Mudu Ancient Town – Ticket Price, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

mudu ancient town

Mudu Ancient Town (木渎古镇), also known as Duchen, Xujian, is located in the southeast of Jiangsu Province, in the western part of the ancient city of Suzhou. Situated in the Taihu Lake basin, Mudu is a renowned scenic area in southern Jiangnan, often referred to as the “first town in Wuzhong” and the “beauty of Jiangnan.”

With a history spanning over 2500 years, Mudu Ancient Town is a Han Chinese water town that emerged contemporaneously with the city of Suzhou. Legend has it that during the late Spring and Autumn period, the states of Wu and Yue were in conflict, and after the defeat of the Yue state, King Goujian used the strategy of “beauty trap” by presenting the beautiful woman Xi Shi to King Fuchai of Wu. King Fuchai was enamored with Xi Shi and built the Guanwa Palace for her on the picturesque Lingyan Mountain, and also added the Gusu Platform to Purple Stone Mountain, a construction effort that took three years to gather materials and five years to complete. The constant flow of wood used in the construction blocked the river port below the mountain, giving rise to the name “Mudu” which translates to “wood blocking the port.”

Table of Contents

Basic Information

Estimated Length of TourHalf a day
Ticket PriceThe town itself is free. The combined ticket for all the attractions in the town costs 78 RMB
Opening Hours8.30 – 17.00; Last admission: 16.30 (1st April – 31st October)
8.30 -16.30; Last admission: 16.00 (1st November – 31st March the next year)
Telephone Number0086-0512-66561218

Location and Transportation

Mudu Ancient Town, one of Suzhou’s cherished gems, is nestled within the city’s broader urban area. Specifically, it lies about 12 kilometers west of Suzhou’s city center, making it easily accessible for both local residents and tourists alike. To get there, you can choose the following ways:

Bus: Take bus 2, 64, 65, 312, 326, 505, 506, 508, 511, 512, 621, 663, 691, 692, Tourist line 1, or Tourist Line 2, get off at Family Yan’s Garden in Mudu Ancient Town Stop (木渎古镇严家花园), and you will be standing at the north edge of the town.

Metro: The nearest metro station to Mudu Ancient Town is Lingyan Mountain (灵岩山) on line 5. After getting out of the station from Exit 1, you will be standing at the southwestern corner of the town.

Highlights of Mudu Ancient Town

Yan Family Garden

timeless architecture in mudu ancient town

Yan Family Garden, situated in the north of Wangjia Bridge in Shantang Street, was initially the residence of Shen Deqian, a prominent figure in Suzhou during the Qing Dynasty. In 1828, the descendants of Shen Deqian handed over the property to Mudu poet Qian Duanxi. Over the course of more than two hundred years and three generations, the garden underwent various renovations and was eventually named “Xianyuan” by Mudu’s first wealthy resident, Yan Guoxin. The locals affectionately refer to it as “Yan Family Garden,” attributing a cultural and prestigious atmosphere to it.

Natural Scenery

tranquil waterways in mudu ancient town

Lingyan Mountain

Situated in the northwest of Mudu Ancient Town, Lingyan Mountain stands at 182 meters high, covering an area of 124 hectares. The mountain is known for its unique rocks, with Lingzhi Stone being the most prominent, giving the mountain its name. Due to its appearance resembling a giant elephant lying on the ground when viewed from a distance, it is also known as Elephant Mountain.

Tianping Mountain

Located in the ancient northwest of Mudu Ancient Town, Tianping Mountain has an elevation of 201 meters and covers nearly one hundred hectares. Its name, meaning “flat sky mountain,” is derived from the flat summit. Additionally, it is known as Fanfen Mountain because the ancestor of Fan Zhongyan is buried at the foot of the mountain. Suzhou Tianping Mountain, along with Beijing Fragrant Hills, Hunan Yue Lu Mountain, and Nanjing Qixia Mountain, is renowned as one of China’s four major maple leaf viewing spots.

Hongyin Mountain Villa (Hongyin Shanfan)

temples and gardens in mudu ancient town

Located 200 meters east of Yan Family Garden, Hongyin Mountain Villa is a famous Qing Dynasty garden in the suburbs of Suzhou. Because it faces Xiangxi, with Lingyan as its backdrop, the scenery surpasses that of other gardens. Emperor Qianlong, during his visits to Mudu, would make it a point to visit Hongyin Mountain Villa, where he enjoyed strolling through the garden, watching performances, tasting tea, and composing poetry. It was often called the “private palace” of Emperor Qianlong by the locals.

Crafts and Souvenirs

crafts and souvenirs in mudu ancient town

Mudu is a hub for traditional Han Chinese handicrafts. Renowned artists like Yuan Yuchang in clay sculpture, Zhu Bishan in silverware, Lu Zigang in jade carving, and Shen Shou in embroidery have produced nationally recognized masterpieces. Today, local crafts include silk products, double-sided embroidery, mahogany carvings, clear clay inkstones, calligraphy and painting, stone carvings, and more, all available for purchase as souvenirs.

Ancient Pine Garden (Gusong Yuan)

peaceful ambiance in mudu ancient town

Built by the wealthy businessman Cai Shaoyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty, Ancient Pine Garden is a classic example of a Qing-style residence and garden. Cai Shaoyu, known as one of the “Four Wealthy Men of Mudu” alongside Yan Guoxin, Zheng Lingjiu, and Xu Fenglou, constructed a layout featuring a front residence and a rear garden. The buildings in the estate are elegantly simple, with intricate carvings and artistic value. The garden is particularly famous for its ancient pine tree from the Ming Dynasty, known as the Luohan Pine, earning it the name “Ancient Pine Garden”.

Vlog about Mudu Ancient Town

Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Peaceful and Leisurely Atmosphere: Compared to popular streets like Pingjiang Road and Shantang Street, Mudu Ancient Town has fewer visitors, offering a serene and slow-paced environment. Embrace the tranquility and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.

Price Variations Based on Location: Be mindful of pricing differences among stores of the same brand within the ancient town. Similar products may be priced 20%-40% higher in shops closer to the entrance compared to those deeper into the town. Consider exploring the town before making purchases to find better deals.

Explore Different Parts of the Ancient Town: Venture beyond the entrance and explore the deeper parts of Mudu Ancient Town. You may find less crowded areas and discover unique shops and attractions away from the main entrance.

Attend Immersive Night Theater: Don’t miss the immersive theater experience titled “Encounter Suzhou: Memories of Mudu (Night Show).” Reviews suggest that the night performances provide a better and more enjoyable experience compared to daytime shows. Consider attending this captivating theatrical production for a unique cultural experience.

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