The Baimajian (White Horse Gully) and Longchi (Dragon Pool) resort is located in the western part of Suzhou New District. It is an important part of the city’s western tourist area and a natural green part of the district.
A natural ecological leisure site for the downtown area, it has six zones, four natural and two for public recreation.
The cultural heritage of the resort dates back 2,500 years. During the Warring State Period (475-221 BC), the site was a horse keeping place of the King of Wu, and Gou Jian, the King of Yue, endured hardships and disgrace as a horse keeper at the site before going back and reuniting his kingdom. It was also the temporary location of the imperial palace during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when the Kangxi and Qianlong emperors traveled and explored southern China.
The resort is now a modern recreational area featuring the horse pond and Xieyue Mountain. Tourists can enjoy the cultural heritage of Longchi by strolling along an ancient path that winds between parts of the temporary palace of the Qianlong emperor. There are many stone inscriptions from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties, including “thousand-feet of snow” and “longevity stone” by Zhao Yiguang of the Ming Dynasty and “bright mirror-like river ripples under white clouds” from the time of the Qianlong emperor. The area also contains the “humble cottage” of Xu Fang, a calligrapher of the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, along with other scenic spots, such as a waterfall in Cloud Valley, the “horse-searching pavilion”, a riverside footpath, natural stones, a 10-mile wooden shed, and “Washing Heart Spring”.
The spots are a combination of historical and modern scenes. In 2002, biologists found a peach blossom jellyfish at Dragon Pool, considered a living fossil, a species that goes back 550 million years. The jellyfish can be frequently spotted in the pool.
White Horse Gully has mountains on three sides. The mountains are not high, but give a great tranquility. They were formed by a violent shift of the earth’s crust about 100 million years ago.
In the mountains, tourists can see some lovely stones of various shapes, such as a golden toad, a horse head, or a Buddha’s palm. Standing on the peaks and looking far away, you can imagine how the ancient poets and writers were moved by the views before them.
The clear water nurtures the green trees, the “green lungs” of the city that bring it calm. The resort has many different species of trees and is an ideal place for students and tourists to learn more about plant types.
The area has various recreational programs for children, including a large swinging bridge, a castle and a playground. It also has recreational activities, such as rafting, a spacewalk, and meadow sliding. Other services include the Cloud Valley Villa and Dragon Pool restaurants, the Knight Islet coffee shop, Suzhou snacks and a large barbecue area.
In 2005, the scenic area was recognized as an advanced tourism unit by the Suzhou government, and as one of the best investment destinations and an advanced tourist services unit by the Suzhou tourism administration committee. On Dec 4, 2006, it got its AAAA scenic spot certification; the 20th in Suzhou. Other awards include being named a Suzhou advanced healthy city unit, a Suzhou tourism sector advanced unit for 2007 and 2008, a Jiangsu environmental education base, a Suzhou tourism unit with credibility, and best rural tourism site of Suzhou.
The Longchi scenic resort has been honored as a place of idyllic beauty in a modern city and as one of the best destinations for recreation and cultural activities.
40 yuan/person for groups of 20 or more;
25 yuan/person for citizens above the age of 60 with a citizen Identity Card;
Free of charge for those above the age of 70, with a citizen Identity Card, ex-servicemen and retired cadres.
Tel: +86-512-66658111; +86-512-66625816
Take bus No 333 on the Suzhou Shilu Aiheqiao (Shilu-Longchi scenic area) line.
Take busses Nos 44, 325, 442 or 301, and then transfer at the Huashanlu stop to bus No 333.