Liuyuan Garden – Ticket Price, Opening Hours, Location, and highlights

liuyuan garden

Liuyuan Garden (留园), also known as “Lingering Garden,” is a prominent classical private garden located in Suzhou, China. Its origins trace back to the 21st year of the Ming Dynasty’s Wanli era, established in 1593 AD as the private garden of Xu Taishi, who held the position of “Assistant Minister of the Imperial Household Department.” Initially named “Dongyuan” or “East Garden,” it underwent significant transformations over the centuries, ultimately becoming one of the four renowned classical gardens in China, alongside Suzhou’s Humble Administrator’s Garden, Beijing’s Summer Palace, and Chengde’s Mountain Resort for Escaping the Heat.

During the late Qing Dynasty, specifically in the waning years of the Qianlong era, Liuyuan came into the possession of Liu Shu. After expansion and enhancements, it was renamed “Han Bi Shan Zhuang” or “Cold Jade Mountain Villa,” earning the moniker “Liu Garden.” In the early years of the Guangxu era, a prominent local official and scholar named Sheng Kang acquired the garden, leading to its final renaming as “Liuyuan.”

Covering an expansive area of 23,300 square meters, Liuyuan exemplifies the architectural and landscaping styles of the Qing Dynasty. Renowned for its intricate design and layout, the garden integrates irregular arrangements, seamlessly blending architectural elements with the natural surroundings of mountains, water features, and rocks. The clever use of cloud walls and architectural clusters divides the garden into four distinct scenic areas: Central, East, North, and West.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour2 hours
Ticket Price55 RMB
Opening Hours7.30 – 17.30; Last admission: 17.00 (1st March – 31st October)
7.30 – 17.00; Last admission: 16.30 (1st November – 28th February the next year)
Telephone Number0086-0512-65337903

Location and Transportation

Liuyuan Garden is located in the northwestern part of Suzhou’s Old Town, just a short distance away from the iconic Grand Canal. Its exact address is No. 49, East Avenue, Gusu District, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. To get there, you can choose the following ways:

Bus: Take bus 34, 317, 933, Huqiu Express line, or Gusu Tourist Line 1 and get off Liuyuan Garden Stop (留园站)

Metro: The nearest metro station to Liuyuan Garden is Shi Road (石路) on line 2. After getting out of the station from Exit 2, walk about 900 meters to the northwest to reach the garden.


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Highlights of Liuyuan Garden

Central Area of Liuyuan Garden

timeless architecture of liuyuan garden

In the Central area, which was originally the site of Han Bi Shan Zhuang, a broad pool is flanked by mountains to the west and north, with buildings situated to the east and south. The artificial hills, primarily composed of earth and layered with yellow stones, exude a majestic presence. Ancient trees grace the mountain slopes, creating a dense forest atmosphere. Meandering water channels between the hills mimic the flow of a natural spring, enhancing the scenic beauty. Dominating the southern part of the pool are the prominent structures of Han Bi Shan Fang and Ming Se Lou, the main buildings in Liuyuan. The architecture, resembling a traditional Chinese boat, imparts a picturesque charm. To the east of these buildings is the Green Shade Pavilion, a delicate and elegant structure that, hanging over the water, contributes to the overall landscape reminiscent of a classical Chinese painting. On the west side of Han Bi Shan Fang is the Climbing Mountain Corridor, connecting to the aromatic Wood Fragrance Pavilion at the summit. The abundance of osmanthus trees on the mountain provides a fragrant atmosphere, creating a refreshing and picturesque scene.


Eastern Area of Liuyuan Garden

seasonal beauty of liuyuan garden

The Eastern area features intricate gates and deep courtyards, creating a maze-like layout. Interconnected by latticed windows, doorways, and long corridors, the courtyards form a dynamic architectural ensemble, making this part of Liuyuan one of the most varied spaces in Suzhou’s garden architecture. The main hall, known as the Five Peaks Immortal Hall or Nanmu Hall, boasts exquisite interior decoration and elegant furnishings. To the west of this hall lie additional courtyards, including the Crane Courtyard, Stone Forest Small Courtyard, Yifeng Pavilion, and the Reading Retreat. The Hall of Linquan Qishuo features a central area separated by delicately carved and translucent circular openings. The hall’s northern side is dominated by the renowned Liuyuan Three Peaks – the Guanyun Peak in the center, surrounded by Ruiyun Peak and Xiu Yun Peak. Guanyun Peak, standing at 6.5 meters, is the largest and tallest rock in Jiangnan’s classical gardens. In front of the peak lies the Hanyun Pond, surrounded by structures such as the Guanyun Tower, Guanyun Pavilion, Guanyun Terrace, and the Zuyun Nunnery, all dedicated to appreciating rocks.


Western and Norther Area

tranquil retreat of liuyuan garden

The Western area, centered around artificial hills, seamlessly combines earth and stones to create a naturally formed landscape. Maple trees cover the hills, providing shade in the scorching summer and transforming into a vibrant display of red foliage in deep autumn. The Yile Pavilion and Shuxiao Pavilion emerge subtly among the trees. From these high points, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the scenic wonders in the western suburbs. To the left of the hills, a cloud wall undulates like a wandering dragon, while a meandering stream flows in front, creating a soothing ambiance. At the foot of the eastern slope lies the Shuige, a lively pavilion positioned under the stream, evoking a sense of endless water flow.

The Northern area, where original structures have long been abandoned, has been transformed into a lush landscape featuring bamboo, plum, peach, and apricot trees. Grapes and wisteria are cultivated in areas such as “You Yi Cun,” adding to the overall pastoral charm of the garden.


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Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Make Advance Reservations: It is highly recommended to make advance reservations. Compared to other popular gardens like Humble Administrator’s Garden and Lion Grove Garden, Liuyuan Garden tends to have fewer visitors, providing a more refined and elegant experience. Consider entering the garden at 7:30 AM or 3:00 PM for even fewer crowds.

No Smoking Allowed: Smoking is prohibited within the garden premises. Please refrain from smoking and take this opportunity to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the garden.

Utilize the Visitor Center: The Visitor Center offers spacious storage lockers where you can securely store your belongings. Take advantage of this service to lighten your load and explore the scenic areas with ease.

Seasonal Highlights: In spring, the east garden’s cherry blossoms are beautiful, while the maple forests on the western hills are stunning in autumn. The garden is also home to many adorable cats.

Beware of Mosquitoes in Summer and Autumn: During summer and autumn, the garden may have a significant mosquito population. Be sure to use mosquito repellent and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites while exploring the garden.


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