Which is better, living in Shangai, Suzhou or Hangzhou?
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Dec 26, 2011 8:07 AM Last Post By: woolf135
Nov 21, 2011 1:13 PM
I'm a 22, well, almost 23 year old girl from Scotland. I do still like to go out partying till the sun comes up, but I am also interested in photography and writing. I lived in the countryside in Japan for one year until this last August and I now live in Paris. I actually prefered living in the countryside in Japan, the scenery was beautiful, I felt very calm and happy all of the time, even when the earthquake struck. The main feature of the town is a river which flows right through the middle. I've missed the sound of water since leaving, and though Paris has the Seine, I hardly ever get a chance to see it, never get a chance to get close to it. I think Suzhou and Hangzhou really appeal to me for their water features, but I wanted to ask people what these places are really like? Are the cities calm and peaceful or fairly touristy? And how easy is it to get to the sea from Shanghai?
And for anyone who lives in any of these places, I would also really love to be able to continue practicing French and Japanese; I am sure I could find some people to do that with in Shanghai considering the size of the city, but what about Hangzhou and Suzhou? Are there many students or expats?
What about expats and art or sport activities, is there much opportunity to take.. I don't know, lets say a yoga class in Suzhou or Hangzhou? Or are there many musicians or artistic people?
Also, I know that there is now a fast train between Hangzhou and Shanghai, and I think Suzhou and Shanghai also, but how convenient are they? I used to take a fifty minute local train ride to the city from my town in Japan, which was do-able even on work nights as the last train was at midnight, but is it possible between Hangzhou or Suzhou and Shanghai also?
If anyone has any answers, it would be greatly appreciated!
Nov 21, 2011 10:26 PM
There is quite a large expat following in the area around Shangai including Suzhou and Hangzhou. Hangzhou is a really beautiful city and clean....actually I think it is one of the cleanest cities in China and is supposed to be the only city where you can drink the water. It also has quite a few good pubs and bars to get a drink. I am pretty sure you would be able to find some people to practice French and Japanese because the expat following is so big. You would definitely be able to find somewhere to do activites like Yoga or any traditional Chinese art like Caligrophy....sorry if i spelt that wrong.
Suzhou was unbelievable!! It is magic! It is like Venice but only in China......When I was there I met a few expats but I think they were just passing through, most of them said they worked in the city of Nanjing....again another great city with quite a few expats too.
I didn't catch any trains but I am sure that it wouldn't take long. Sorry I really don't know because I was in a car. But the public transport in China is great! Just too many people! So you should be able to find a train or bus even to any of these palces.
Anyway I hope this helped. I am sorry I couldn't be more helpful. As I said it is a really great area!
Regards and safe travels.
Nov 22, 2011 6:38 AM
2I love Hangzhou and but don't feel like listing all the reasons why here. Suzhou is nice too, but I find Suzhou to be a better city to visit than to live in, whereas hangzhou is a better city to live in than to visit. There is certainly a large Japanese population in hangzhou as well as plenty of french people, french restaurants, and a fairly active alliance francaise de hangzhou.
That said, you won't feel "close" to your boyfriend unless you are both in the same city, despite how close together they seem on the map.
Nov 22, 2011 7:00 AM
Nov 22, 2011 3:36 PM
4Suzhou to Shanghai can be as quick as 25min by high speed train, Hangzhou to Shanghai is only 45 minutes if you take any train that leaves on the hour (non stop). It is not the speed of the trains that is the problem. If you are frequently going between Suzhou and Shanghai or Hangzhou and Shanghai, it will require going to Hongqiao train station (far and inconvenient), Suzhou train station (a mess and hard to get a taxi), or Hangzhou train station (a bigger mess and harder to get a taxi). This is a pain if you must do it often
Nov 25, 2011 11:29 PM
5There is very little nature left in that region. Expect city, more city, and additional city, with occasional breaks for high-density pastures, industrial zones and highways.
Suzhou may be nice for visit, but living is another question.
I would consider Hangzhou, with a commute to Shanghai on weekends for cultural events and binge drug use.
To be clear: it's no Paris.
Dec 25, 2011 8:34 PM
6Hangzhou has hills with tea plantations and forests that one can wander in. I lived on top of a hill overlooking Hangzhou and just loved it. The village was Wen Jia Shan. Look it up. Just gorgeous.
Dec 26, 2011 8:07 AM
7Re #5, while I hardly consider Hangzhou's paved trails in the hills "nature", there is still plenty of green space and plenty of places to get lost in the hangzhou hills.
By driving 1 -2 hours west of Hangzhou, I have been on multi-day hikes/camping where I did not see another person, but did find untamed waterfalls with clean water, wild boar, mongoose eating snakes, wild grouse and other wild birds, fox-like animals, some sort of mini-deer animal, all kinds of delicious wild berries and wild kiwis, etc... definitely can get back to nature there
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