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Newer Page 738 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
China Suzhou Garden Pagoda

4 November 2011

Walking forever

Arriving in Suzhou was awesome.
The place is one of the main domestic tourist attractions, so theres an actual scrum of tour operators being held back by police in the arrivals hall.
They were trying to break free to get to people first, as you passed the police line they would start grabbing you, feel free to smack them, yell, kick etc.
Police watch on and take their batons out for the most aggressive touts, who quickly run away once the cop blows his whistle.

Next challenge, I know I need to head south. Which way is south? I have no idea. I will just assume the station filters everyone out into the street that heads into the city.
Completely wrong.
I walked some way before I started to think this MUST be the wrong way, but I am of course stubborn.
Eventually I head back to the station, being offered taxi / scooter / tricycle rides the entire way.
Back at the station, and I read the email I had sent myself that morning, about turning left out of the South exit.
This is a problem, the article was written before the bullet train, there is no more south exit, I found where it used to be, bricked up.
So I go back out the North exit and try to walk around the station, of course crossing 20 train lines is not easy, and a particularly clever scooter rider tells me they modified the station so that its no longer possible to walk into the city....
....Challenge accepted.

China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - The outside of the enormous communist looking station. Unlike the Shanghai station, this one is on a main line that goes all the way through China, so

The outside of the enormous communist looking station. Unlike the Shanghai station, this one is on a main line that goes all the way through China, so old assed trains from Tibet and Sichuan etc. pass through here. Theres people with all their belongings with them trying to get to the big city.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - When I initially walked the wrong way, I thought this was it, this is the famed canals of Suzhou.

When I initially walked the wrong way, I thought this was it, this is the famed canals of Suzhou.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - At this point I am trying to walk around the station and head South. You can see the new construction on the left side of the station photo.

At this point I am trying to walk around the station and head South. You can see the new construction on the left side of the station photo.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - I proved the scooter guys wrong, and actually walked through a freeway tunnel. It has a dedicated scooter lane, every scooter rider stared at me in di

I proved the scooter guys wrong, and actually walked through a freeway tunnel. It has a dedicated scooter lane, every scooter rider stared at me in disbelief.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - Eventually, I arrived at Pagoda world. It features pagodas and buddahs. It is also on a lean. Theres many such sites like this in Suzhou, today I visi

Eventually, I arrived at Pagoda world. It features pagodas and buddahs. It is also on a lean. Theres many such sites like this in Suzhou, today I visited only this one, as walking was really quite far!
I estimate I walked between 20 and 25km today.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - Nearby is a very sad and lonely tea house spot, which I dont think has had customers for many years.

Nearby is a very sad and lonely tea house spot, which I dont think has had customers for many years.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - Achieving enlightenment.

Achieving enlightenment.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - There was no one around, and I thought, surely you cant climb up inside the Pagoda can you? I walked around it and eventually a monk, who spoke perfec

There was no one around, and I thought, surely you cant climb up inside the Pagoda can you? I walked around it and eventually a monk, who spoke perfect english, told me I could climb it if I wanted to, as long as I have a strong heart.
I dont need to be told twice, its really quite a long way up, with dangerous stairs and plenty of things to smack your head on as you go up.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - View of new Suzhou in the distance.

View of new Suzhou in the distance.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - More view.

More view.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - Despite this being some sort of temple, everyone thats made it to the top seems to want to carve something into it, I actually saw somewhere 'Uraguay

Despite this being some sort of temple, everyone thats made it to the top seems to want to carve something into it, I actually saw somewhere 'Uraguay 4 - Brazil 3'

At about this point, I felt it move (no joke!), I decided I would really like to be back down now. It took at least 10 minutes to get all the way down, and it also occured to me its made largely of wood, if it ever caught fire then I guess my only choice is to jump into the lake by the teahouse.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - Another hour of walking later I found the centre of town. The city was very interesting, mostly old style buildings that had been made modern, or mode

Another hour of walking later I found the centre of town. The city was very interesting, mostly old style buildings that had been made modern, or modern recreations of them. That doesnt stop Mcdonalds and KFC setting up shop.
There was a large number of silk shops, and also a shop selling fully grown dogs in cages.
I never saw any other round eyed people all day.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - The pedestrian mall goes forever, I never found its end as it was time to commence walking back to the station.

The pedestrian mall goes forever, I never found its end as it was time to commence walking back to the station.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - This is a new building under construction, still built to look old, probably by law to keep the tourist trade going.

This is a new building under construction, still built to look old, probably by law to keep the tourist trade going.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - One of many canals. They call this place the Venice of the east, really its the open sewer world of the east caust it smells. But I have heard the sam

One of many canals. They call this place the Venice of the east, really its the open sewer world of the east caust it smells. But I have heard the same about Venice, so perhaps the description is apt.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - I had to have lunch on the run, it was not as nice as it looks unfortunately. One bite into the chocolate covered thing and it disintegrated.

I had to have lunch on the run, it was not as nice as it looks unfortunately. One bite into the chocolate covered thing and it disintegrated.


China-Suzhou-Garden-Pagoda - Inside Suzhou station, it was packed out.

Inside Suzhou station, it was packed out.


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