The Beisi pagoda
Last Saturday I woke up to a gorgeous blue sky. C. was in a meeting and I didn’t have anyone else to go out with, but that didn’t stop me. If I have learned anything in China is that blue sky days are not to be wasted! I decided to go to the Beisi pagoda, a place I had never visited before. I would have taken Nico (a Buddhist temple wouldn’t stop a living creature from entering their quarters, right??) but unfortunately the pagoda is quite far away and dogs cannot ride the subway in China (in Madrid they can!). So it was just me.
If you arrive to Suzhou by train, the Beisi pagoda is one of the first things you see from the streets around the train station, as it is the highest building in the area. A new subway line was recently excavated under it, and it was said the pagoda became tilted because of that. To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s tilted or not; from the distance it does look a bit tilted. What it’s true is that before you could climb the pagoda and now you can’t. I missed the view from the top!
The Beisi pagoda is located inside a temple complex called Bao’en Temple. It is the oldest temple in Suzhou and it was originally built in the 3rd century AD, although it has been renovated several times since then. Apart from the pagoda there are several pavilions with Buddhist statues inside and a classical garden at the back, with its own lake, rock labyrinth and small hill.
The Beisi pagoda and the temple can be visited for free! They are not among the most popular sites in Suzhou and it seems organised tours don’t bother going there, so it is pretty peaceful and it was not crowded even on a beautiful Saturday morning. I totally recommend it! You can get there with subway line 4, Beisi Pagoda stop.