Venice of the East

Called the “Venice of China” by none other than Marco Polo, Suzhou has long been recognized as one of the country’s most elegant, culturally-rich cities. For centuries the location has attracted artists, scholars, creatives and craftsmen, thanks to its peaceful canals, thousand-year-old temples and ornate gardens. At SANGHA Retreat, guests can experience Suzhou’s many treasures, from UNESCO-listed sites that are awe-inspiring in their beauty, local shops filled with handcrafted items famous in the region such as silk scarves and ornate fans, to informative museums that will provide you with a deeper appreciation for China’s fascinating culture and history.


The landscape of Suzhou is marked by beautiful waterways, enchanting stone bridges, and grand lakes. In total, 42% of the city is covered by water, creating a captivating atmosphere full of life and perfectly suited to reflection and transformation. The city is home to Tai Lake, the third largest freshwater lake in China. The lake holds roughly 90 islands and is linked to China’s Grand Canal — a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the longest and oldest artificial river in the world.


The gardens of Suzhou are renowned throughout China and have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The two most famous are the Lingering Garden and the Humble Administrator's Garden, both epitomizing classical Chinese garden design, which aims to create a flawless miniature landscape that illustrates the harmony between man and nature.

Arts and Culture

Suzhou is one of the best places to experience China’s unique arts and culture. Two of its most elegant forms, Kun Opera and Pingtan, have rich histories here. Kun Opera is the forerunner of all Chinese operas and was developed here more than 600 years ago. Pingtan, meanwhile, is an ancient form of storytelling, where ballads are sung and accompanied by traditional stringed instruments.