by - 11:08 PM

As soon as the bus entered Suzhou, one of the cities of the southern Jiangsu province of China, a familiar scene takes place - it was a feeling as if I have been here in my previous lifetime or at least in my dreams. I came solo.  I worry not for being lost despite the lost in translation percentage and the little Mandarin stint that I can decipher.

I was walking aimlessly to nowhere as soon as I checked in at my hotel since I honestly don't have any planned itineraries.  Then, I started to open my cellular phone and my fingers voluntarily encoded what to do in Suzhou.  The pieces of information I gathered whilst walking down the streets of Suzhou were saved through screenshot to capture the chinese characters displayed.  And in a random circumstance, as almost all possible destinations have restricted opening hours, it has been decided (by myself as I have no one to consult with) that I visit Pingjiang Road of Suzhou, China.

A tete-a-tete over a bottle of beer a cup of coffee or tea under the willow tree whose branches touch the waters of the nearby canals is what my imaginative self wanted to partake. But here I am all alone, in a form of soul-searching activity as if I lost my soul somewhere out there.

the landmark bridge of Pingjiang Street beside one of my favorite tea shops
The 1600-meter cobblestone path runs alongside a canal with little bridges that cross and flanked by old white-washed local houses on both sides, tea shops, coffee shops, postcard shops, bookshops and a lot more of art installations.  This is a tea party, I said to myself as I stroll the paved cobblestone path.

The long stretch of the street makes you feel being teleported to another era of the Chinese civilization.  This is where the modern and traditional culture of Chinese merge.  The Pingjiang Road's name originated from the old city name of Suzhou.  This 800-year old street is the best preserved ancient water lane in Suzhou.

While locating for the best spot to chill on the said street, the passers-by presence was a sight to behold in itself while I sit on different benches from time to time.  There are paddle boats as well that rows the canal. Suzhou would not be dubbed as the "Venice of the East" or "Venice of China" for nothing.  Hence, tours on paddle boats complemented by a serenade is expected.  (uhmmm-- of a chinese song of course!)

And as I continue to stroll around the street, I was intrigued by a coconut shell displayed by food vendors along the path.  I purchased not for the sake of trying but to really quench my thirst.  One please, I said to the vendor pointing at the coconut and I thought it was only 5 yuan.  But no the buko juice in the shell was worth 15 yuan! And it does not taste sweet as what we have in the Philippines but never mind.  No time for rants this time. (ginusto ko to e!)

After the relatively tiring stroll along Pingjiang Street where my feet was almost about to surrender, I paused and loitered at one of the tea shops aligned at the canal for more than three hours and had a quick chat with the owner who fortunate for me knows how to speak English.  It was also an opportunity for me to request someone to take a photo of me with the iconic bridge of the Pingjiang Street as the backdrop.

It was indeed a time well-spent at Jiangsu Province.  This is one of the many perks of a slow-paced travel. 

How to get there: 

Show this to the taxi driver or any stranger in the road:
Pingjiang Road (平江路) 

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  1. Wow, napaka laid back. i love visiting old towns and small cities like this.