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Shantang Street – Explore the “Miniature of Old Suzhou”

Shantang Street is an ancient street along the canal in Suzhou, China. Its history dates back to Tang Dynasty in 825 AD. Stretching for 2.4 miles (3.8 kilometers), it links Suzhou city center with the renowned Tiger Hill. Its length was originally measured in traditional Chinese unit li, so Shantang Street is also called the “Seven-mile Shantang.”

Shantang Street is often referred to as “the First Street in Suzhou” for three reasons. It has a history of nearly 1,200 years; it is representative of local architecture; it is associated with distinguished people and events. If you travel to Suzhou, make sure you pay a visit to Shantang Street.

Fast Facts about Shantang Street

  • Location: northwestern Gusu District, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
  • Hours: all day
  • Ticket price: free
  • Recommended visit time: 2-3 hours
  • Best time of the year: April to October, especially April to May in spring and September to October in autumn
  • Suited to: History lovers, photographers, couples, families with kids

 

 

Suzhou Shantang Street
Shantang Street

What to See and Do on Shantang Street

Explore Shantang Old Street

Shantang Street captures the essence of Suzhou so well, it is called the “miniature of old Suzhou” and the “window into Jiangsu culture.” There are plenty of shops, restaurants, tea houses, and cultural attractions to explore.

Shop for souvenirs at handicrafts stores owned by local artisans. You’ll find a variety of wood engravings, stones carvings, and embroideries. Try local food at restaurants like Caizhizhai, Wufangzhai, and Qianshengyuan. You won’t forget the taste of Jiangnan.

As you walk round the block, stop at Suzhou Chamber of Commerce Museum to learn about trade and social gatherings took place on Shantang Street. Jiangnan Ship Culture Exhibition Hall shows pictures, components, models of different kinds of ships and boats in ancient time Jiangnan.

Antai Fire Fighting Community exhibits the stories of local fire fighters. You can also see Yuhan Hall of Wu Yipeng, the biggest and best-preserved residence of Ming dynasty.

Embark on a canal boat cruise

See Shantang Street from a distance on a boat cruise down the canal. It’ll be like seeing a real-life movie with the ancient streets, houses, stone bridges, and the local life along the banks. You might also hear the boatman’s captivating tales and songs about old Suzhou. The boat ride will surely be the highlight of your Suzhou tour.

Visit Bai Juyi Temple

In 825, Bai Juyi, a renowned Tang Dynasty poet, was transferred to Suzhou to become its governor. He initiated the Shantang River canal project. Later, a road parallel to the river was constructed. Shantang block has since turned into a busy transport and commercial hub.

Pay homage to the great poet and governor behind the construction of Shantang Street. You’ll learn more about his life and admire statues, paintings, and calligraphy dedicated to him.

Enjoy the enchanting night view

After night falls, Shantang Street lights up with shimmering red lanterns reflecting upon the water. Take a leisurely stroll or a night cruise to immerse yourself in the atmosphere. Capture memorable photographs or find a cozy spot for a drink or delicious meal.

 

Shantang Street Night View
Experience the enchanting night view

Best Time to Visit Shantang Street

The best time of year to visit Shantang Street is during April and October, particularly in April and May when flowers bloom and the golden autumn season in September and October. During these months, the weather is nice, the street comes alive with local life and visitors.

But it’s worth noting that Shantang Street sees large crowds during holidays and weekends. So plan your trip to Suzhou around China public holidays if you can.

How to Get to Shantang Street

By metro: Take metro line 2 to Shantang Street Station near the entrance of the street.

By bus: Hop on one of the public buses such as No. 501, 7, 34, 44, 85, 50, 64, 161, 304, 315, 317, 318, 406, 415, 522, and more. Get off at Shantang Street Station, which is only a short walk away from the street.

By taxi: Hail a taxi from anywhere in Suzhou directly to Shantang Street. The fare varies based on distance and traffic conditions.

By bicycle or rickshaw: Rent a bicycle or a rickshaw for a delightful ride along the canal and the street. You’ll have the freedom to stop anywhere you wish.

Attractions nearby Shantang Street

Tiger Hill is a renowned scenic spot in Suzhou, featuring the iconic leaning Yunyan Pagoda, the Sword Pool, the Tomb of King He Lu, and other historical and cultural relics. It is about 2.4 miles (3.8 kilometers) to the west of Shantang Street.

Lingering Garden is one of Suzhou’s four most celebrated classical gardens. It is praised for its meticulous layout, elegant architecture, and artistic rock formations. It is around 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) to the south of Shantang Street.

Suzhou Museum is designed by the well-known Chinese American architect Mr. Ieoh Ming Pei (贝聿铭). Pei lived in Suzhou during his childhood, so you’ll find many typical elements of Suzhou gardens and Jiangnan architecture at the museum.

With an area of 12,797 square yards (10,700 square meters), Suzhou Museum is home to over 40,000 historical and cultural, including jade, ceramics, bronze, stone, ivory. It is about 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) to the east of Shantang Street.

Pingjiang Road: is the most remarkable ancient block in Suzhou with quintessential features of a Jiangnan water town. You’ll see traditional houses with whitewalls and gray-tiled roofs, stone bridges, and winding alleyways. It is around 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) southeast of Shantang Street.

Suzhou Tours to Shantang Street

 

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