The Single Dude’s Guide to Suzhou, China

Li Gong DiChina.  Land of Mao, Yao Ming, Confucius, Jackie Chan, and roughly a billion more and counting.  I do admit, it took us at Single Dude Travel a long time before we sent our our fist scout team to China, but I finally packed off for a couple months in China and have had very promising results to report so far.

First I need to disclaim that this article only refers to Shuzhou, China. Suzhou is a city of about 8,000,000 about 2 hours drive from Shanghai. I’m sure there are many places in China that are radically different just like you might notice some minor differences between say… Detroit and Beverly Hills.

Suzhou, China is a very good single dude travel destination. Suzhou is a large industrial city that really caters to foreigners largely due to the fact that there are many foreign businessmen living here. Suzhou is beautiful, modern, clean, well organized and doesn’t have the feeling of overcrowding that you would expect from the world’s most populous country. Pretty much everything I expected from China was wrong, at least in Suzhou.  First of all, the people are extremely friendly and polite – especially to foreigners. They really seem to have a genuine desire to see that you are comfortable and well taken care of and it’s not because they expect a large tip, there is little to no tipping here!

If you can live like a king in Eastern Europe on a small budget you can live like a god in China. Here’s a sampling of the prices of stuff here:

Ride in a taxi for 5 km / 3 miles for – $1.53
Eat lunch in a nice restaurant – $6
Haircut and a half hour upper body massage – $6 (I’m told I overpaid)
One hour full body massage – $9.25
Dinner in a fancy high class restaurant – $13
All you can eat hibachi and all you can drink beer, wine and sake – $23
Dental exam and cleaning in a high quality clinic catering to foreigners – $46
Private Chinese lessons with the teacher coming to my location – $13 / hour (I’m told this is expensive)
Enough groceries to to make 4 or 5 good meals for 2 and 2 decent bottles of wine – $21 (note more than half of the price was the wine)
Drink in an upscale club – $3
All you can play pool and non-alcholic beverages in a pretty nice pool hall – $4.75
All you can eat Chinese “Hot Pot” and all you can drink beer – $11.25
Hookers* – $22.50 “eat in” & $45.00 “take out”
Tailored suits $100, tailored shirts $10, tailored pants $30, tailored jeans $40

And all of this is happening while I’m hanging out in the rich part of town where all the rich Chinese and foreign businessmen live. I can only imagine what the prices might be like out in the countryside.

Suzhou is absolutely jam packed with nice restaurants, bars and clubs. There are places of all types that cater to locals and others that cater to foreigners. Both are fun. Pravda is an example of a “western club” and Scarlet is definitely a “Chinese club” in the area of town known as Li Gong Di. The only problem with the Chinese clubs is that sometimes it’s harder to find people that speak English. Chinese is an extremely difficult language – you should learn some basic pleasantries but don’t plan on learning enough to have a conversation. It’s almost impossible for native English speakers to learn although there are those rare few that manage to pull it off.

If you’re looking for gringo hunters in Central and South America then you’re definitely looking for round eye hunters in China. The foreigner bars and clubs are jam packed with them. You will find plenty of round eye hunters in Li Gong Di but also in Phoebe’s and In Pub down town. While not in Li Gong Di or downtown, Blue Marlin is another western bar mainstay. Be sure to also check out bar street (Shi Qian Jie) a long street that has nothing but bars. About half are just regular bars catering to foreigners and the other half are hooker bars.

Chinese girls are great, very feminine and some are absolutely drop dead gorgeous. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are no where near as conservative as I was expecting. In fact a lot of the hot little Chinese chicks that frequent the clubs dress surprisingly similar to Eastern European chicks (read: tight skimpy clothes and high heels).

Hot Chinese Girl

El Matador adds the following gems of wisdom on China & Chinese girls:

German is actually a language worth knowing in China there since many Japanese and Chinese speak it to some degree. After WW2 there was still a strong alliance and German is actually the language for many kinds of engineering which the Asians are particularly strong in.

Chinese girls: They don’t have the religious barrier to sex but there is still the cultural purity thing. They are Commies, a bit tough and they attempt to be domineering. Don’t buy it for a second though. Major issue: Xenophobia. They think we are from Neptune or something so they need time to get comfortable with guys like us. You do have to get your head around the fact that you are extremely high status for any girl there. You could find a daughter of a very wealthy factory owner and she would still think of you and a step up from her social place. Some girls will eliminate you because your perceived value will seem so much higher than
theirs. They are very beaten down and feel like puny cogs in a machine.

China has a middle class for the first time in history and they also have disposable income. But they are such newbies to leisure time and wealth. You can teach them. Asian girls are very obedient if you command them as such. Just try commanding a girl you don’t care about to see if it works. They literally can’t say no.

