Suzhou will shutdown in 10…9…8…

If this is your first time experiencing Chinese New Year, it’s time to begin preparing for the realities of CNY:

The exodus

The empting of Suzhou has already kicked off as many of the city’s residence have left for their hometown.  Soon, Suzhou will start reminding me of Detroit – nothing but empty streets and closed stores.

So how can you deal with this sudden void.

Give up

If you’ve got a big project on hand (I do), you can forget about finishing it before the holiday.  Anything you can finish now is a bonus.

Plan ahead:

Thinking of taking a trip within China or going abroad to a popular destination for Chinese tourists, you best be planning that trip ASAP.  You should have already bought your train tickets and reserved your hotel rooms.  If you’ve been lazy, stop reading and get on it now because last minute travel will be next to impossible from Jan 20th until early Feb.

Stock up:

If you are staying in a big city, you need to buy a week’s worth of your favorites by about Jan. 20th.  Stores may be open a few days later but you’ll be thankful when they do close.

Pay your bills and get those red packets ready.

You’re supposed to do that for good luck.  Last year my internet got shut off right at the holiday (I pay by the year).  Boom.  Two weeks no internet right in the slowest, most internet friendly time of the year.  Why? No internet stores open.  Don’t let this happen to you.

If you have obligations that require red packets with cash for children, now’s the time to prep them.

Down time prep

There will be nothing to do for about a week straight.  Get your books, dvds and other free time killing devices ready.


Week/weeks long national holidays.  I do love you so…


7 Responses

  1. Marta
    Marta January 19, 2017 at 3:53 am |

    I never stay here in CNY. I have to travel as I don’t have many holidays!! This time we are going to HK and bringing C.’s parents, haha. Let’s see how that goes.

  2. Dash
    Dash January 20, 2017 at 7:44 am |

    I’ve heard so many stories about Chinese New Year and how Suzhou becomes a ghost town. So, here’s an idea for anyone staying here over the spring break. Head off to the unfortunately named Wanke Plaza (I think it’s pronounced Wanker Plaza, 229 Zhongxin Dadao), and go to Naughty Beer on ground level. It’s a shop and a bar and has around 300 types of bottled beer. It has many kinds of American craft beer like those from Ballast Point Brewing Company, Blue Point Brewing Company, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Great White Beer and Flying Dog (none of which I’d heard of) along with many Belgian beers (including that lethal Trappist stuff) and German ales. I’m not so familiar with American beers so I tried as many as I could when I went there. All excellent. Anyway, the point I’m making is get down there and take yourself on a craft beer ride. Stock up on as many new brews as you can for the Spring Break. They will deliver within a 3km radius. They are open from 2pm to 2 am daily but closed over the holiday (probably). They also have another outlet at Jiulongcang, 128 Dong Shahu Lu. Start the New Year on a refreshing note. Happy (hic) Holidays!

  3. Mabel Kwong
    Mabel Kwong February 23, 2017 at 11:23 am |

    This post is so true, and very much applicable in Malaysia and Singapore as well. Stocking up is important because here (smack in the cities in these countries) there would literally be NO shops open during the first two days of CNY. If I remember correctly, I don’t know if the 7-Eleven or convenience store also opened (I don’t think so). Really is a ghost town.

    I’m guessing there is some madness when it comes to stocking up in China for this time of the year. It sounds like a lot of people will do it and grab a lot of items when they stock up – and many Chinese I know like to think of “just in case” and grab more…

    Having no internet must be such a pain during that time of the year. It must have been tragic and hope you managed to entertain yourself well. I know I’d probably be trying to read or trying to snooze on my bed. Or maybe play a video game.

  4. Johaun
    Johaun March 21, 2017 at 7:11 pm |

    Made it. Shoot me an email if you’d like to grab that pint sometime soon. Staying literally next door to 798.


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