According to the famous Chinese ancient poet, Su Shi 蘇軾 also known as Dongpo 東坡, he said, ‘It is a lifelong pity if having visited Suzhou you did not visit Tiger Hill.’ Tiger Hill is said to be the No.1 sight of Suzhou, especially popular during spring and autumn.
How to go to the Tiger Hill
It took about half an hour by taxi to reach the Tiger Hill Huqiu from Suzhou city. We took a meter taxi which is also the easiest means to reach Tiger Hill. There is no metro line to the Tiger Hill but there are few buses to Huqiu Road directly.
During our visit, we saw quite a fair bit of constructions going on and the taxi driver told us the metro line is in the making to connect the outskirt of Suzhou. If you are taking bus, please get your 1 yuan RMB (flat-rate) ready as there is no change given back to you.
Everything in China are automated and even for buying tickets to get into attractions sites. However, the self-service machines are usually only used for locals who owned a Chinese ID and a Chinese bank account for the payment. So, foreigners still need to buy from the counter. For Tiger Hill, there is no need to do advance booking. Adults cost 60 yuan ( SGD 12.00) and students cost 30.00 (SGD 6.00). Some sites accept student prices even if you are not local Chinese, just show your kid’s passport and they will give you a discount.
Top things to look at in the Tiger Hill
Tiger Hill is another UNESCO World Heritage site in Suzhou with traditional architecture, tranquil landscapes and several historical sites dating back more than 2,500 years. Some of the highlights are the Tomb of King He Lu, the Sword-Testing Stone—a rock split cleanly into two pieces, supposedly by a legendary sword—and the famously lopsided Yunyan Pagoda, or ‘Leaning Tower of China.’ Don’t forget the Wanjing Villa with potted landscapes and bonsai trees which create the classical feel of Chinese gardens.
We first did a boat ride which cost 100 yuan for 4 people in a boat so a person costs about 25 yuan ( SGD 5.00). There is also the horse carriage ride to bring around.
The river is constantly clean up. The staff are picking up the leaves from the river.
The duration of the boat ride is about 10-15 mins, a really short one. Nothing really much to see as compared to our boat ride in Zhujiajiao Shanghai. This boat ride will pass over a few bridges and old buildings from the perspective of the water. Not recommended if you have tried other boat rides in Shanghai or Suzhou water villages.
Sword Testing Stone 试剑石
You can see a rock in two pieces that were supposedly cleaved cleanly by a legendary sword of extraordinary sharpness. King He Lu who is in love with collecting rare swords tested the sword upon this stone.
Peach Stone 桃石
Other huge stones resemble the shape of the peach.
Small vendors inside Tiger Hill
There are few vendors inside the Tiger Hill and I have bought this hand made umbrella made from paper and painted with nice drawing, very traditional.
Zhen Niang Tomb
Zhen Niang was a smart & beautiful lady in Suzhou who is good at dancing, playing chess and painting. She was famous in Suzhou and there is a poem written by Bai Juyi 白居易 dedicated to her.
Tiger Hill Pagoda 虎丘塔 – Icon
You can see the pagoda from far away before entering Tiger Hill complex as it stands on the hill’s summit. This will be an iconic symbol of the city Suzhou as well as Tiger Hill. If you notice clearly, you will see it is a leaning tower. It was built during the Northern Song Dynasty with a seven-story octagonal tower, following the style of the timber pagodas built during the early Tang Dynasty.
Sword Pool 剑池
This is another important site – The Sword Pool, it is small and cliffs on both sides and a stone bridge above it. According to legend, King Helu was buried under Tiger Hill after his death. There are also traditional saying that the funeral was buried in a sword pond and was buried with a bronze sword, hence the name of the pond. Historically recorded that the entrance to the tomb can be seen after the water in the pool was drained. If the water is completely drained, you can enter the stone cave at the northern end of the pool.
Can you spot the Pagoda behind?
Entertainment & Movie Show
There is a small stage where they will be showing some shows or even live performance, go take a rest and check it out.
Souvenirs and shopping
Qipao costumes, painting, scarf, hats, fans are some of the items selling here. Price is not so expensive but remember to bargain.
Suzhou traditional cigar 10 Yuan (SGD 2.00) for 5pcs
The Tiger Hill in Suzhou has been here for more than 2500 years and a must-visit since it is also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The most important icon is the Tiger Hill/ Hu Qiu Pagoda and Huqiu Sword Pond. Please pay attention to the Tiger Hill Pagoda as it is slightly leaning to the one side so it is also known as the “East Leaning Tower of Pisa”.
Now that I have seen Huqiu the Tiger Hill in Suzhou, I can see that Dongpo’s words are true. If you been to Suzhou and never see Huqiu (Tiger hill), it is a shame.