“Venice of the East” – Living and Studying in Suzhou

Posted on: 21 December 2016 by Jenika Pankhania in 2016/17

Jenika Pankhania's insight in to Suzhou life

Suzhou is a major city located in the Jiangsu Province of East China and has a population of approximately 10.6 million. Although the bullet train is only 25 minutes from Suzhou to Shanghai, the distance it covers is immense (62 miles) which makes Suzhou a wonderful place to live and study due to its large size and diversity.

Suzhou is rich in its culture and has a history of over 2,500 years. Many festivals take place in Suzhou to reflect the climate such as the Blossom Festival in March and then Flower Festival in April.‌

Jen Pankhania in Suzhou gardenThe city's canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have all contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China and may also be the reason why the city is called the “Venice of the East”.

The famous “Trouser Building” is currently the tallest building in Suzhou as it sits 300 metres high in front of the glorious Jinji Lake, indicating the intersection between Suzhou Old Town and the west bank of Jinji Lake where you can find Suzhou’s Industrial Park district.

‌Suzhou’s cuisine is also very famous and since the ancient times has been known for its unique sweet flavour.

Jen Pankhania @ Gate to the EastPingjiang Road is one of Suzhou’s cultural hotspots which runs alongside the many canals, although don’t be put off by the whiff of chicken feet and stinky tofu looming in the air as you walk along!

In addition, Suzhou is home to 23 colleges and universities, the majority located in Dushu Lake Higher Education Town and also where Xi’an Jiatong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is situated. Although the XJTLU campus is 15km from the city centre of Suzhou there is plenty around without the need to enter the hustle and bustle of the city.

There are a selection of Plaza’s conveniently dotted around the university and accommodation where you can find restaurants with a range of cuisines, supermarkets, an opticians, a phone shop, hairdressers and the legendary KTV, which is definitely the “Raz” of China.

Parfait International Apartment which is located within Wencui Plaza is only a 10-minute walk to university making it very convenient especially with trying to make 9am lectures! The apartment has excellent facilities such as tennis courts, basketball courts, shops and a gym on-site. There is even a bike shop too where you can purchase a bicycle or e-bike to use throughout the year.

It is virtually impossible to be bored here in Suzhou as it is so diverse meaning there is always something to do, see or explore.

Click here to find out more about the Year in China