You learn how to survive in the everyday life. You have to work hard, but the teachers are very helpful in every situation. After the language course I made an internship here in MH. It was very interesting to gain insight the everyday work. My job was to organize the activities for the students. It was very good to have a close contact to students from all over the world. So I acted as a kind of intermediary between the staff, the teachers and the students. My responsibilities were more than I have expected. A: Feichang hao. I like the familiar situation here in Mandarin House. The teacher, the staff and the cleaning service Ayi are very friendly.
Living in a single-room shared apartment is the best way to get to know other students. A: Every day you get to know something new. You are walking through the street and suddenly there is a big shopping mall in front of you. You also can try a lot of different food from all of the world. There is nothing that doesn't exist here in Shanghai. And it's very strange how such a huge city with so many people can be organized.
Q: Tell us a few memorable experiences in China? A: We went to several markets for shopping. Sometimes you have to bargain a lot. So it's a very good opportunity to improve your Chinese. It's very interesting and funny to talk to chinese people. They are very friendly and try to give you the chance to use your new language. A: Try to immerse yourself into the culture and try a lot of new things.
Don't be afraid of the traffic, just go. But the most important thing: be patient. If you want to learn chinese, it's better to learn the characters as well. Family From Milan to Shanghai. Interview with Roberta. A: The program of study is very valid and the teachers are always kind and available: I choose for me an intensive course from 9.
A: It is our first time in China. I am 50 and my class-mates young people from 18 to 30 coming from all over the world were available and very collaborative with me. I am in Elementary 1 a sort of survival kit which are necessary for immediate needs: where am I, what time is it, how can I get a taxi and explain to the driver where I want to go, how to ask for the food in a restaurant, go shopping, understand the price and check the balance.
Reaching such results in 2 weeks is really a very good achievement. Q: How do you feel about Shanghai?
A: Shanghai is a well-organized city. At the airport you have not to wait for your baggage, the immigration is quick out, together with my 11 old daughter I never felt insecure walking in the streets. A: - As you and your kids are tired after a long trip, arrange an airport pick up.
A: Things are so different from where I live in. The culture, the chopsticksThey are amazing! I like it! A: The Great Wall impressed me a lot! I have never seen such grand things before! A: Yes, it is my first time. A: Very interesting and useful. A: History, culture, Wang Fujing night market. A: Chinese way of life, Great Wall, try to understand Chinese. A: I strongly recommend a visit to China , try to make yourself understand Chinese. It is a great opportunity to improve your Chinese skills since you can practice it at any time.
Chinese people are very friendly and always ready to help you. A: I have been very curious about Chinese culture, which was very different from the western. But still very fascinating. A: There are so many I could tell. But the most memorable experience was that I could share my emotions, feeling and experiences with my classmates.
Also I have learned a lot from them and will miss them very much. A: Enjoy yourself when you arrive. Q: Was this your first time in China? A: Yes, this is my first time to visit China. A: If you visit Beijing, you will see not only modern buildings but also ancient ones and you will get surprise of what you have seen. China has developed fleetly! It seemed that I lived in ancient China, I enjoy myself. This experience would keep in my mind deeply! A: I was so happy to share my experience of learning in Mandarin House. My course was standard 20, in this group we concentrated on how to communicate with others.
You can practice more of your oral Chinese. If you want to learn Chinese character you can register group of intensive Chinese character is very important part of learning. A: Yes, I was pleased to be able to learn Chinese character as well as work on my speaking. A: Bargaining with market stallholder is very heated. Hopefully you will get a good price but it's over in seconds. A: Come with an open mind and no prior assumption and make the most of the timego everywhere, not just the main sights.
Ask the school staff for their recommendation. Name: Otto, Eike Duration: three weeks in march Profession: project manager Hobbies: reading books, video, traveling. A: I was able to considerable expand my vocabulary. The lessons in china were very intensive. Unfortunately after my return I found it difficult to maintain practice due to a shortage of time. A: The contrast. We knew the western are very modern life and just next door the very Chinese and quite ancient culture still alive. It is fascinating I find the Chinese people very friendly very helpful to waiguoren. A: For me, coming to stay in China is quite a shock.
I suggest students do some Chinese study however little helpful coming here. A: I saw the information from the internet. The French company suggested me Mandarin House. A: The sightseeing of China was attractive to me. A: When you have started learning Chinese, you need to review what you have learned every day. Being interested in learning Chinese is very important. You will improve yourself very quickly if you like it. It is essential to bring up interesting of studying Chinese! A: I found the information from the Internet.
