The Panmen scenic area
2017 has not had a great start if we think about air pollution. The PM2.5 index has been over 150 (unhealthy) every day for now. Sigh, this is winter in China. But we had a long weekend for New Year and we couldn’t stay at home all the time! So on Sunday we went to visit the Panmen scenic area, which is in the south western corner of Suzhou’s old town.
This scenic area consists of the Ruiguang pagoda (the earliest pagoda built in Suzhou), several pavilions, a park with a lake and a gate of the old city wall. The entrance ticket is 40 RMB, which is not exactly cheap but I am already used to these prices… At least the place was clean and well taken care of. Ah, it seems if you stay in the Pan Pacific hotel, which is right next door, you can enter the scenic area for free.
If you enter through the main door (in Dongda street), the pagoda will be the first thing you see. It seems usually you should be able to get inside (for an additional fee of 6 RMB I think it was) but it was under repairment on Sunday. I asked when it would be done and I got a “no idea” so, who knows? Months? Years?
The park with the lake was pretty quiet, it looked like a perfect spot to sit and enjoy the sun when the weather is warmer. There was also a mini waterfalls with a stone crossing that was very busy.
The wall gate was very similar to the one we visited in September, but I’m not sure if this one has been recently renovated or not.
Right next to the exit of the scenic zone there was a park where a lot of dogs were having a meeting. There were 6 or 7 golden retrievers, a couple of huge Alaskans, a samoyed, a couple of corgis and several more. At first we were observing them from up the wall and thinking about bringing Nico next time, but when two golden retrievers started fighting and one ended with a bleeding face we decided not to go. Nico is too old for that!