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Suzhou may be nicknamed the Venice of the East for its many canals, but it’s also known for its classical gardens and silk production and embroidery. Suzhou’s largest garden is the Humble Administrator’s Garden, its nearly 50 buildings spread around a lake and connected by bridges. A boat ride along the Grand Canal, whose banks are lined with small tile-roofed houses, is one of the best introductions to Suzhou. At the Silk Embroidery Research Institute, visitors can watch as expert silk embroiderers work on delicate pieces.

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