Suzhou's Lion Grove Garden
I found this garden by accident. I had some free time and my guide asked if I wanted to take a rest. I said NO! I was in Suzhou and didn't want to waste my time resting (I think she wanted a rest). She said that there was a garden nearby that few visitors go to called the Lion Grove Garden. I said "Let's go". The garden was the most fun of all of the gardens I visited. It is much smaller than the other ones, but it was a lot of fun. It is so fun that the Qianlong Emperor visited it every time he went to Suzhou.
The garden is famous for its rockeries. The largest one, and the only way to enter the garden was ingeniously designed. It is a labyrinth. It has many levels and caves and peaks. In the center is a two storey pavilion where the owner could sit and watch visitors attempt to get out of the labyrinth. The labyrinth was ingenious. It had so many levels and stairs and some of them were hard to find. It was great. My guide and I were laughing so hard. She proposed that we have a race to see who could get out first. I figured she knew the way out, but agreed.
She got so lost. It took me about twenty minutes to get out of the labyrinth and took my guide another twenty minutes. I sat down by the exit and watched her attempt her escape. She kept popping up in different places and we were laughing so hard. Once she finally made it we stopped at the teahouse located near the exit. It was a beautiful two storey pavilion which overlooked the garden.
The tea was a bit overpriced, but not too much, so I didn't mind it. The view and the building itself made it well worth while. After relaxing a bit we strolled around the rest of the garden. The buildings in the garden were quite spectacular and were built around a lake with a zig-zagging bridge crossing it. One of the buildings which was particularly spectacular had golden dragons carved on it.
It is where the Qianlong Emperor sat when visiting the Lion Grove Garden. He wrote a calligraphy for the the building which can still be seen. This garden was small, but really great. I plan on taking my family to Suzhou in 2009 and I will definately be returning to this garden.
Peak Season: 30rmb (March 1-May31, September 1-November 30)
Off Season: 20rmb (June 1-August 31, December 1-April 30)
Children under 1.2 meters: Free
Hours of Operation:
7:00-5:30 (March 1-November 15)
7:00-5:00 (November 16-February 29)
Located on Yuanlin Road in the southeast part of Suzhou City