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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

China Trip-Day 4: Suzhou-Tongli

We made a day trip to Tongli on the second day in Suzhou. There are a few water townships around Suzhou like Zhouzhuang, Wuzhen, Xitang, Tongli and Zhujiajiao. But we decided to visit Tongli since there is a sex musuem which sounds quite attractive to both of us. 

There are a few ways to get to Tongli: 
Shanghai Stadium--> Tongli (Tel: 021-6426555)
Hutai Road Bus Station--> Tongli (Tel: 021-962168)
Suzhou Railway Station--> Tongli : 1 regular bus/ 15 mins
Suzhou North Bus Station--> Tongli : 1 regular bus/ 1 hour

So, in the morning, we took a 15-minute bus ride to Suzhou train station. However, once we were there I couldn't find any extra info which I saw from the web that could lead us to Tongli from Suzhou train station. We were asking around the local people to get to Tongli, however things didn't turn out well until we managed to ask for directions from a police officer. So, the way to go Tongli or any other water township is to take the Long Distance Bus. When you reach Suzhou train station, just follow the signboard with the word "Long Distance Bus". That is where you can buy the bus tickets to the destination.

Counter 1 and 2 is the place where you can buy Tongli bus tickets. You can get both bus tickets as well as the entrance tickets to Tongli here. Bus ticket is RMB 8 and entrance ticket is RMB 100.

Bus ticket with gate No. 8. There is a disadvantage for those who do not understand Chinese as all tickets are written in Chinese words only. It is best you follow the day tour to Tongli if you feel this is a major problem that you'll face.

Entrance ticket to Tongli, however the sex museum entrance fee is not included.

The gate to board the bus. Everything is very well organised even for buses. The whole journey from Suzhou to Tongli is about 1 hour depending on the bus driver's speed.

Once you reach Tongli bus station, remember to check the time of the final bus back to Suzhou. To reach Tongli, you need to take another buggy with another fees of RMB 5 each. From the Tongli bus station, turn left from the entrance and walk to the end until you see the ticket center as below. This is where you can find the buggy, it takes around 5 mins to the main entrance of Tongli.

You can also stay one night in Tongli to see their night scenery which will be quite nice. However, we prefer to have only a day trip to Tongli since Suzhou is more happening. 
The main entrance to Tongli water township. Tongli was originally named Futu (rich land) and was renamed as Tongli (copper village) in the first year of the Tang dynasty. Tongli, a water township in Jiangsu province, with delightful scenery in peace and tranquillity, well-known for its low bridges, running water and small villages, has won its fame of "Venice in the east"

With the entrance ticket, you will be able to visit 10 attractions which is stated on the ticket itself. There are the Pearl Tower, Dendrite WuYuan, Chenqubing Former Residence, Tuisi Garden, Chongben Hall, Jiayin hall, Luoxing Island, Gufeng Garden, Genle Hall, and WangShaoSia Memorial Hall.

The China Sex Museum which is one of the attractions here that you just can't miss. However, the entrance ticket doesn't include sex museum, therefore we have to pay another extra RMB 20 per person.

China Sex Museum is the first exhibition with more than 4,000 pieces of collections which spands five thousand years of history in China . The museum covers an area of 3,800 sq meters indoors and 5,200 sq meters outdoors. It has a stone carving park with its own characteristics. The exhibition consists of 4 parts: sex in primitive society, marriage and women, sex in daily life, and sex in special cases. 

As you can see, there are many interesting sculptures for you to spend some time around. You could really learn a thing or two from these exhibitions.

Coming out of the museum, we saw some restaurants along the river, where there were quite alot of customers. We didn't try out the food 'cause we honestly wasn't that comfortable dining on the street side food over here.

We took off around 3pm back to Suzhou and got a taxi to Tiger Hill Wedding Street 虎丘婚纱一条街. However, not many people know about this place including the taxi driver, maybe it was because they know it by a different local name. The easy landmark to take note is the famous Tiger Hill, where the wedding street is just a road behind it. In this wedding road, you can find all sorts of wedding gowns and Chinese cheongsam on a very cheap price. Of course, you have to find the correct shops. 

Most of shops on the main street are selling dresses at RMB 800 above, however there is always cheaper range of dresses you can find there at the back of the main street. I followed the main street and came into a small back lane which is full of motorcycles. 

The price is 2 to 3 times much cheaper than the front shops. I recommend to come over here if you are not looking for branded wedding gowns. I bought 3 pieces of normal silk cheongsams which costs only RMB 100 each (those cheongsam could easily cost RM300 and above in K.L now) and Chinese wedding cheongsam for only RMB 200 each. You just can't find prices that low in K.L. All gowns and dresses are hand made by the shop owners and alterations can be done in 5 mins (so don't worry if you are in rush). 

At night, we visited the Shantang street which is just within walking distance from our hotel. This place is quite happening at night, and quite crowded too.

The place is really a nice spot to walk during the night when it's cool and relaxing. You really have a great variety of shops to do your shopping. I felt that I didn't have enough time to browse through all the shops as there was really large. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the day here thoroughly.

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