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Everything you need to know about the Turtle Head Isle of Wuxi, China

Updated: Jan 18, 2020

It was the last day of my 3-weeks stay in China. Having my flight at night, I thought I would cover the famous Turtle Head Isle located some 60 km from Suzhou. The local folks usually rely on the weather app to stay informed on the weather. This day it was predicted to be heavy rainfall. I naturally fell into a restless state of mind with the only thought revolving, "Would I be able to catch my flight on time?". So much for being an adventurer.

OK, first things first. You need to get a ticket to reach Wuxi, preferably via high-speed trains. I booked in advance through to ensure that I get my seat at the preferred time. A return ticket would cost around 40-60 RMB and you would, of course, have to exchange the soft copy to receive the hard copy in one of the train stations. In Suzhou, there are two major stations to do this - Suzhou Station and Suzhou North Station.

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Right on time, the train arrived and the journey was only for about 20 minutes to Wuxi. The rains do not seem to stop the daily means of travel in China which is a good sign. In Mumbai, schools & colleges would remain closed if it rained heavily for one night. And Mumbai is a metropolitan city. Ironic, right?

After getting down at the Wuxi station, I was stupefied. I mean, I am not really an expert in mandarin nor did I have the local apps to navigate properly. I knew there is a "bus number 1" which I have to catch to reach the isle. But, I didn't know where exactly the bus station was. Trust me, at that moment I was nowhere near to feeling exhilarated as Julia Roberts did in Eat Pray Love after reaching Bali.

After careful deliberated thinking, I approached two boys & tried to make them understand where I wanted to go. They did not understand at first when I mentioned Turtle Head Isle since this is an English name. Then I tried to google search (through VPN) the Chinese name and showed them this word - "Yuantouzhou" (pronounced as yen tho zho). They immediately started shouting shi-shi which means yes. I cannot explain the relief I felt upon hearing those words. They showed me the way and I strutted happily to the bus station opposite to the road with an umbrella in one hand.

Later, I felt stupid because I walked 400 meters and took a U-turn to come back to the bus station and realized, had I taken the other exit road from the railway station, it would have led to the bus station. Don't blame me! I am an Indian in the Chinese world, we are supposed to panic. 🤫

Finally, the bus arrived after 20 minutes of waiting and it only cost 3 RMB to reach the Turtle Head Isle. The bus journey takes around 40 minutes depending on traffic. As you reach near the Isle, you will see the vast Taihu (Tai) Lake stretching out on both sides of the road. It is a sight never to forget. The fog was coming down and the weather suddenly became exquisite. The rains had finally stopped as if the clouds decided that I should be enjoying the visit now. ;-)

There are different types of tickets available, choose the one which includes the ferry to the Fairy Island as well. It costs 90 RMB per person. There is another booth near the ticket counter where you have to pick up the scenic map of Yuantouzhou. The maps are available in the English language.