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Humble Administrator's Garden — Suzhou's Largest Garden

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Jan. 13, 2021

Built in 1509 during the Ming Dynasty, Humble Administrator's Garden is the largest and most renowned classical landscape garden in Suzhou, covering an area of 5.6 hectares (13.8 acres).

As one of four most famous gardens in China, it is a 5A tourist spot and listed in the Key National Historical Conservation Units and valuably cultural relics in the world.

  • Chinese: 拙政园 Zhuōzhèng Yuán /jwor-jnng ywen/ 'Humble Administrator's Garden'
  • Area: 5.6 hectares (13.8 acres)
  • Age: more than 500 years
  • Popular activities: walking, photography
  • Suited to: the people who love traditional Chinese architecture and gardens
  • Time needed: 2–3 hours

The Highlights You Should Not Miss

The Humble Administrator's Garden is the represent of the gardens in the south region of Yangtze River and considered as the mother of Chinese gardens. With its classical and gorgeous gardens, it has been a valuable cultural relic both in China and world.

Humble Administrator's GardenHumble Administrator's Garden

Taking water as the mainline, the arrangement in the Humble Administrator's Garden is very natural in space. The water is wide and peaceful on the surface. Pools are built in the center with pavilions standing around, and wingding corridors connecting with each other.

Endless waters, winding paths, sheer hills, old trees, green bamboos and all kinds of flowers bring the tourists into a quiet and far-away world.

It consists of Eastern, Western and Central parks as well as residences of the former owners.

The Eastern Section

The Eastern Section covers an area of 31 mu (5 acres) and is divided into four tourist spots. Cross the porch and the courtyard, though the Xuelan Tang, you will find yourself in the eastern garden.

On the east of the garden is a vast lawn with earth pile hill standing in the west. Above the hill is wooden pavilions surrounded by flowing water and willow.

The main attractions are Lan Xue Tang, Pinery Lawn and Tianquan Pavilion. The main building is the Cymbidium Goeingii Hall . Lan Xue Tang's south wall has a panoramic map of the entire garden.

The Western Section

Humble Administrator's Garden

The western region of the Humble Administrator's Garden covers an area of half and 12 mu (2 acres). With the pools for the center, the circuitous water connects to the large pool in the center.

Besides the former attractions such as the tower shadow Pavilion and the Stay and Listen Pavilion, Flos Daturae View and Saliu Mandarin Duck Guan, meaning 18 Camellias Hall in English 36 Pairs of Mandarin Duck's Hall in English, are newly built. They are divided into the south part and the north part with partition board.

In summer we can share the view in the north park that Mandarin Ducks swimming on the pool where planted with many lotus. While in winter, it is better to appreciate the delicate stacking man-made rocks and blossoming camellias.

The Central Section

The Central Section is the main and elite part of the garden with an area of half and 18 mu (3 acres).

Nearly one-third of its area is covered by water. Pavilions, towers and terraces are built around the central pool; some even are built in the water. Vast trees are green with buildings of different shapes arranged by the water.

It has well remained the garden pattern of the Ming Dynasty, which is pristine and bright. The Hall of Distant Fragrance is the main building that is named after a lotus pool nearby.

When summer comes, all the lotuses are in blossoming in the pool with special fragrance wafted into the building. Most names of the building in the central section are related to the lotuses for the builder was aiming at expressing his lofty quality by lotus.

The Best Time for a Visit

Humble Administrator's Garden

The best time to visit Humble Administrator's Garden is in spring when the garden is dotted with green trees and blossoming flowers.

You'd better to visit the garden on a weekday as it will be less crowded than on a weekend.

Travel Essentials for Planning a Trip

  • Location: 170 Northeastern Street, Suzhou
  • Transport: Take tourism buses No. 1, 2, 5 to the Humble Administrator's Garden
  • Open: 7:30am–5:30pm
  • Entrance fee: 70 yuan (Apr 16–Oct 30); 50 yuan (Oct 31–Apr 15)

Nearby Attractions

  • Lingering Garden: It is a classic example of the Qing Dynasty's garden landscaping.
  • Master of the Nets Garden: It is the smallest yet the most delicate landscape garden in Suzhou City.
  • Tiger Hill: It is an amazing place with a great pagoda on top of the hill and a nice view.

Tour Humble Administrator's Garden with China Highlights

Tour Humble Administrator's Garden with China Highlights Tour Humble Administrator's Garden with China Highlights

If you are planning a tour to Humble Administrator's Garden, or Suzhou city, please see our popular tours below for inspiration:

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