Suzhou: A city of gardens

By Yang Feiyue ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-10-24 08:35:33

Suzhou: A city of gardens

An actor performs at Wangshi Garden at night. [Photos By Yang Feiyue/China Daily]

Night performances

In addition to the serenity of the night hours and refreshing scenery featuring trees and flowers bathed in artificial light, visitors can enjoy local art performances.

Storytelling and ballad singing in the Suzhou dialect, and flute recitals are held in different ancient rooms every night from 7:30 to 9 pm Visitors are guided to the performances.

When I saw an actor wearing an ancient Chinese costume playing a flute under the moonlight across the lake, the clock seemed to have turned back to the time when the original owners were still alive.

Xu says: "We want visitors to experience a slow-paced life."

Roughly 16,000 visitors a year choose to tour the garden at night, and 40 percent of them are foreigners, mostly from Europe and the US, adds Xu.

"Foreign visitors have raved about our art performances.

"Although they don't understand the content (lyrics), they can feel the beauty and the music."

Xu says that foreign tourists used to account for 70 percent of night visitors, but this had fallen in the past three years as a result of a general decline in the number of inbound tourists to China.

The smaller size of the garden doesn't keep Wangshi from having anything less than the Zhuozheng Garden.

"We have flowers all the year round," says Xu.

Tourists can enjoy water lily in summer, Chinese wisteria and peony in spring, and snow on the pines in winter, she says.

The two gardens are also been part of the local government's efforts to boost meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition (MICE) tours.

Both gardens have set up rooms to host MICE guests.

There were also photos displaying Armani hosting a high-end perfume press conference at the Zhouzheng Garden in March this year.

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