This place is all about location, which is why a lot of people think it’s better than old Hu’s house. We suspect that Hu could have built a much more fabulous villa, but instead opted to live close to the office (cross-town traffic was probably a bitch back then). Guo’s Villa is older (built in 1851) and bigger (2.42 acres), which gives it a more spacious feel. It’s only got two sections, though. The southern area is called Living in Quietness and is the residential section. It consists of two halls and two winged rooms which wrap around to form a courtyard in the middle of which sits a small lily pond. This is known as the Zhejiang-style quadrangle and is where Guo Shilin used to receive his guests. The northern section, Sky in the Mirror, is the garden. Now, we could go through and tell you all of the poetic names of the spots, but is it really necessary? Suffice it to say, throughout there are rock formations, winding corridors, lotus-covered ponds crossed by elegant stone bridges, graceful miniature pagodas and richly-decorated pavilions. But, let’s get back to the location. This spot on the lake is just peaceful. You can sit and sip some tea and watch all of the boat guys huffing and puffing away as they row tourists by for some snappies. Afterwards, take a leisurely stroll down Su Causeway.
Certainly our villas and gardens in Hangzhou pale in comparison to those of Suzhou, but we are still one of the best places in the country to take a gander at these babies. Maybe these two will wet your whistle and inspire you to hop on a bus to Suzhou to check out what they have to offer.
Ticket price: 10RMB, half price for children, free for children shorter than 1M.