Best Things to Do in Suzhou, China – The Venice of the East

If you’re planning a trip to China, chances are you’ll be hitting Beijing for the Great Wall, Shaghai for the futuristic architecture and Xi’an for a little panda and Terracotta warrior action, but an emmerging destination making a big play for US tourist attention is the city of Suzhou. Located about 60 miles west of Shanghai, the vibrant city of Suzhou  (pronounced Sue-Joe) has a long and rich history dating back some 2500 years.

I joined forces with Suzhou Tourism to appear on the TV show “Modern Living” with Kathy Ireland to chat about what makes the destination so special. Check out the video:

One of the oldest cities in the Yanzee River basin, Suzhou was dubbed the Venice of the East by Venetian Marco Polo back in the 1400s, due to the city’s elaborate system of waterways and canals.

Today visitors can explore the old city by wooden gondola, getting a glimpse of local river life. Cruising through the canals, you see the simple life. Women washing their clothes in the river and hanging the family t-shirts out to dry, draping drenched clothes across laundry lines.  Sailing through the canals beneath 1000 year old stone bridges, life unfolds on parallel pedestrian walkways. School girls drink green tea and text, young couples dressed in elaborate wedding gowns pose for their wedding photos against a backdrop of white washed buildings.

A visit to the old town is like stepping back in time. Strolling down the historic streets, past ancient architecture dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties, there is a tactile texture and unique character to the city.

Suzhou Tourism has recently launched a new social media campaign – “A CURATED LOOK at Suzhou’s Arts & Culture – No Visa Required” –  a one-year campaign focused on Suzhou’s rich history of art and culture. They’re doing online contests, events, interactive online videos, all to increase awareness for the destination and drive people to its website To find out more, check out

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