|Map of Tongli Water Town (Click to enlarge)|
The oldest bridge in the town is Reflecting Origin Bridge (Siben Bridge) which was built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) while the smallest bridge is called Single Step (Dubu) which is only 5 feet (1.5 meters) in length and less than 3 feet (1 meter) in width. Standing motionlessly for hundreds of years, the bridges bear witness to the vicissitudes of history and remain an indispensable part of the town.
Retreat and Reflection Garden (Tuisi Garden)
|Tongli, an ancient water town|
Built by the retired official Ren Lansheng from 1885 to 1887, Retreat and Reflection Garden is the most spectacular in the town. Its name is derived from an aphorism expressed in a very famous biography called Zuo Zhuan written by Zuo Qiuming in the Eastern Zhou period (770 BC-221 BC): 'Be loyal to the emperor when in officialdom; be meditative upon the previous faults while away from officialdom'. The ingenious design for the garden conforms to the local landforms and conditions and covers about 700 square meters (one fifth acre). Compact and harmonious, the garden is in two parts. The residential area in the west consists of an outer house and an inner house including the sedan hall, the tea hall, a main reception hall and two buildings forming the actual dwelling. The garden in the east has ponds, marble boats, waterside pavilions, halls, kiosks, verandas, rockeries and bridges. Together with flourishing trees and colorful flowers, the garden greets visitors with its beauty and charm whatever the season.
How to Get to Tongli from Suzhou/Shanghai/Hangzhou?
1. Take a bus from the north square of Suzhou Railway Station or from Suzhou North Bus Station/South Bus Station, at a fare of CNY 8.
2. Take Rail Transit Line 4 and get off at Tongli Station. Then transfer to the tourist bus bound for the north entrance of Tongli. If you have the entrance ticket of Tongli Town, you can take the bus for free. The bus departs every 30 minutes between 08:00 and 17:00. Or you can take bus 725 from the subway station, and get off at Shipailou Station. Walk for 200 meters (220 yards) northward and you can see the south entrance of the town.
Suzhou Bus Search
Take a tourist bus from the General Station of the Shanghai Tour Bus Center or Hongkou Branch to the town.
|Admission Fee||CNY 100 (including 10 scenic spots) |
Free of charge for children below 4.6 feet (1.4 meters).
1. The ticket is valid for two days at most. Tourists who plan to stay overnight have to declare when buying the tickets and get the tickets stamped at the ticket office.
2. One can enter the town without a ticket from 18:00 to 6:00 the next morning, but can not visit any of the scenic spots inside without a ticket.
|Opening Hours||The town is open all day long. |
The scenic spots inside are open from 7:30 to 17:30;
The Retreat and Reflection Garden has an additional open from 18:30 to 21:30 on the weekends in summertime.
|Boat||CNY 90 for a rowboat |
A boat allows six people at most and a cruise takes about half an hour.
|Sightseeing Car||CNY 10 per person|
Other water towns around Suzhou:
Guangfu Ancient Town
Mudu Ancient Town
Zhouzhuang Water Town
Shaxi Ancient Town
Top 10 Things to Do in Suzhou
I will take line 4 metro train from SZ to Tong Li. Can i still board the tourist bus if i dont have the Tong li town admission ticket? Because i will buy the admission ticket at Tong Li town entrance. Thank you.
2. Is the bus comfortable? Would I be able to board with my luggage, which is a suitcase weighing about 20 kg?
3. Is the journey scenic?
4. Would it be better to travel by train - Suzhou to Hangzhou?
In my experience, the scenery is beautiful along the trip, better than high speed train. But if you wish, it is also fine to take a normal train from Suzhou to Hangzhou.