A: All of things were new and different for me, especially Chinese food. I really like to have Chinese food everyday. A: Chinese language is very different from our language. If you want to learn it very soon and good, coming China will be a good way for study.
You c a n practice everyday. Before your coming to China , if you have learned a little Chinese before, that will be easy for you to adapt yourself to new environment of study. A: I liked to study in China, the whole school staff were very kind and friendly. Also I was very interesting to use the language in China itself.
A: The details of daily life,and the fast growing city itself,at any time,at any place something is happening. A: I think one of the most important thing is: Learn and start to think in the Chinese way. Be open minded to get influenced by the Chinese way of thinking, you can't lose something but may win a lot.
A: Excellent I appreciate the very small classes for the group lessions. Mandarin school teacher are excellent. I like the friendly atmosphere in the school. The apartment offered by the school is excellent. A: Until now Shanghai wild animal park. But we plan to go to Putuoshan next weekend. Chinese is therefore not easy to learn. To become fluent in Chinese speaking I have to stay for at least half an year at Mandarin School.
The combined course 30 is most suitable for fast improvement of speaking skill. A: Very interesting as Mandarin is very different from any European language.
Learn Mandarin Chinese with Mandarin House Chinese School in China, Chinese Courses in China
It has been a good challenge. A: The difference in culture and the opportunity to have many new experiences, sample different foods and meet people. A: Don't underestimate the difficulty of communicating! Also, come open minded about Chinese customs and food: the experience will be very enjoyable. Few, if any taxi drivers speak English or any other foreign languages, so unless you speak the local Suzhou dialect or Mandarin, be sure to get your hotel's business card, and have the names and addresses of your destinations written in Chinese to show your taxi driver.
Cycling is an interesting but sometimes hair-raising way of exploring Suzhou. That said, cycling is much safer here than in, say London or New York, as Suzhou has an excellent network of cycle paths running alongside most major roads, however these also double up as scooter paths, sidewalks and parking lots; and some are rather potholed, so it's advisable to stay alert. Bikes can be rented from most youth hostels or small bike shops around 30 yuan per day for a slow, heavy 1-speed city bike or from the Bicycle Kingdom rental agency on Pingjiang Lu they have road bikes and mountain bikes to rent for around yuan per day depending on the model.
If you are planning on cycle-touring in China, Suzhou is a good place to start out. Several major cycle manufacturors including Giant, Merida, Dahon, UCC, bTwin and Shimano have factories in nearby Kunshan a small industrial town which falls under Suzhou's municipal administration , which has given Suzhou a lively cycling culture. The following bicycle stores are recommended Giant Renmin Lu, Pingjiang-qu The largest store of the Taiwanese aptly-named giant - offers everything from single-speed city-bikes to full-suspension mountain bikes; and electric scooters to ultra-aerodynamic triathlon road bikes.
Giant is somewhat cheaper than in the west, making them a popular choice. Staff don't speak much English. Price-wise they are similar to Giant although quality of components is not so great. Staff speak a little English. They stock several regular brands including UCC, Orbea and Dahon, although they will order almost any brand for you. Prices are fairly reasonable and there is always an interesting variety of bikes on sale. The staff speak good English.
If you want a top-end road or mountain bike, or the latest Shimano components, this is the place to come. Prices are approx. Prices are more reasonable for a top-end brand and the service is very good. As the store is very small, they only carry a small stock - if you are buying a whole bike, most likely the store will need to order it. Most hypermarkets also stock bikes, typically cheap but low-quality.
Expect to pay yuan for a 1-speed city bike that will fall apart after 2 weeks. Remember to always keep your bike locked when not in use - bike theft is a major problem, particularly in downtown. Always leave your bike somewhere brightly lit and crowded. In some places particularly around Guanqian Jie , attendants will keep an eye on your bike for a small payment typically Y0.
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Available on most main streets and always near tourist attractions. This is a slow means of travel but it allows you to actually see the city while you go somewhere. Expect to pay a little more in the summer months since the driver is working hard in the heat to take you there. Found the same places as pedicabs, and should be approached with similar caution. Suzhou motorcycle taxis are usually filthy, dangerously driven, and relentlessly uncomfortable the seats are about 12 cm above the floor so traumatic to your spine it would be best to consider another form of transport.
