Suzhou is a small city 30 minutes from Shanghai, China by fast train. A few months ago our family made a trip to visit some friends who lived in Suzhou.

Here Jeremy and the boys are on the platform waiting for the fast train to arrive. China is installing fast train service throughout many of the most popular regions. It cuts down the travel time considerably, making short overnight trips like ours possible. Average cost of a 1 way first class fast train ticket is about 50 RMB, about $7 USD.

Suzhou is called the Venice of the East. Since I have been to Venice as well, I can honestly say Suzhou is a very pretty city within China, but I don’t think it rivals Venice. That being said, it is still a must see for your time in China. Suzhou shows off some beautiful traditional Chinese architecture and a bit of a slower pace than a city like Shanghai, so it is worth the trip.

On this trip we focused our time on the traditional water town area. In this area we saw the traditional houses built along the canal strips. Many of these houses do not have indoor pluming even to this day. There are communal bathrooms that residents may use. Many residents keep gardens across from their house, like you see this lady doing here.

A visit to Suzhou would not be complete without a canal boat ride. Each boat can seat 6-8 people and the price is per boat. The cost is 150 RMB for a round trip or for a one way trip. This is about $20 USD.

Top: Jeremy and I on the boat – you can see us passing another boat and the red lanterns hanging. Bottom: Our boys with their friend who lived in Suzhou at the time. If you look closely you can see the driver holding a huge wooden ore that steers the boat. Of all the activities we have done in China, this has to be one of our family favorites.

This is a view from our canal boat as we floated down the river. This part is quite beautiful!

Here our Road Ninjas family is standing together for a quick family pose. Thankfully our friends were along to take a group shot. I tend to forget to get group shots of our entire family, so that is something I need to work on!

Here are my Road Ninjas – ready to hop back on the train and head home. In the background you can see the lights of Suzhou.

Suzhou has many other wonderful sites to visit, including great temples, gardens, and a beautiful lake. It also happens to be the wedding dress capitol of China.

Have you visited China? Tell me about your favorite part in the comments below!

~ Sarah