One of the largest gardens in Sūzhōu, this 3-hectare plot was originally built in the Ming dynasty by a doctor as a relaxing place for his recovering patients. It’s easy to see why the patients took to it: the winding corridors are inlaid with calligraphy from celebrated masters, their windows and doorways opening onto unusually shaped rockeries, ponds and dense clusters of bamboo. Stone tablets hang from the walls, inscribed by patients recording their impressions of the place.
The teahouse is a fantastic spot to recover from crowd overload. Order a cup of lóngjǐng (龙井; dragon well tea; ¥15) and relax. The garden is about 3km west of the city centre and can be reached on tourist bus Y1 from the train station or Renmin Lu.