New in Suzhou
Suzhou is big and has many inhabitants, but it is a very comfortable city to live in. It is clean, wide and the facilities and public transportation are good. Suzhou can basically be split in two parts when looking at the expat community: SIP (Suzhou Industrial Park) and SND (Suzhou New District).
Most foreigners/expats live in (Singapore) Suzhou Industrial Park or simply SIP (园区), which is an area with significant Singaporean influence in the east of Suzhou close to the Jinji Lake金鸡湖 (Golden Chicken lake) and Dushu Lake, 独墅湖. SIP was established in 1994 as a joint development for China in its drive for modernization to learn more about Singaporean modern management methods. For education in SIP there is Suzhou Dushu Lake Higher Education Town, one of the government’s key projects. There are many international schools in this area, among which the first Sino-British university (Xi’An Jiaotong Liverpool University).
In general, SIP is a beautiful and spacious part of Suzhou, great for walking and biking. This area has many restaurants, international supermarkets, hotels, banks and shopping malls. The landscape is marked by a pants-shaped skyscraper called “Gate to the East” that symbolizes a gateway to the city by emphasizing Suzhou’s continuing significance in modern China. There is also a train station in SIP. .
Suzhou New District 高新区 (SND) is located in the west of Suzhou and is one of the specially designated regions for technological and industrial development in China. Many different types of industries are present in SND, including consumer electronics, information technology, precision instruments, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. A small amount of expats live in this district around the Shangri-La hotel and the “Japanese Street” where you can find many Japanese restaurants and bars. An IKEA is to be opened in 2016 close to the SND train station. Suzhou Amusement Land is located at the starting point of the SND tram that leads to Suzhou Science and Technology Town (SSTT) where many companies and factories are located. The big Tai Lake (太湖) is located in SND and connects Suzhou with Wuxi.
Currently, Suzhou has three subway lines; line 1, 2 and 4. Buses and taxis are also very common and affordable ways of transport as the subway does not cover the whole area of Suzhou.
When relocating to Suzhou, it might be recommended to find a good relocation agent who can help you finding a place to live, a school for your kids and assist you with other practical things like opening a bank account.
We hope the tips on WeAreSuzhou will help you to start off your Suzhou life easily and in a more fun way!