Suzhou (Chinese: 苏州; Mandarin: [súʈʂóu̯];)is a very lovely place to visit with plenty of beautiful Chinese-style gardens. We have been there many times by train and by bike. The train ride is only about 20-30 minutes from Shanghai and makes a great weekend trip when you want to get out of the city. Of course, SuZhou is a fairly large place with plenty of restaurants, hotels and shopping areas but it has a lot of old style areas and buildings, if you are interested in that type of place. The gardens are breathless and if you go there in the summer, the lily pads cover the surface of the little ponds in the park. Another great time to visit is when the cherry blossoms are out on the trees around the end of May or the beginning of April.  If you a lucky and you have someone Chinese with you, you can easily find a tour guide that can drive you around the area to see as many sights as possible in a weekend or you can visit more than once since it really isn’t that far from shanghai.