Of all the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, the Humble Administrator’s Garden is the largest, most famous, and best preserved. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this uniquely-designed garden takes visitors through scenic pathways, quiet pavilions, ancient bridges, calm ponds, and small, forested areas dating back to the Ming dynasty. The Hall of Drifting Fragrance, a traditional Chinese residence at the garden's center, offers views of vast lawns, flowing water, and crape myrtle trees, while the nearby Small Flying Rainbow Bridge is the only bridge in the garden you can walk across.
A great family activity, you can visit the garden on an easy day trip from Shanghai. Combine your ticket with a visit to the famous Zhouzhuang water village nearby or opt for a private tour of Suzhou's classical gardens to visit Tiger Hill and Master of Nets, as well.
Suzhou is located approximately 62 miles (100 km) west of Shanghai, and the two cities are connected by high-speed train. The garden is open 7:30am to 5:30pm daily from March to November, and 7:30am to 5pm daily mid-November to February. Adult admission is 90 CNY in spring and summer and 70 CNY in winter. Some tours utilize the high-speed train rather than road transport.
Did You Know? The Humble Administrator’s Garden was originally the private garden of a government servant named Wang Xianchen. It was said that Xianchen grew frustrated with his work, and built the garden so that he could lead the simple life of a humble man instead, hence the name of the garden.