Life in Suzhou: The Art of Slowing Down

Suzhou, China with Style


In association with Suzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism

For contemporary urbanites, 'slow' is a lost art. After a busy work life, people prefer to visit cities with a "slow pace" to meet, settle and reinvent themselves in a peaceful atmosphere where art and culture are interwoven.

The beauty of Jiangnan lies in its scenery, but also in its life. Suzhou is one such city with a 'slow pace of life', both ancient and modern, and it is always a place you will want to return to.

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Suzhou is a city of double-sided embroidery, with its ancient charm on one side and its prosperity on the other. Suzhou's classical gardens and Suzhou craftsmanship are the fruits of Suzhou's rich cultural creation and civilisation, and the spiritual genes that will take Suzhou into the future. These precious memories and treasures should be reclaimed, so that Suzhou's history and culture can continue to be passed on and flourish.


Classical Chinese garden design, which seeks to recreate natural landscapes in miniature, is nowhere better illustrated than in the gardens in the historic city of Suzhou. They are generally acknowledged to be masterpieces of the genre. Dating from the 11th-19th century, the gardens reflect the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their meticulous design.

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Today, 108 Suzhou's classical gardens are still in existence, nine of which, namely the Humble Administrator's Garden, Lingering Garden, Net Master's Garden, the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, the Canglang Pavilion, the Lion Grove Garden, the Garden of Cultivation, the Couple's Garden Retreat, ad the Retreat & Reflection Garden, are regarded as the finest and listed in the World Heritage Site.

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Conceived and built under the influence of the unconstrained poetic freehand style originally seen in traditional Chinese landscape paintings, they are noted for their profound merging of exquisite craftsmanship, artistic elegance and rich cultural implications. These gardens lend insight into how ancient Chinese intellectuals harmonized conceptions of aestheticism in a culture of ‘slowing down’ within an urban living environment.


Suzhou is also famous for its handicrafts, which represent the craftsmen's ultimate demand for delicacy and perfection, and these works are not only a representative of the region and a symbol of the quality of the creations, but also a spiritual pursuit of the times and the expectation of a better life.

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Suzhou handicrafts may be more detailed than you can imagine. A single thread can be divided into more than a hundred filaments, and the refinement, delicacy, elegance and cleanliness of Suzhou embroidery are evident in the 1.5 mm carving knife, which moves freely over two or three centimeter olive nuclei, demonstrating the strength and dexterity of Suzhou handwork.

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The traditional craftspeople of Suzhou are a bit like fictional martial arts masters, hidden away in the marketplace, each with their own skills. However, these are not the key to the transmission of skills, as a craft has been passed down for thousands of years, and the changes, heritage and innovation, as well as the sophistication, philosophy and warmth of the craft, are all related to people’s lives.


Suzhou is now a vibrant city of food, culture, creativity and entertainment, while retaining its historical charm and cultural tone and adding modern and trendy elements.

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As a district for experiencing the "modern slow life" in Suzhou, both local people and foreign visitors love to come to Pingjiang Road for leisure. Popular tourist attractions such as the Suzhou Museum, the Humble Administrator's Garden and the Lion Grove, as well as various concept bookstores and themed cafes, make Pingjiang Road a must-visit destination.

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If you're tired of wandering and want to take a break, you can also find a tea house where you can sit down and enjoy a performance of traditional Suzhou folk songs. You can order a pot of tea for 30 or 40 RMB and spend the afternoon relaxing.


Highly local food and snacks line the street, attracting many Chinese and foreign friends who will eat and come from far and wide just for them. The restaurants and street food of the Old Street are closely linked to the food culture of Suzhou, and both the large dishes and the snacks give the city its aroma.

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Suzhou cuisine is all about fresh dishes and seasonal ingredients, and is particularly good at preparing river food such as fish and shrimp. There are many restaurants that specialise in the old Suzhou flavours, and dishes such as Mandarin Fish, Steamed White Fish, Water Shield with Egg Flakes, Moon Cakes, Fengzhen noodles, Aozao noodles, Semen euryales, Fish Flavor Spring Rolls, Youtunjinjiao (Fried Steamed Bun), Sugar Porridge, Jiuniang Cake, and more.

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With culture, art, history and commerce, Suzhou satisfies the dynamic balance of "slow and fast", meeting the needs of people who want to experience a better life through art, literature and life while living and consuming.

Welcome to Suzhou to experience the "Art of Slowing Down"!