After a relaxing stroll in the Ke Garden, I headed to the neighbouring Canglang Pavilion, which is conveniently included in the same entrance ticket price. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Canglang Pavilion is a fantastic example of the ancient gardens in Suzhou – in fact, it has over 1000 years of history!
I have to say though, having now visited a couple of gardens in Suzhou, they are all pretty similar – with small paths weaving between the foliage, pretty trees and cute pavilions standing out among mini rock gardens and courtyards. The famous Canglang Pavilion, the centrepiece of the garden, is pretty similar to others around Suzhou, its only unique feature being its age and history.
One thing I did notice about the Canglang Pavilion in particular is the use of gracefully curving walls with small windows giving glimpses into neighbouring courtyards or the river outside – gently guiding your eye towards these views and giving the impression of the garden being much larger than it actually is.
Slightly hard to find around the back of the garden is a small art gallery and museum in an almost Roman-style building, featuring work by local artists both in traditional and modern styles.
While I would say that the Canglang Pavilion was a much more relaxing and calm environment to the tourist-packed Humble Administrator’s Garden, while still having similar historical and cultural importance, if you are looking for somewhere quiet to stroll around it isn’t really any different to the many other (often cheaper) gardens around.
Ticket: 40 RMB (also includes entry to the Ke Garden)