Suzhou Grand Canal (Suzhou Canals)

Suzhou Grand Canal is a section of the Grand Canal from Hangzhou to Beijing, which was built in Sui Dynasty (581 - 618 AD) about 1,400 years ago. The Suzhou Grand Canal makes a circuit around Suzhou Old Town, playing a role of moat in ancient times. Meanwhile, the canal was an important mean of transportation to deliver goods and passengers since old times. Almost half of goods in Suzhou was transported through the canal in the past. Nowadays, it is a top attraction in Suzhou city, with the historical sites on banks, and diverse old bridges above. The best way to tour it is by cruise.
 

What Can You See along Suzhou Grand Canal

Old Bridges

There are 20 historical bridges over Suzhou Grand Canal, thus the canal has been regarded as a bridge museum. These old bridges go through the vicissitudes in history, becoming more charming. Some bridges are carved with diverse patterns which you can appreciate carefully. Among these, Midu Bridge is the best one with a single span.
 

Suzhou Ancient City Wall

As Suzhou Grand Canal was also used as the moat in the past, it is just next to the Suzhou Ancient City Wall. Built in about 2,500 years ago, Suzhou Ancient City Wall has witnessed the historical changes in the old city. It was extended and rebuilt for many times in the long history. Although the city wall is not grand, it is quite beautiful. You can feast your eyes on the quaint city wall together with city gates in.
 

Ancient City Gates

There are 10 ancient city gates in total on the city wall. The most famous one is Xu Gate. Constructed firstly in Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), Xu Gate was rebuilt in 1351 AD in Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368 AD). It is the foremost and rare historical remain along Suzhou Grand Canal.
 See also: Panmen Scenic Area
 

Combined Views of Old and Modern Suzhou

Along the Suzhou Grand Canal, you can see not only the ancient architecture but also the modern sights. On one side of the canal, it is the Suzhou Old Town inside the ancient city wall. You can see typical antique buildings on shore. On the other side, there are modern buildings showing current Suzhou. All these views are in a harmony, making you get the charms of different eras in Suzhou.
 

Best Way to Tour Suzhou Grand Canal – Cruise from Xinshiqiao Wharf

Tourists can take a cruise to tour Suzhou Grand Canal at daytime or night. The ships start from the Xinshiqiao Wharf, make a round along the canal, and return back to the wharf, taking about 45 minutes. As long as it is full seated, the ship will depart. At daytime, the opening time is 9:00-16:00; and at night, it runs from 18:00-20:30.

The night cruise on Suzhou Grand Canal is more popular. When the colorful lamps everywhere light up, you can witness the night views in Suzhou, as the ancient houses and modern buildings enhance the beauty of each other. You may be enchanted by the polychrome old town at night and the soft Suzhou language. It seems to be in a dreamy fairy land.
 
On the ship, tourists can also try the local toothsome foods and watch the Pingtan performance, the story telling and ballad singing in Suzhou dialect, from which you may get a deep understanding of the local Wu culture and Chinese traditional culture.
 

How to get to Xinshiqiao Wharf

 1. Take the city bus 7, 45, 51, 200 north line, 200 south line, 300 north line, 300 south line, 318, 522, 921, 970 east line, 970 west line, night line 5 to Xinshi Bridge Wharf Stop.
 2. Take the bus 47, 602 or 935 to Xinshi Bridge South Stop, then walk northward for about 450 meters (492 yards) to reach the wharf.

See Also: 8 Things to Do in Suzhou at Night
- Last modified on Apr. 15, 2020 -
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