Taking a bus in Suzhou is relatively easy if you have a basic grasp of Chinese, or horribly bewildering if you don't. Though, fortunately, there are tourist routes which make this slightly easier. Buses cover the whole city, run at minute frequencies from 5am-9pm on most routes and are a cheap way of getting around. Unfortunately all bus information boards and on-board announcements are in Chinese only, however bus route information can also be found on Google Maps.
There are 5 handy tourist buses numbered Y - all serve the railway station and connect most of the tourist sights within the city proper, so if you are unfamiliar with the city, they are a good way to familiarize yourself. Buses are often crowded, and it's good custom to offer your seat to elderly, disabled or mothers with children. The Suzhou Metro opened on May 1st A second line is under construction and will run north-south linking the new Suzhou High Speed Railway station in the north, across the Old Town and into the southern suburbs.
A mock-up of the new Suzhou Metro train car is on display in the Times Square shi dai guang chang shopping area in the Suzhou Industrial Park. The local Suzhou dialect belongs to the Wu family of Chinese dialects, and is not mutually intelligible with standard Mandarin. As Suzhou is the traditional cradle of Wu culture, the Suzhou dialect is taken to be the prestige dialect of Wu Chinese. As such, Suzhou is the place to start for people who want to learn to speak Wu Chinese.
However, as with elsewhere in China, most people are bilingual in the local dialect and Mandarin , and you should have no problem speaking Mandarin unless you are talking to the elderly. English is not widely spoken, though staff at major hotels will likely be able to speak some basic English. Be sure to have the names of your destinations written in Chinese, so that taxi drivers can take you to where you want to go.
BYOB Weekend cycle rides Rides to nearby attractions such as Tai Lake 30km one way , Yangcheng Lake 40km around the lake , Tongli 20km one way and Zhouzhuang 40km one way , there are a couple of unofficial cycle clubs run by local cycle shops who run 1 and 2 day rides off the beaten path. Pace is normally relaxed with regular stops for photos and taking a rest.
Joining the tour is free, although you have to bring your own bike BYOB , although you may be able to rent a bike from the store for a deposit and small charge - costs such as meals and accommodation is split between group members. Although most of the riders are locals, foreigners are always welcomed and most members will speak English, and will ride in a safe manner. If you consider buying arts and craft items, teas, silks, or other items that are somewhat costly, it would be advantageous to get the help of a Chinese-speaking person, preferably a Suzhou local who knows the products and markets.
Many more upscale hotels will offer the services of a personal assistant, or you can try asking around in one of the local expat hangouts to get connected to a friendly local person with some free time. Informed Chinese assistance can make a huge difference in the price and quality of the things you buy. As with anywhere in China, bargaining is the norm. As a city famed through the ages for its silk embroidery, Suzhou is one of the best places to pick up silk handicrafts. Shopping is good along Shi Quan St, especially for many souvenirs. The Silk Embroidery Institute is a lively enterprise producing high quality work which you can see on a tour of the facility.
The gift shop has prices a little higher than at the street stalls but they will bargain and the quality is much better. Suzhou embroidery , silk fans , musical instruments , scroll mounting , lanterns , mahogany furniture and jade carving are available at discount prices since they are made or created within the city. Suzhou double-sided embroidery, in which the same picture is rendered in great detail on both sides of a silk screen and the knots are tied in the middle, is a traditional Suzhou speciality and is absolutely amazing.
The needles used for this work are finer than a human hair. Be aware that the lower-priced examples of Suzhou embroidery sold to many tourists are probably made by machines. Freshwater pearls — The Suzhou area is part of the largest freshwater pearl-producing region in the world. Pearls can be bought in every conceivable price and quality range, either singly or as strings or jewellery. Sandalwood fans — folding fans made from thin ornately-stamped sheets of sandalwood- are another very old Suzhou craft and widely sold around the city.
The scent of the breeze they generate while fanning is heavenly. Cheap versions are probably more mundane wood dipped in sandalwood oil, and will lose their scent rather quickly. Tea is produced in Suzhou; the most famous locally-produced green tea is called 'Biluochun'. Large shops with endless varieties of tea can be found all around the city, and some have seating where you will be encouraged to come sit and sample a pot.
Snuff bottles are a long-standing Suzhou craft that remains popular today. Tiny glass bottles are delicately painted on the inside with elaborate and beautiful pictures. The best ones are truly incredible works of art. Suzhou has its own unique, slightly sweet cuisine that tends to have very light and delicate flavors. Locals are very fond of freshwater fish and shellfish.
