Thursday, September 30, 2010

Suzhou Postcard Day 14 Humble Administrator's Garden Part 1

Hello Thursday! Let's continue with Day 14 of our China trip and escape to Suzhou! I took so many pictures it was hard to choose so am splitting them into 2 posts.

We were excited to visit Suzhou, well known for its gardens we chose the biggest one, Humble Administrator's Garden at 52,000 square meters (12.85 acres). After a 30 minute train ride from Shanghai we arrived at the bus station. There was construction so routes were detoured, tour guides surrounded us selling tickets but we ignored them. Two kind strangers later directed us to cross the river to the main road where bus #2 stopped at the garden. Each ticket cost 70 RMB ($10 Canadian) but what a sight that greeted us below! A most magnificent looking pavilion with a sweeping roof, I like its moon shaped entrance.
I came across the sight and was instantly reminded of Dr Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver Chinatown, this was not surprising as 52 master craftsmen from Suzhou helped build it in 1985. Both Suzhou and Vancouver sites are Chinese classical gardens, its design is based on the balance of rock, water, plants and architecture. The combined effect is intended to entice visitors to mingle with nature and relax. In just a few minutes of exploring the area, we felt completely at ease.
Below a central pond filled with lotus, a symbol of purity. There were no blossoms in sight, but can you imagine the whole lake packed with those elegant pink flowers?
On the side of the same pond, an art student was working en plein air, her colors were very vibrant. I would have liked to stay and paint as well.
In Chinese gardens, the water is intentionally cloudy to show off the surrounding reflections. I was amazed I could see the tiny pretty details of the leaves.
Off to the side, a long walkway where locals lingered to enjoy the calming atmosphere.
One of several lattice windows on the walls of the walkway, there were several designs and shapes but the one below illuminated by the gleaming bamboo was my favorite.
On the floor a potpourri of texture, the checked pattern contrasted nicely with the surrounding straight lines. The tile covering the drain in the middle of the photo caught my eye, it has a round Chinese coin design.
Covering another drain, a close up of this sweet looking tile, a flower whose center and 5 petals functioned as holes.
Below a very decorative pavement! More blooms made of beige and black colored pebbles amongst neatly lined dark brown stones, I was impressed with the attention to detail.
We came across this part of the garden filled with locals, they sat chatting amicably with one another on stone chairs and tables.
A much quieter side of the yard, I stood admiring the intricate design of the wooden framework for the fence and windows.
There were numerous halls in the garden which showcased hardwood furniture, china collections, paintings, embroidery, etc. In this room by the window, a Chinese musical instrument called a Guzheng. I stood imagining its wondrous sound as it spilled through the latticed windows into the surrounding greenery.
Another dreamy notion came to mind as I gazed at this tranquil view, devouring some delicious dim sum while sipping some of the finest Chinese tea.
One of the smallest ponds in a quiet corner adorned with some banana plants. We stayed a while for a rest before wandering through the rest of the garden. More on our China journey next week!


  1. Hi Novi: I had been to the same garden in Portland but not the Sun Yat Sen in Vancouver. Did they have a guide in the garden to explain everything? In Portland, there was an excellent guide and we learned a lot. Ben

  2. Hi Ben and Suanne: We visited Sun Yat Sen in Vancouver a few years ago and yes they did have an excellent guide that explained the different elements in the garden, what they meant etc. I think the tour was about an hour, we requested to be part of it when we bought the tickets by the entrance. We enjoyed it very much and highly recommend it!

  3. The details are so beautiful and interesting. This looks like an amazing garden.