Monday, August 23, 2010

Suzhou City and The Bund at night

We took a day tour to Suzhou City (CNY655/person), which is probably an hour worth of drive from Shanghai City where we are currently staying. Last year, my mom and Julie took the Zhouzhuang and Suzhou day tour. This time it I'm with my wife Roshie and mom. This morning, we checked-out from Courtyard Shanghai Xujiahui, who gave us a very good start in this vacation getaway, and left our things at the concierge for pickup later after our day trip. We were picked up 9:30AM from the hotel by our tour guide.
Our first stop was at the Master of the Nets Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (as part of Classical Gardens of Suzhou). It was previously referred to as the 10,000 Volume Hall (Ten Thousand Volume Hall in some references online) first constructed during 1140, then restored during 1785.
our tour group
Here are some pictures taken inside the gardens, as well as some rooms and halls inside the buildings:
The beauty of the garden has always been an inspiration to a lot of artists, who come here and take their time to draw inspiration for their art work.
me and Roshie
Then we drove to Choyers Restaurant for lunch, same place where we had our lunch in our last year's trip. Actually the food is quite the same set also as was served back then.
After lunch, we proceeded to the Suzhou No. 1 Silk Factory (which is just across). Again we were shown how they were able to extract the silk threads from cocoons.
Then we had some time to browse around the shop located at the end of the factory (which I think was the point for some visiting the place).
We drove past Tiger's Hill (just saw it from the car) as the group seems not interested due to the hot weather outside, so we directed to Shan Tang Street. The place is a nice view of the old Suzhou, with waterways barges serving locals and alleys of old houses in the area.
 me and Roshie
marker for The First Building of Lingan Assembly Hall
After we were dropped off this afternoon back at our hotel, we got our things and took a cab to Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel, where we will be staying for a couple more nights.
I booked for a 2 Double Beds Deluxe Room (CNY867.82) but as a Marriott Rewards Gold Elite member, were upgraded to a Club Room, with access to the Club Lounge (which is just outside the room). The orientation of the room was rather weird, as we have to pass some stretch of hallway as we get in the room to reach the beds (hidden from view as you enter the room).
The room was spacious and its design is a bit more modern and eccentric compared to the usual hotel rooms.
The bathroom was nice, and had just the right amount of space (not too cramped) with a tub separated from the shower.
Our view from the room was nice. As you see here, we can catch a glimpse of Jin Mao Toer and Shanghai World Financial Center from our window.
views from our room
That afternoon, we had our cocktails (hors d'oeuvres), or should I say "mini dinner" as our stomachs were full when we got out? The offerings from the Club Lounge was great.
view from the Club Lounge as the sun goes down and night comes in
After raiding the food items at the lounge we took a taxi cab to The Bund (CNY12). There, the view of the Pudong Skyline greeted us with amazement.
me, my mom and Roshie
me and Roshie
The Bund is an area within Shanghai International Settlement at Zhongshan Road, fronting Huangpu River and across Pudong. The area has its important place in the history of the city as it is where banks and trading offices from different countries were once housed at the beginning of the 20th century.
We took the Shanghai Ferry to cross the river (CNY2 each) and in just a few minutes, we were already at the Pudong side of the river.
This time, we now have a good view of The Bund skyline!

 view of some of the buildings in Pudong
We walked further towards Lujiazui station of Shanghai Metro, and stopped to pose in front of the Oriental Pearl Tower, where we went yesterday.
Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower
The rest of the night was spent in East Nanjing Road (browsing some shops) before we headed back to the hotel.

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