Hate to say it, but Asians are the biggest shopaholics in the world. Go to the mall to find cleaned-up polished girls who take care of their appearance to our standards here. You can walk around with an oxygen tank and offer them whiffs as there isn’t much breathable air there.

Go to Japan! They are FaREEKS but finding hot ones is much harder. Chinese are better looking due to more genetic diversity.

I have to say that I found El Matador’s comments to be right on the money so far. We tend to think of El Matador as the Obi-Wan Kenobi of single dude travel – there’s little he hasn’t seen and little he hasn’t done.

If you have absolutely any ability to play pool at all you better brush up on your game before you come to China. Pool is a serious pass time here. Most bars have a tournament size pool table that you don’t have to pay to use but you’ll have to play whoever is currently running the table and they will be good. There are a lot of hot little girl pool sharks in China too so it’s a great way to make “friends”. But seriously you better be good.

Be sure not to miss our article on KTV.

*Charlie, Raul and I aren’t really huge fans of paid sex. I personally just don’t like the idea of paying somebody to be with me when there are so many willing participants in most places. However you simply can’t visit this place and not talk about the hookers, the whorehouses, the “special treatment” bars, KTV clubs and massage parlors. I have never been to a place that has more hookers. (UPDATE: Thailand definitely has more hookers but I had not yet visited as of the original writing!) Amsterdam, eat your heart out! And many of them are really pretty hot too. Figures quoted above are if you know where to go (i.e. you have a local friend), the fancy “special treatment” massage parlors may try to take you for 100’s of dollars (hell maybe even thousands). The absolute funniest thing that has happened to me so far was visiting the local’s whorehouses with a local friend. He drove me by rows and rows of little shops with beautiful girls just sitting inside waiting. He asked the madam of the shops “How much?” and she said “For you 150 RMB (~$22.50), for him [pointing at me] no way, he too strong.” I asked him what she said and he explained that she said I was “too strong”. “Too strong?” I asked, “I don’t get it.” “Your penis too big!”, he replied. I guess the stereotypes are true… or at least Chinese people believe they are.

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  • Steve is right on the money about everything he says.

  • Shawn

    WOW- unbelievable what people write about and the misinformation that is given. Suzhou is a city of old and new. There is Ping Jiung Lu and there you can find what ever you want for a price and you will get what you pay for. I have been many times and don’t go if your a free hugger- haha. I have not actually picked up women there as I am not into hookers, but have friends that love it for exactly that.

    Then there is SIP (Suzhou Industrial Park) and this is where I live. SIP is NORMAL in every way. Yes I live about 2 minutes walk from Blue Marlin, Camel and Revel- trust me these places are full of women on specific nights, but also know that they are not what you think. Yes there are women there that only want your money, but also there are women that want to meet men (including expats)- JUST LIKE ANY BAR IN ANY COUNTRY.

    Chinese are no different than other people from different cultures. If I were to set a standard and make that standard my own culture, then I may make Chinese less sophisticated than say a western woman, but come one- this is ridiculous! There are women here who have more to offer than any women in the world, but there are also woman that have nothing- just like any other country in the world.

    The point is… if you want a cheap uneducated woman for what ever reason, it’s here, but if you want a unbelievably charming and sweet women with an education, its here as well (JUST LIKE ANY OTHER COUNTRY).

    I should mention, I have lived in Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China for 4 years in total. Chinese people are different from every area of the country and in fact the world- just like westerners are different from every part of the world. Do not make generalizations about any race or culture as it is very much the same (ANY OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD) Just consider trailer trash from any small USA town and then comment on women in Asia. Women are no different here as they are in any other country in the world. Look at your stay here as an opportunity to experience a different culture and treat people with respect and you will find you stay very enjoyable- just like any other country in the world.

    • Ray

      I have just come back from Shanghai and Suzhou I was teaching English there, I am from the UK, the Chinese ladies are class but very conservative, but obsessed with there tablets/mobiles etc,..yes Asian woman are different, one thing I will say and have lived there also…guys stay well away for Filipina’s Philippine woman there crafty and cunning look through that charming smile and rise above the BS ….they have one goal only self survival no matter what they say or tell you…you have been warned…ru an mile guys…I may go back to China, never been to Thailand or Vietnam…be careful out there all…we are not walking ATMS…

  • Maloney

    Hi Guys, I am on my way over to Suzhou for the first of many business trips, can you reccomend a godd bar/s to pick up local girls?

    • Shariff

      There is a new bar area now around Xinghai Street. Blue Marlin, Camel Bar and Lenbach are all within walking distance. Also in the middle is Revel Fusion Lounge/Club. All open till late. Great place to meet expats and Chinese locals.

