I lived and worked in Suzhou for almost eleven years beginning in 2004 and in that time grew to love my adopted city. Every year I saw newcomers arrive and begin to explore, but often they had little idea of where to start or what to look for. Occasionally I was asked for advice. Then in 2013 an old friend from France came to visit and stayed for three weeks. Almost every day we went out to see another part of the city, and I began to imagine this web site: a personal guide, with all my favourite spots and enough background information to help people understand something about what they are looking at.
Where a conventional guidebook for tourists attempts to describe everything, My Suzhou selects less than a dozen outings, each no longer than half a day. It’s the guidebook I wish I had had when I first arrived in 2004. It’s a love letter to a place where I arrived as a stranger, and departed as a son, a brother, a lover of a marvelous place and its people.
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All eleven chapters of My Suzhou are now available here under a Creative Commons license that allows sharing with attribution for non-commercial purposes only. I have also added photos for each chapter. Enjoy!
The January issue of OPEN magazine features my chapter on the Humble Administrator’s Garden, and like the garden, it’s a big one: two double-page spreads! Available all over Suzhou in the usual laowai hangouts.
The December 2014 issue of OPEN magazine features my chapter about the Feng Qiao area, including the Grand Canal and Hanshan Temple. Available all over Suzhou in the usual laowai hangouts.
My chapter about Cang Lang Ting (one of Suzhou’s oldest classical gardens) and the Temple of Confucius has been published in the November issue of Suzhou’s OPEN magazine, available for free at all the usual laowai hangouts in Suzhou. And the December issue, with a guide to Feng Qiao (the Grand Canal and Hanshan Temple) is coming soon!
My chapter about the Lion’s Grove, the Suzhou Folk Customs Museum, and the canal boat tour on Dong Bei Jie has been published in the October issue of Suzhou’s OPEN magazine, available for free at all the usual laowai hangouts in Suzhou.
Chapter Two of My Suzhou, “The Suzhou Museum”, can now be read in the September issue of Suzhou’s OPEN magazine.
You can find free copies of OPEN at all the usual laowai hangouts, so if you are in Suzhou, pick one up and have a look.
The first chapter of My Suzhou, “Master of the Nets”, has been published in the August issue of Suzhou’s OPEN magazine—along with a couple of very nice photos. You can find free copies of OPEN at all the usual laowai hangouts, so if you are in Suzhou, pick one up and have a look.