Garden of the Master of the Nets

Top choice in Suzhou

Off Shiquan Jie, this pocket-sized garden is considered one of Suzhou's best preserved. Laid out in the 12th century, it went to seed and was later restored in the 18th century as part of the home of a retired official turned fisherman (hence the name). In the 1920s, the famous painter Zhang Daqian and his brother Zhang Shanzi lived here with their pet tiger.

A striking feature of the garden is the use of space: the labyrinth of courtyards, with windows framing other parts of the garden, is ingeniously designed to give the illusion of a much larger area.

There are two ways to the south entry gate, with English signs and souvenir stalls marking the way: you can enter from the alley on Shiquan Jie; or via Kuojiatou Xiang (阔家头巷), an alley off Daichengqiao Lu (带成桥路).