counter and sink. Amenities
include shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion,
toothbrushes, comb, sewing kit, vanity kit, and shower cap – do
people still use those for hair? – I use mine to carry nice hand
soap in from hotel to hotel or cover my shoes with in my
luggage. Large bath towels, hand towels and facecloths. Rooms
are quiet, at least while we were here for three nights.
Internet – why is it that so many hotels have such crappy
internet. Drives me crazy. Also just in case you didn’t know
Google and Facebook are blocked in China.
Breakfast is buffet style and includes Chinese, Japanese and
American. While the first two are usually steaming away on the
tables, I find the American food is not paid much attention to.
This is now the second time I have found the hot dishes luke
warm and have mentioned it. Staff needs to make sure hot food is
hot and cold food is cold. That is the first rule of any food
service industry. There was a good selection of food like fresh
fruit, pastry, buns, cereal, cold meats and cheese, yogurt and
Outside the hotel there is plenty to see and walking around is
quite nice. On the corner there is a great bakery where you can
get good coffee and great tasting pastries called 85. There is
another restaurant serving Chinese as well. I walked the area
for a bit and discovered a few flower shops that I enjoy seeing
and right across the street from those is a convenience store –
another place I like to visit - to check out what is there and
pick up bottles of coffee and some snacks.
English newspapers like China Daily are sporadic. One day they
have them and the next they do not.
Full day city tour in Suzhou..Suzhou, the garden city of China.
Suzhou is a city with many beautiful gardens. Portland's Chinese
garden was designed by the Suzhou Garden Design Institute. The
were built in Suzhou, then disassembled and shipped to Portland
and if you have ever visited it you will know how exquisite a
garden it is.
Huqiu Garden - The famous Tiger Hill Garden. The 48 meter tall
‘Symbol of Suzhou’ pagoda was built in 961 and yes it is slanted
a bit more
than two meters off its vertical axis. The gardens are for
leisurely strolling and there is much to see. Tucked into nooks
and crannies are
many flowers as well as a beautiful Bonsai area.
Humble Administrator's Garden - the largest garden in Suzhou,
and has been proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will
delight of being here during the Azalea Festival to enjoy its
beauty and historic significance. This garden was built around
1509AD during the Ming Dynasty by the imperial inspector. He was
tired of official life and wanted a garden to retire to. He got
the name for the garden from an essay called "To cultivate my
garden and sell my vegetable crop is the policy of humble man".
A lake in the center occupies about one fifth of the space with
many streams and hills throughout. The garden is divided into
the middle, eastern and western parts an and a house is at the
south end of the garden.
Some of the spaces in the garden are: the Hall of Drifting
Fragrance, the Loquat Garden Court, the Peony Pavilion, the
Listening to the
Sound of Rain Pavilion, the A Pure Mind Thinks Deep area, the
Magnolia Hall, the Orange Pavilion, the Hall of 36 Pairs of
the Hall of 18 Camellias, the With Whom Shall I Sit? Pavilion,
the Stay-and-Listen Pavilion, the Pagoda Reflection Pavilion,
the Far Away
Looking Pavilion and many more. Many of the areas are named for
lotus blossoms. Growing in mud, lotus blooms still keep
themselves pure and clean. The farther their smell drifts the
more pure it becomes. The lotus is often called "a true person
of virtue among flowers." The theme of the garden is to be as
pure as a lotus blossoms.
I.M. Pei Suzhou Museum - Suzhou Museum, a garden style museum
designed by famous artist I. M. Pei. In the modern architectural
M. Pei earns a high reputation and is a well-known architect. He
is the only world class Chinese architect as well as one of the
important architectural artists in the 20th century.
His striking designs include the Pyramid at the Louvre, the Bank
of China building in Hong Kong, Boston's JFK Library. New Suzhou
is the last design of Mr. I. M. Pei in his career. It is not
only a public construction symbol in Suzhou, but also an
innovative mark bridging
Chinese architectural culture from the tradition to the future.
Prompting the protection of Suzhou cultural heritage, the new
museum also has turned a new page for Suzhou Museum. Houses over
30,000 cultural relics including Ming and Qing Dynasty paintings
and calligraphy, and ancient arts and crafts. Beautiful Celadon
here as well.