  • Ray

    I will be in Suzhou in late September, teaching English, I am from the UK…and just found out there is a BIG Harley Davidson dealership there BINGO, as I am a biker, I have lived in the Philippines, was married to one for many years, now divorce and free, yes Asian woman are different, and very attractive in my eyes, we live once, so this Blue eyed London lad will be in Suzhou excited.

  • amir

    Dude In Thailand, in chiangmai, after a night with a chinese-thai girl, that I swear could have passed for ‘just 18’ I went to the bar the next day and this lady offered me a bag, to use as a condom… I’m fair skinned indian but well endowed. had a great time in bangkok with middle class chicks at regular nightclubs, they were beautiful and feminine and young!

  • JPF

    I’ve been in China for a while, and although it can certainly be a very enjoyable and interesting place, I feel a ‘guide’ to the place isn’t complete without a mention of the profound retardation the country is beset by.

    You have the worst of pan-Asia retardation (inability/unwillingness to use logic, moronic consumerism, gold-digging), but added into the mix are the ill-effects of Communist Party rule combined with unrestrained cut-throat, crony capitalism, which magnify these other traits to the nth degree. The obsession with material things might be obnoxious enough somewhere like Singapore, but in a country where everyone is clambering hand over foot over everyone else to get ahead due to the unequal, immoral and unfair society the totalitarian government has created, the obscenity of it all becomes significantly worse.

    If you come to Shanghai, taking a subway ride is very instructive. The commuters dash headlong into the carriage when the door opens to get a seat, don’t queue up, shout into their cellphones and pick their noses. If you take a look around at your fellow commuters, you will notice that not one of them will be reading a book. Every damn one of them will either be staring blankly into space, or jabbing away at their cellphone. Without exception. Meanwhile, up on the street, watch how the nouveau-riche choads in their Benzes and BMZs plough through massed crowds at pedestrian crossings when they do not have right of way – that is the mentality here, I’m rich, well-connected and driving a car, you are poor and on foot and presumably poor, so get the fuck out of the way.

    This is just scratching the surface. Talk to any expat in China who doesn’t live in a sheltered, privileged bubble or who isn’t blinded by pious political correctness, and you’ll be regaled with dozens of tales of crass retardation. What is perhaps most telling is that open-minded Chinese people who have traveled overseas and made an effort to widen their horizons — as opposed to spending their time abroad avoiding contact with anyone non-Chinese and spending all day playing World of Warcraft — find it very tough to re-integrate into Chinese society, after becoming painfully aware of the stratospheric levels of retardation.

    • Agreed with what you said but I still feel Singapore is worse on virtually all of it except perhaps for the rude me first in the subways and perhaps driving… but I really feel like that is just because there are public service announcements everywhere reminding people to be polite and everyone is so brain dead they blindly do what they’re told… I could be wrong though.

    • LK

      JPF hit the nail on the head and is absolutely correct that he has only scratched the surface. I have been in China for over 2 years and the only site I want to see is the exit. To best describe the Chinese I use an analogy….first go to the deepest, darkest “hollers” you can find in West Virginia and assemble a group of toothless illiterates. (to non-Americans, WV is not known as being a center of intelligence and culture) Next, give them a bunch of money, plop them down in the middle of a modern city with no instructions and see how they do. The results are pretty much predictable. I’ve never seen a more uncouth group in my life and I really believe that they simply don’t know any better. Its difficult to decide which facet of their culture/habits is the most disgusting. Some of my “greatest hits” observations:
      1. If you are in a nice restaurant and find something you don’t like, just spit it on the carpeted floor, no problem.
      2. Any outdoor place can be used as a toilet. Oh, and don’t bother finding a bush or tree, the middle of the sidewalk is fine.
      3. Loudly clearing your throat and spitting anywhere is acceptable, its even practiced by young attractive women.
      4. At the dinner table you are expected to belch and chew food with your mouth open.
      5. Its always nice to see someone throwing garbage out the window of a $300K car.
      6. All Chinese drivers act like 16 year olds on learner’s permits who are texting. Pedestrians are targets.
      7. A Chinese professional taking a cell phone call in the middle of a meeting has to be seen to be believed. Rather than simply turning the phone off, they will crawl under a table, cover the phone with their hand and carry on a discussion. Its like they think they are hidden from everyone else in the meeting!

      A lot of people fear that China is destined to take over the world. I don’t see it. There is not a creative neuron in the entire country and once “free labor” disappears they will not know how to compete for business. As best as I can tell, the word “efficiency” does not exist in their vocabulary. I stay in China as an engineer simply for the money. My wife has clear instructions to put two shots behind my ear if I ever mention coming back to China for a vacation. My advice to anyone coming to China for business…..if you expect nothing, you won’t be disappointed.