Sweets made from glutinous rice paste are an old tradition here; these will generally baffle most Western palates. A Suzhou specialty popular with many visitors is Song Shu Gui Yu , often rendered in English something like "Squirrel-Shaped Mandarin Fish": the meat of a large fish is delicately cut into strips, breaded in flour, fried, and served covered with pine nuts and a sweet-and-sour sauce. It looks a little like a squirrel's tail More likely, the name is derived from the use of pine nuts, which are called "Song Zi" and somehow evolving into "Song Shu" to add a tinge of exoticness.
It is also the entertainment district for guys looking for a little conversation with gals. A number of the bars on this street are thinly-veiled fronts for the world's oldest profession; numbers of very friendly young ladies sitting around the bar or standing in doorways to tempt in passers-by are easily recognized.
Those wishing to avail themselves of such diversions are encouraged to exercise extreme caution, not overdo the drinking, ask the cost of everything including the room you are taken to before accepting it, and never pay anything in advance. Some of the better known ones safer?
All offer drinks without other services and they won't bother you if you are not partaking further! Suzhou is a safe place on the whole but there are a few things to watch out for. Pickpocketing is common on crowded buses around the north bus station and the train station. Pan-handlers and beggars around the old town can become a real nuisance although they are not dangerous. Watch out for incredibly pushy hawkers operating on Guanqian Jie shopping street - they generally charge ridiculous prices for counterfeit goods.
Taxis are generally safe although it's advisable not to follow touts operating around tourist sights or the train station. Also be aware that pedicab and 3-wheel tuk-tuk drivers are known to overcharge. Probably the biggest safety risk in Suzhou are the electric scooters. These cheap, plastic, battery powered 2-wheel vehicles swarm around the city like ninjas and are renowned for driving anywhere possible - the wrong side of the road, the pavement, tiny alleyways and across crowded pedestrian crossings.
They are almost silent and riders generally don't use headlights at night to save battery power - the only giveaway is their squeaky electric horns. Remember that in China it's LEGAL for car drivers to make a right turn against a red light - albeit they ignore the latter part of the rule 'turn with caution' - it's all too common for cars, and more notoriously, trucks, to fly round an intersection too fast and unfortunately accidents involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are too common. Always keep an eye out in both directions when crossing the street.
Some travelers may need to heed the air quality in Suzhou, although the problem is not as bad as in Shanghai or Nanjing, for example. Like in most of China, tap water is not safe for drinking, but ok for washing and cleaning teeth, and safe if boiled. As Suzhou is a water-town, there is a high presence of mosquitoes in the summer - luckily repellant can be found in every convenience store and they don't carry any known diseases so they're more of an annoyance than a hazard.
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It is just south of the city centre and is connected by many local buses and taxis. You can arrive at the bus station by taking buses 29, 30, 31 and It mainly serves nearby cities such as Wuxi, Zhangjiagang, Changzhou and Kunshan as well as less-frequent services to other cities including Nanjing. The station was recently completely rebuilt and is much cleaner and more spacious than before, and is now a smoke-free zone. The ticket office and departure gates are located on the 1st floor whilst arrivals are located in the basement.
By Bicycle [ edit ] If you are feeling adventurous, it is possible to cycle from Shanghai to Suzhou in hours 70km. By boat [ edit ] Overnight ferries between Hangzhou and Suzhou are no longer running. Suzhou- Shimonoseki : Shanghai-Shimonoseki Ferry  , Japan or China , thrice weekly service. Walking [ edit ] It's possible to walk around the city although many will find the distances between some attractions too large to make walking an option. Taxis [ edit ] Suzhou's fleet of 4, rattling old silver-and-teal VW Santana taxis are a very reasonably priced way of getting around - if you can find one that is.
By bicycle [ edit ] Cycling is an interesting but sometimes hair-raising way of exploring Suzhou. The following bicycle stores are recommended:- Giant Renmin Lu, Pingjiang-qu The largest store of the Taiwanese aptly-named giant - offers everything from single-speed city-bikes to full-suspension mountain bikes; and electric scooters to ultra-aerodynamic triathlon road bikes. Pedicabs [ edit ] Available on most main streets and always near tourist attractions.
Motorcycle Taxis [ edit ] Found the same places as pedicabs, and should be approached with similar caution. Bus [ edit ] Taking a bus in Suzhou is relatively easy if you have a basic grasp of Chinese, or horribly bewildering if you don't. Talk [ edit ] The local Suzhou dialect belongs to the Wu family of Chinese dialects, and is not mutually intelligible with standard Mandarin.
