The last time I went to Tongli, it was 16 years ago. It was more rustic and simpler back then. And I was surprised the owner of the bed and breakfast remembered me after all these years.
A Local Bed and Breakfast 敬儀堂客栈
Walking through a very small entrance, you get to a makeshift reception area built at the entrance area.
The owner has built the new two-storey building right outside the ancient building because it was not allowed. But I thought it was an eyesore back then, now it has totally merged into the background. Still an eyesore.
They still grow their own vegetables, but these days they are for own consumption.
This used to be a government building during the Ming and Qing dynasty belonging to the equivalent of the Department of Canals (Public Utility).
The main hall is where they held the official business called a Yamen 衙门 . It still has two doors on either side of the hall for the officials to enter and exit.
The rooms have been decorated into the old style with period furnitures. There are some modern rooms at the back built specially for those who find these type of rooms creepy, especially in this century old property.
Met the owner Mr Wang as he was tending to the garden. Caught up on the changes to the property over the years. He remembered me because I remained the only Singaporean that has stayed in his bed and breakfast. Great memories as back then it was not so commercialised in Tongli. He had to arrange a special dinner for us with wild caught hairy crabs from the nearby lakes, “Taihu three whites” and other homely dishes made by his wife. Now, he just asked the restaurants outside to bring in the dinners if the guests wanted to dine quietly and avoid the crowd.
You have to look hard, or you will miss their entrance. Imagine 16 years ago, the LED lights at night were not on. We had to be really careful navigating along these small alleys to go back to the hotel. But these are what memories are made of.
JingYiTang Hostel 同里敬仪堂民居客栈
China, Jiangsu, Suzhou, 吴江市同里镇富观街5号
Tel : +86 512 6332 2180
This is Part 5 of a Five-Part Special on Tongli
- #1/5 Jiangnan Water Town 同里水乡
- #2/5 Retreat and Reflection Garden 退思园
- #3/5 Sights and Sounds 同里声色
- #4/5 Night and Day 同里日不落
- #5/5 Memories 老朋友
Date Visited : Nov 2020