Suzhou Creek is an area often left unexplored by tourists and expats in Shanghai.One of the principal outlets of Lake Tai, Suzhou Creek has a length of 125 km, of which 54km are within the administrative region of Shanghai and 24 km within the city's highly urbanized parts. The river flows into the Huangpu River at the northern end of the Bund in Huangpu District.
Writer-director Lou Ye's second film, Suzhou River takes as its background the chaotically built-up riverside architecture of factory buildings and abandoned warehouses along the Suzhou River, rather than the glitzy new face of Shanghai. Since this film, the Suzhou Creek has been endowed with a melancholy character.
Suzhou Creek has played an important role for being the demarcation line between political spheres of influences throughout Shanghai's history. After the Treaty of Nanjing forced China to open up in 1842 and Shanghai became an international trade port, the river formed the boundary between the British concession (Southern bank) and the American settlement (Northern bank) until both concessions were merged into the International Settlement in 1863. When the Japanese invaded Shanghai in 1937, the river formed the boundary between the International Settlement (South) and the Japanese concession (North).
Since 1992, the Shanghai Municipal Government has been pursuing a redevelopment of the area. In 1998, authorities launched the Suzhou Creek Rehabilitation Project, a 12-year-program to improve the water quality, mitigate flood impact, introduce wastewater and water resource management and push for urban revitalization and a higher living standard in the desolated areas along Suzhou River. In the meantime, Suzhou River is considered clean enough to host annual rowing competitions.
Originally, most old factories and warehouses along Suzhou River were set be demolished in favour of the construction of modern high-rise buildings in Shanghai's fast-developing city centre, aiming at a social and economic regeneration of the Suzhou River area. However, following initiatives of artists in the late 1990s the riverside has been designated as a protected heritage zone and many warehouses have been conserved, now providing quarters for Shanghai's flourishing art scene. In 2002, new plans for the redevelopment of the riverfront of Suzhou Creek were approved. These plans, based upon proposals by three international firms, call for the construction of entertainment facilities and 1 square kilometre of parks along the downtown section of Suzhou Creek between Zhongshan Park and its confluence with Huangpu River, aiming to raise the commercial attractiveness of this central part of the river. New structures include shops, bars and a total of 95 greenbelts at the banks of the river, which are supposed to be planted by 2010, the time the Suzhou Creek Rehabilitation Project is completed. While some areas already leased to investors will have to be reclaimed and old residential and industrial facilities are supposed to be replaced, authorities assert that the protection of historical buildings, especially warehouses, will be respected.
Bridges Suzhou Creek is crossed by a number of distinctive bridges, often European in style, the most famous one being Waibaidu Bridge (Garden Bridge) right at its confluence with Huangpu River.
Facilitating north-south traffic in the ever-growing metropolis, a number of new bridges are currently being constructed. Gubei Road bridge, to be opened in late 2006, will be the longest bridge over the waterway. By 2007, there will be thirty bridges spanning Suzhou Creek.
Gorgeous night scenes, distinctive bridges with cultural characteristics, beautiful park greenbelts and hydrophilic waterlines are what constitute the landscape along the Suzhou Creek.
At present, the 14-kilometer sightseeing route in the Suzhou Creek Rim has been opened. Besides, Shanghai Suzhou Creek Sightseeing Co., Ltd. has been set up, which owns 8 boats with the capacity of 182 people at a time. There are 3 marinas with about 50 berths available for the boats. During the period of 12th five-year plan, Suzhou Creek Route will extend to both ends and reach Huangpu River and Zhujiajiao respectively.
The Suzhou Creek Rim aims to build itself into a practical demonstration area with the integrated development of production, life and ecology by prioritizing the development of the cultural and creative industry, professional services and the tourism and leisure industry, and creating international leisure travel brands of the Suzhou Creek.
Add one more thing to you summer “to do” list: Suzhou Creek scenic night cruises. Although the city already has plenty of boats trolling the Huangpu at night, showing off the glamor of both Bunds, the Suzhou Creek will show off the subtler side of Shanghai from old factories and warehouses from the 1930s to colorful residential high-rises and newly built parks.
A limited number of daytime cruises on the creek did begin early this spring, but these will be the first night tours permitted by the city, part of a city-wide plan to revamp parts of Shanghai to make it a more desirable tourist destination. Much of the drive has been rooted in the number of people coming to the city for the Shanghai 2010 Expo.
The 10 kilometer cruise will float by 16 specially lit spots located from Moganshan Lu to Changfeng Park.
Although a specific date hasn’t been set for the first night tour, Putuo District Tourism Bureau Deputy Director Liang Liqun assured Xinmin Evening News, "This August, the Suzhou River night tours will definitely open.” The tours will take about 45 minutes and cost RMB 70 per person, according to Shanghai Daily with fees going to cover the cost of the creek’s new landscaping.
Suzhou creek river cruise opened on April 28,2010. Its tour route is between Danba road dock and Changhua road dock.
Tours are expected to take in several new museums, including the Matchbox Museum (2521 West Guangfu Rd; 光复西路 2521 号 ), the Coin Museum (17 West Guangfu Rd, inside the Shanghai Mint; 光复西路 17 号上海造币厂内 ) and the Silk Museum (289 Aomen Rd; 澳门路 289 号; admission free), actually tours of a silk factory. Boats will leave from W Guangfu Rd in western Jìng’ān, running for a 10km stretch along Suzhou Creek to the M50 art galleries (it will be easiest to find more information about the tours at M50). There are plans to extend the tour to Waibaidu Bridge, on the Bund, in the future. This may be geared more toward tour groups than individual travellers, so scout it out before making plans.
The journey is about 10km long and almost an hour for one way trip. In the day time, one way ticket is 50RMB, and round-trip is 80RMB. However, price for night cruise will be higher. Detail is here.
Currently, there have six river buses to run which is Suzhou Creek No. 1, 2, 3 (Maximum passengers: 10), No. 11, 12 (Maximum passengers: 26), and No. 21 (Maximum passengers:50). Shanghai public transportation card is OK to take river bus. Kids under 1.3 meter enjoy half price to trip. More questions, here is customer service number: 4008800862
There are many ways to explore the Suzhou Creek (although it may be more fitting to call it a river) and its surroundings as it cuts through central Shanghai on its way from Lake Tai to the Huangpu River. You can easily stroll along its banks, particularly if you’re interested in exploring the trendy artist colony that is home to more than a 100 working artists in the formerly vacant warehouses along the banks of the Suzhou.
Two of the best ways to access the area are by bike and by boat.
Bicycles are easily rented in Shanghai, and if you’re staying in the city long, it’s almost a necessity to have one at your disposal. If you’re the independent type, the geography of the river makes it simple enough to venture along without the need to be completely familiar with the city. However, it can be beneficial to hook up with one of the handful of guided bike tours that are available. Guides can teach you about the local architecture and history, as well as help you navigate a safe and successful route along the river and across some of its bridges.
Certainly one of the most enjoyable methods of seeing the Suzhou is by boat, but with this method of exploration, a guided tour is a must. The good news is that following a decade-long cleanup effort, the number of tours offered have diversified and increased. Take your pick!