Suzhou Travel Advice, Information and Directory

Health Care Accessing Money
Book Shops Visa Extensions
Internet Access Postal Services
Phone Services Tourist Information Centers
Online Resources

Health, Doctors and Pharmacies in Suzhou

There are plenty of pharmacies around Suzhou and there shouldn’t be any trouble finding one (although communication at pharmacies can be difficult).

If you need medical attention your best bet is the Sing Health Medical Clinic which has doctors who speak English.

Sing Health Medical Clinic
Address: 128 Jinjihu Lu.
Tel: (0512) 6767 1656
Website: www.singhealthmedical.com

Accessing Money in Suzhou

ATMs that accept foreign cards are plentiful in Suzhou and ATMs almost always have a choice between English or Chinese operating language. Occasionally you will encounter an ATM that doesn’t accept foreign cards, but you can always rely on Bank of China or ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) ATMs which are plentiful enough. Just look for the logo of your particular card (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, etc) on the ATM.

The Bank of China can always exchange money. A convenient central location is at #188 Ganjiang Xi Lu.

Western Union Services are offered at many China Post outlets, including the one listed under Post Offices and Courier Services (below).

Book Shops in Suzhou

The Foreign Languages Bookstore in Suzhou is currently under renovation. So for now the best bet is the rather limited Suzhou Book City.

Suzhou Book City
Has a very limited range of books in English and a few maps.
Address: 166 Guangqian Lu. Open: 9:00-21:00.

Visa Extensions in Suzhou

The Public Security Bureau that handles visa extensions in Suzhou is on Dashitou Lane. Dashitou Lane runs west off Renmin Lu, one street south of the intersection with Ganjiang Lu.

Internet Access in Suzhou

All hotels and hostels in Suzhou will have some form of internet access. Almost all hotels of 3 star or higher classification have in-room internet access, which can be used if you’re traveling with a laptop. Many hotels provide this service for free while others charge anywhere from $5-$15 per day, depending on the hotel. Hotels will also have a business center with internet access as well as a printer.

Internet cafes are common in Suzhou, however, most have no English signs to identify them. Internet cafe is ‘wangba’ in Chinese and luckily these characters are quite distinctive (网吧). Keep your eye out for those characters when seeking an internet cafe.

The Kodak Express outlet at #32 Jingde Lu (just west of Renmin Lu) has email, photocopying, CD burning and printing services.

Post Offices and Courier Services in Suzhou

The Chinese postal service is generally quite efficient. Postcards or letters sent from Suzhou will usually take around 7 or 8 working China Post, Suzhoudays to reach North America, Europe or Australia. Parcels will take a bit longer. If you need things to be sent urgently then you can use one of the international courier services.

There are plenty of post offices around Suzhou. The main post office is conveniently located at 1401 Renmin Lu (at the intersection with Jingde Lu; Open 8-20). China Post also offers an Express Mail Service which is a cheaper alternative to using international courier companies. In addition to postal services it is also possible to make Western Union transfers at this branch.

A number of international courier companies have offices in Suzhou. With a courier service, a letter will take about three or four days to reach North America, Europe or Australasia and cost around $50 to send. Packages will cost more, depending on their weight.

TNT
Address: 277 Yangdong Lu (South Xinyi Building), 1st Floor.
Tel: (0512) 6715 8000
Website: www.tnt.com.cn/en/index.asp

DHL
Address: 8 Suhua Lu (Sovereign Building), 23rd Floor.
Tel: (0512) 6252 3055
Website: www.cn.dhl.com/en.html

UPS
Address: 19 Dongxing Lu
Tel: (0512) 6742 8188
Website: www.ups.com/content/cn/en/index.jsx

Phone Calls To and From Suzhou

The international phone code of China is “86” and the area code of Suzhou is “0512”.

If you call to Suzhou from abroad, you should dial the international access number (usually 00 or “+”), then the code for China “86”, then the code for Suzhou without the ‘0’ (512), and then the 8-digit city number.

If you call to Suzhou from inside China, then dial the full Suzhou code (0512), and then the 8-digit city number.

If you dial a Suzhou number inside Suzhou, just dial the 8-digit number, without any prefixes. Note that if you call a Suzhou landline from a mobile phone while in Suzhou, you should include the ‘0512’ prefix.

For international calls, IP (Internet Phone) international calling cards can be bought at most small shops, newsstands and hotels in Suzhou. Just look for a sign saying “IP”. A card with ¥100 credit actually sells for about ¥35 (some vendors will try to charge you ¥40). Rates vary depending on what country you’re calling, but a card with ¥100 credit will generally buy you about 20-25 minutes talking time when calling to the US, Europe or Australia.

If you plan to stay in Suzhou for a longer period it is reasonably cheap to buy a SIM card with one of the local operators: China Mobile or China Unicom. A SIM card usually costs around ¥100-120 and generally includes ¥50 credit. You also pay more depending on how ‘lucky’ your phone number is. Average call charges are ¥0.6 per minute and ¥0.15 per SMS. Once you move outside the city where you bought the card you have to pay slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ charges.

If you already have a Chinese SIM card with one of these networks then it will also work in Suzhou, though you will be charged slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ tariffs.

Tourist Information Centers in Suzhou

There are a number of Suzhou Tourist Information Center outlets around the city, usually near the major tourist attractions. They generally feature helpful staff with excellent English who will be happy to hand out tourist brochures. They also sell excellent maps for ¥5. There’s one on Dongbei Jie (just west of the entrance to the Humble Administrator’s Garden).

You can call the Suzhou Tourism Information Center on (0512) 6520 3131.

Suzhou Online Resources

More Suzhou: This is the website to go to for restaurant and nightlife listings. They put out a monthly English-language magazine in Suzhou which is quite good.

Classic Suzhou: The official website of the Suzhou Tourism Bureau has some useful information about sightseeing and general travel advice.