After months of talking about it, finally it has come time for me to relocate back to Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong Province in Southern China. Guangzhou has a special place in my heart because I lived there for a few years when I first came to China in 2003. I have enjoyed living and working in Suzhou for the past 11 months (excluding the 2 months in Shanghai).
Suzhou is technically split into two parts- the historic Suzhou, and the Suzhou Singapore Industrial Park (SIP). The old Suzhou is still very much a tourist town with all the historic gardens and canals. Whereas Suzhou SIP is more of an expat haven that feels like being in an affluent part of the U.K. or the U.S.A.. In the SIP area there are famous International schools such as Dulwich College Suzhou, and there are MANY expat shops, restaurants, and bars selling imported European and American food. Suzhou SIP itself is perhaps the most beautiful, cleanest, and spacious city I have been in China.
Prior to my arrival in Suzhou, my impression of this city was somewhat limited to one that most non-residents have, and that is of an ancient and historic Suzhou with period architecture and lush greenery blended in with canals (hence why it's known as the Venice of the East). I never imagined that one day I would be living the life of an expat in this city. It is quite a privilege to be able to witness the beauty of Suzhou as a 2nd tier city, and also how rapidly it’s growing, both economically, and geographically.
I have really enjoyed living here, and I am going to miss it a lot. It really is a fantastic place to live in. In the SIP area, you can go to Jinji Lake, Times Square, and around Ling Long Wan to do shopping and eat delicious Korean and Japanese food. Suzhou has a large Japanese and Korean expat community. Then there is an assortment of Americans, British, French, Spanish and other European nationalities, Indians, and of course, Singaporeans.
In fact Suzhou is not as expensive as, say for example, Shanghai, Shenzhen, or Beijing, but it is more expensive than most 2nd tier cities such as Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Tianjin. For example, the house prices in Suzhou vary from around 1300RMB a month for a 45 Sqm 1 bedroom home (in downtown old Suzhou), to 35,000RMB a month for a 150 Sqm 4 bedroom home (Suzhou SIP area). I live in the SIP area, quite close to Kunshan and so the house prices in this area are competitive for the expat luxury market.
It may be frustrating sometimes that the roads in Suzhou SIP are EMPTY 90% of the time, where the streets in downtown Suzhou are BUSY 90 of the time! That's the remarkable beauty of this amazing. There are also two railway stations- One in the SIP area (more modern but quiet and empty), and the main Suzhou station (Very BUSY). Overall, Suzhou SIP feels like a ghost town because the roads are all empty 24 hours a day (photos below)!
Having lived and worked here, I also feel that the people of Suzhou are more oriented towards their career and are more serious on maintaining a long term job security than people, in say, Shenzhen (where most of the people are migrants).
So, with a very heavy heart I say goodbye to Suzhou. On the other hand I am very much looking forward to relocating back to Guangzhou (I used to live in Panyu for over 2 years before coming to Suzhou and Shanghai). Here I have included some images of life in Suzhou. There is a good mix of the old and new Suzhou.
Amidst the sad feeling of missing good friends, and my home for the past 11 months it's time to face the facts and move on in life. That's the way the stone rolls. The rock tumbles...the cookie crumbles. Ciao Ciao Suzhou. :-(
Get in Touch:
Here I share my thoughts
and experiences during
my travels, and how some things have affected my life as an expat and world traveller. Travelling is about capturing that moment in life. Every word, view and opinion on this page is that of Navjot Singh - except where indicated. The most recent is at the top. Scroll down to read the archive. Or search using CTRL+F (COMMAND + F) and enter a keyword to search the page. Just some of the stories you never heard before.
The NAVJOT-SINGH.COM web blog is separate to this web site....Click blog, which may
not be visible in some
countries due to local
so in those cases this
weblog may be read. The weblog also includes some of my press trip reports- most of which are not published on the official blog because of copyright issues. The weblog also contains articles that may be associated directly with a PR trip for a country, airline or a hotel. These are PR reviews done in relations with various companies.
If you are an investor or a trend watcher then you may find this website useful as investing has a lot to do with personal observations and finding the ideal trend or next big thing. The average human on the street frequently knows far more about the state of the economy than politicians, university professors, subject matter experts, and financial analysts who seldom travel, or if they do so, only from one hotel to another hotel! The pulse and vibrancy of an economy is nowhere more visible than on a country's streets.
All photos and words
are © Navjot Singh unless stated. Photos taken by others or by agencies are appropriately copyrighted under the respective name. No photo or word/s may be taken without the prior written permission by the author (i.e. Navjot Singh). All Rights Reserved.