If there is any city you should visit while in China, Suzhou is probably one of those ranked at the very top. It is famous for silk, canals and gardens. Yes, garden which the design principle greatly influence the Japanese which later has developed into Zen Garden.


In Suzhou, there are quite a lot of good example of Chinese gardens to visit. They are called classical gardens of Suzhou which comprises of 9 gardens designed by Chinese scholar and philosopher. The gardens is very unique in the sense that it is well structured to create a balance between the hardscape and softscape, composition of elements to create high and low, narrow and wide. Each wall and window is designed to capture a specific view point and you will have to physically walk around to discover them. A path will take you around labyrinth of rocks, though pavilions, round a pond and slowly the garden begins reveal itself. The formation of rocks and mosses suppose to create the illusion that you are viewing Huangshan mountain or a much larger landscape. But I think the creator of these gardens probably didn’t take into account that some thousands years later, the garden will be pack full of tourists, some  come here as a large group with aggressive tour leader waving flag and barking orders though the portable loud speakers. My illusion has not even fully formed before it shattered.

Nevertheless,  these gardens are still great place. Once you walk around the garden, it gives you a feeling of a mini journey within the journey. The photo below shows a good example where the path kinks to prevent the view from being fully revealed. You can see a glimpse though the foliage or the screen.

We travelled shortly after the spring festival so during this period it is the lantern festival.