I spent a majority of my time over my 4 weeks in China in Suzhou, which I talked about back in my first post so I wanted to share what the city was like! On our days off me and other students explored what the city had to offer from it's most traditional areas to the futuristic, modernised parts. It was strange to one minute see a man in a rice hat sweeping the streets with a broom made out of branches then a man driving a brand new BMW...it was a mixture of the past and future in Suzhou which made the city all the more exciting and also made you realise the vast inequality of this country. As this is my last post about China I decided to round up my best photos taken in Suzhou along with some captions to give you some recommendations where to visit in the city and give you a feel of my stay there!
This was the first time I went to visit the Pingjiang District during my stay. It's one of the most traditional areas in Suzhou with paddle boats rowing on the canals while people stroll alongside on the cobblestone paths - it's literally like being taken back in time!
The road is lined with cute cafes, shops and street food stalls so you can easily spend the day here exploring and trying out some traditional Chinese cuisine.
This was a lovely shop where you could buy Chinese tapestry, paintings, fans and postcards. The guy working there kindly gave me a postcard for free which I sent off to my parents (and it arrived before I got home, wow). This man was painting from a photograph of Suzhou who was happy to let me take photos of him at work.
I tried coconut milk for the first time which was freshly made on the day and it was delicious! Really sweet and refreshing.
Pingjiang Lu is actually where a lot of people live and I couldn't believe what an amazing location they lived on, just in front of a canal in such a tranquil environment! All the residents were so friendly and one man even put chairs out for us and offered us some tea...now when does that ever happen in the UK?
These were taken in an old opera theatre where you could (try to) read about the traditional Chinese opera and the history behind it.
This is when we stopped for dinner on a road just off Pingjiang Lu. It was a small fast food restaurant which didn't exactly look promising from the outside but we were so hungry we didn't care and ordered almost one of everything! The food proved that you shouldn't always judge a restaurant by the outside because it was probably one of my favourite meals from China. They served the best sweet and sour chicken and egg fried rice i've ever had.
This was lunchtime at a restaurant just down the road from the university where the Summer school was held, in Suzhou Plaza (note to self: write down names of restaurants). We got rice (of course), marinated courgettes, chicken in a sauce and soup (which usually always came with whatever meal we got for free!).
The view from X'ian Jiaotong Liverpool University.
When in Suzhou, Times Square is a great place to go to experience the modernised Chinese culture and get some retail therapy. We went late in the evening for dinner then went and did something that's very popular amongst the Chinese- karaoke! Or mostly known as KTV. You rent a room per hour (i'm aware that sounds dodgy), can also order drinks and food and then you sing the whole night away with your friends. The idea seemed strange to me, and the interiors of KTV made me feel like I was on some sort of Chinese game show but I've actually been converted and I loved it! They had a big flat screen tv, disco lights, microphones (even tambourines eh!) and a whole selection of songs from Korean, to Chinese to American. Me and my friends got a whole new found respect for singers as by the end of it we practically lost our voices...
Honestly, this was one of my favourite things in China. This is where you get the gifts from god ie. dumplings and baozi...this is what is traditionally had for breakfast and I would recommend everyone to try it!
These are some more shots of when I went to visit Pingjiang Lu a second time. This is of the other half of Pingjiang Lu that I didn't get to see, let's just say it's a pretty long road! It was really busy this time round and the small streets were crammed with people and scooters beeping to get through but it made for a great, vibrant atmosphere!
We came across this Cat Cafe where you can sit and play with cats while you have a drink and food...the cafe of dreams.
The commercial district of Old Town Suzhou where shops were open till after 10pm
The buses which we took nearly everyday...warning: the bus drivers like to beep, a lot.
This was our last night all together in China so we decided to go and do our favourite thing again, karaokeeee! This time we went to the KTV in Suzhou Plaza which was slightly cheaper. We had a great night again belting out Atomic Kitten, Avril Lavigne and S club 7...no shame.
This was my last meal in China with everyone all together so we went to one of the fancier restaurants and got a hot pot! They prepare the food right in front of you so you can see exactly what's going in there...and when I say exactly, I mean exactly...we saw a chicken head which we asked to be removed :) As you do. It was delicious nevertheless and I tried chicken feet, for the first (and last) time! It took me quite a bit of persuading.
That's a wrap for my posts about my 4 week trip round China. I hope you enjoyed these more travel-related posts as I loved putting them together! And I hope for those considering to visit the country that this will give you the push or inspiration to make it happen because it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to go there! Saying that, I definitely want to go more than once in my lifetime. It's honestly like a completely different world and something you can't quite imagine unless you actually go over there and see it for real. It's given me the travel bug now and I can't wait to plan my next adventure. I also managed to get some video shots of China so I will try and put together my first ever 'vlog' shortly and will post it on here, and on my Youtube channel- as my first ever video!
I'm currently on my way to Bordeaux as this post goes live but will be back from Wednesday with photos from the trip and other posts!
Lots of love, Lucie Rose x