      • I had a great time in China on vacation. Maybe it wouldn’t be a great place to live and work, don’t know.

    • Giant

      i have been in Shanghai for 2 years now and would like to make a few comments. First of all the Chinese do qiue at the subway. Only during rush hour are there excrptions. I was very surprised by this as I had expected to see what was described above. Second, yes the expensive cars plow through the pedestriens, but so do the small cars. It is a general way drivers behave here. I think the Chinese are on the whole polite and friendly. Sometimed I wish Europeans would behave like the Chinese do towards foreigners.

    • Pained

      JPF, Singapore is much worse than China. The ironic thing is, the Chinese in Singapore despise the Chinese in China. LOL.They are much worse than China’s Chinese and are being laughed at for their delusions by foreigners. Their behavior is much more shameless.

  • Laurence

    Ive just applied for a teaching job at the University in Soochow
    many expats teach there?
    Cant find much info on it but if its a professor post I,m assumeing the package would be good??

  • Steve

    So I am not sure how I have not run across this site before… but I love the concept! Let’s put it this way… I get paid to travel all over Asia, but I mainly spend most of time in China! I spend about 30-40% of the year in China for work. I also spent 3 years living and working in Taiwan several years back and have learned to speak Mandarin very well.

    most of what you guys say is true… but there is so much more to be told. First off I will say that not all of China is as cheap as stated above… Especially in Shenzhen and Shanghai. The lifestyle there can be expensive, but still cheaper than in western countries. I recommend an expense account if you can swing that with your company.

    I have a lot of local friends in China and my girlfriend is there as well. Let me say this… who needs “special KTV” when you have the girls from the regular bars out for a night… they can be extremely crazy with very little inhibitions… of course drinks help this greatly… you might even get more than one of them home with you at their request.

    I can also say that the more westernized girls will not be bossed around like a little girl especially the ones that come from money families. Trust me, some of these girls do not need a foreigner to get out of China they can buy their way where ever they want to go… also your point about these same girls still thinking it is a step up to date a foreigner… wrong! These girls who’s daddy’s own the factories that build all our nice little electronics can be the toughest to catch… because she knows getting approval from daddy is much harder than you think.

    On a personal note… don’t even mess with the special ktv’s if you got even a little skill with the ladies you will do just fine in the bars… just don’t be an arrogant American. There are too many English teachers over there already giving us Americans a bad name there. Be respectful and friendly the Chinese girls and guys that you develop as friends can be some very good friends and you never know… who they might know that can get you out of what ever mess you might happen to get into on accident. Have no illusions, the police are corrupt and you don’t want to be on the mafia’s bad side… in fact it doesn’t hurt to be friend a couple of them if you spend much time there.

    Oh and yes… my girlfriend is one of the hottest Chinese girls i have ever seen… she is petite but has a body like a brick shit house! Curves are very rare to find on Asian girls.

    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your feed back. A few comments: As I said in the beginning of the article, it only applies to Suzhou – I’m sure there are many places in China that are radically different as well as more expensive. Perhaps you are bored of KTV because you’ve be going to China or years but for someone that’s never seen it I think it would be a lot of fun. Its not a question of “needing” KTV – it’s just something fun to do once in awhile. You’re right though, Chinese girls are certainly extremely easy, crazy and often have very few inhibitions. Perhaps El Matador’s comments are a little bit out dated but they rang true for me including for picking up the “money girls”. As they say, your mileage may vary.

  • Jonathan

    Why is Ashely commenting on this article? Honestly, I was in China last Fall and I do not like the attitude I get from American women here. Chinese women tend to be much friendlier, more feminine, and more humble. I can’t wait to go back!

    • It’s gotten so bad for me that I won’t even bother talking to western women no matter how good they look… I just stick with the locals. Eastern Europe and Asia all the way.

  • El Matador

    Awww, thanks. You guys give me too much credit. All I did was wait til my forties to get everything out of my system before getting married.
    Asian girls are a completely separate human being. There’s nothing like them. I could go on waxing poetic here but I will just say that I think every man should have one regardless of his relationship status. Get a Russian girl with a Chinese side order. Or a Columbian, but don’t forget to go out for Korean every week. Two respected sources told me yesterday that black women are widely bi-sexual. Ok, there you are. FInd a black lover who has Asian connections. Mmmmmmm.

  • ashley

    you suck Boris i’m sure you penis is never to big even for little chinese girls

    • You’re right Ashley. I will go home and cry now. 🙁

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