On the bank of the Yangtze River and the shores of Lake Taihu in China you will find the city of Suzhou, known for its many gardens, stone bridges, and pagodas. Once called “The Eastern Venice” by Marco Polo, Suzhou is historically and currently a center for the silk trade. Suzhou is located West of Shanghai in the province of Jiangsu. Visitors to the city can enjoy a view of the many stone bridges while taking a boat trip on the canals. Some of Suzhou’s gardens are so magnificent they have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With a population of just over 6 million, Suzhou has every kind of accommodation a traveler might want.
The city of Bagan (previously spelled “Pagan”) in Myanmar (previously called Burma) is an ancient city that is home to over 2,000 temples and pagodas. Many ancient kingdoms have claimed Bagan as their capital city throughout its history. The majority of Bagan’s 67 square kilometers (26 square miles) worth of buildings were constructed between 1000 CE and 1300 CE. Bagan became a thriving center for Theravada Buddhism under King Anawrahta’s rule in the early 1000s. Visitors to Bagan can enjoy a variety of accommodations, cuisine, and activities, including touring the city by car, bike, or horse-cart, enjoying local art, and taking a boat trip on the Ayeyarwady River.