Said to cost a boatload of silver and taken sixteen years to build. Free tours through the garden start every minutes, though these tours are conducted only in Mandarin. Included in the tour is a "Chinese marriage", a look at carved tree roots, followed by a boat ride through the garden canals. The incredible collection of bonsai trees 'pen cai' or 'pen jing' in Chinese at the end of the garden furthest from the main entrance is worth a trip all by itself. Originally created in , and recreated in by the bureaucrat Song Zongyuan.
The enclosed complex of house and garden is one of the smallest, most beautiful, and most perfectly proportioned in Suzhou. Don't let the small size deceive you, this garden has enough to occupy you for half a day or more. On certain evenings there are demonstrations of many traditional performing arts.
Considered to be among the finest rock and water garden constructions in Suzhou. One of the four great gardens of Suzhou and is admired for the incredible collection of pitted, eroded rocks that were greatly appreciated by classical Chinese scholars. It was originally part of a Buddhist monastery. The gardens are a reminder of the Buddhist story of the lions. The layout of the garden follows many twists and turns. It is easy to get quite lost in these winding paths. One of the oldest of Suzhou's wonderful collection of private or "scholar's" gardens.
More densely forested than other gardens, so ideal for hot days when you want to escape the sun. This garden is best viewed from within its many pavilions, with windows framing different views. Large classical gardens are great to see their majesty while small gardens are quite good for a quick look or relaxing with a cup of tea in relative quiet.
Often local folks are seen enjoying their tea and chatting. The small garden is a living part of the local, yet ancient, culture. Cross Renmin Rd to the southwest corner, go south maybe m along the west side of Renmin Rd, turn west at the KFC and you will see it on the north side of the alley. Make sure to go all the way towards the back inside the garden to see the best part. Hangzhou is a pleasant place overall with lots of photo ops and electric boat rides on clear water in a massive park-like environment.
But it really provokes little thinking, unless you were to be a rare Westerner and venture to the Grand Canal Museum which outlines the pivotal economic importance of this minor wonder of the world, linking Hangzhou to Beijing by water barge. Also if you are an aficionado of green tea, a visit to Longjing village by taxi or bus could be interesting. Sparky, while I agree with most of your post, I'm curious: why would you have somebody coming from Xi'an go to Shanghai , then Suzhou , then Nanjing , then back to Shanghai to fly out?
With planes that fly nonstop, it makes more sense to get from Xi'an to Nanjing for 2 nights, then Suzhou for 2 nights with Tongli as the side trip by road, then Shanghai for remainder. Keeping luggage with one all the way. And Hangzhou then becomes a maybe-if-one-feels-like-a-daytrip but isn't in the critical path.
Or as second choice, Nanjing 2 nights to Shanghai for 5 nights with daytripping to Suzhou or any other closer places Which was my assumption of what OP was planning to do, although he doesn't explicitly say so. Thanks for the advice everyone! Everyone's suggestions helped me realize that I am probably better of staying in each of these cities rather than trying to take trains back and forth from Shanghai.
Evening flight to Nanjing , stay two nights. Evening train to Hangzhou, stay two nights was a tough choice, but based on my research and personal preferences, I think I will enjoy Hangzhou more than Suzhou. Train back to Beijing to catch my flight my flight is already fixed, and it was cheaper to fly out of Beijing rather than Shanghai. I'm really clueless why the locals love it so much, I found West Lake to be just any other lake.
It's just big. That's it. The old shopping street was nice but still nothing to crave about. Suzhou was better by an inch because we went to a water town but by noon we were bored and had nothing to do. We literally spent hours in a coffee shop killing time. The driver we hired was so pissed we didn't want to go to any of the usual tourist spots. We should have went to Nanjing instead. Hangzhou is not such a big deal, since it has very little which is unique or irreplaceable for a "world citizen. The shopping street has the same "local craft" goods you find in Yangshuo , Lijiang and Sanya.
The West Lake Impressions evening show is perhaps the finest draw for this city, overrun by Shanghainese most weekends. Suzhou meets the "world-class" status because it has the finest collection of Asian gardens, even better than Kyoto in my opinion. If you have the time and demeanor, enjoy the tranquility of the Humble Administrator's Garden first thing in the morning before the bull horns and tourist lemmings arrive. Then move on to less visited gardens, such as the Lingering Garden.
Suzhou is not really a water town anymore as most canals have been abandoned for transportation purposes. Hangzhou is more beautiful in rain. This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one. We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Tip: All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips.
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