All of the guides list an option of traveling between Suzhou and Hangzhou by overnight boat. Is this trip worth it or should I save 10 hours and take a train instead? I'm willing to do it if a) the views are pretty and b) the boats are comfortable and safe. Being that China's waterways have become heavily industrialized, I'm wondering if it would be a pleasant trip.
Any advice is greatly appreciated!
You won't be seeing much on an overnight boat and it's not worth your time. You'd be able to see more if you took a bus or a train from Suzhou to Hangzhou. It's quicker and you'd get to see a lot of rural China outside of Shanghai.
If you're going by bus, you might enjoy the chaotic traffic looking out the window.
I agree with Jza80.
The experience on the nightboat several years ago was not a good one for me. It was hardly any view during the night,so I would not recommend it. It is quite convenient and comfortable by bus from Suzhou to Shanghai, and it's better to take train from Shanghai to Hangzhou. Yes, you can enjoy the rural scenery both by bus and train.
Well, you wouldn't be saving much time if you took the train/bus between Suzhou and Hangzhou instead, you'd be wasting precious daytime which you could've used for sightseeing. The scenery is the same whether you look out from the train, bus or boat, and since it's nothing spectacular, why not take the boat instead and save your time?