Shanghai 2007 – Part 3 : Hangzhou

November 23, 2007 at 11:16 am

Continue from here. (If you wonder how many more parts there are, there’s only one more left).

♥Nov 7th (Wed)♥
With an overnight bag, we rushed to the train station early morning to catch the fast train to Hangzhou (杭州). We got a first class ticket, the coach was really comfortable and it only cost RMB68 per tix. Daddy and I slept through the ~1hr20min ride.

When we arrived at the Hangzhou station, there were so many elderly ladies offering their help (accomodation? maps? directions?), but we just shook our head all the time. With the information listed on their website, we managed to take a bus from Hangzhou Train Station, walked for 10mins and arrived at Mingtown Garden Youth Hostel (明堂-杭州湖中居青年旅舍), located at West of Xihu (西湖), which is the best place to stay as it’s not as busy as the East (high rise and buzy streets on the East).

We had some problem checking in as Daddy left our passports in the Motel back in Shanghai. The staff in the hostel was helpful, although they could have rejected our stay; they called our Motel, requested the Motel to provide them with out info. Motel168 wasn’t very cooperative, in the end, we promised we’ll fax them our passports and Visas and they agreed to let us have our room (which was pre-booked by phone).

Just like what was written on the guidebook, and the website, the hostel is surrounded by lakes and gardens, absolutely beautiful! We have a room all to ourselves with ensuite bathroom (just in case you wonder if we needed to share our room or toilet). The room was very comfortable. Clean room, clean white sheets, beautiful pine wood ceiling and a window opening to the back garden. Best of all, it didn’t stink of cigerette smoke.

Mingtown Garden Hostel

After our lunch, we rented a bike each, and started exploring the area.

We cycled up some slopes and visited the Dragon Well (Long Jing) tea plantation (龙井茶园). It was lovely, so green every where!

Dragon Well Tea Plantation

Then we rode through Xudi Causeway (苏堤), which cuts across Xihu from North to South (~3.5km), and then have dinner in Wei Zhuang (House of Taste) (知味观。味庄). This restaurant serves the best food that we’d tasted in our trip, every thing tasted so delicious especially the nice dainty dim sum dessert. Too bad I was running a flu, some of the taste were a bit muddled.

Dragon Well Tea Plantation

Bestest duck! A cold dish, but very delicious; prawn triangles; I didn’t like the fish (baked and accompanied with home made creamy sauce), but Daddy thought it was uniquely prepared; the dainty dessert : some pastry with lotus filing and chestnut stuffing rolls.

After the yummylicious dinner, we cycled another 5Km in the dark to get back to the hostel. This was when we could really feel the chill, but it was still bearable with just a light fleece jacket on.

♥Nov 8th (Thurs)♥
In the morning, we woke up to birds chirping outside our window. We had a simple breakfast at the hostel and started exploring the gardens around the hostel by foot. The gardens are actually very beautiful, with lakes and bridges and streams everywhere. We also took an hour boat ride (battery operated so we just needed to ‘steer’) at the lake, pretty relaxing.

Around the gardens in Xihu

Beautiful views around West Xihu

Plants and Objects found around Xihu

Some of the plants and objects I found in the gardens

Then it was time to check out. We left our baggage in the train station, and explored a bit of the old town. Things here are actually cheaper than Yuyuan, and I was really amused by the street food available. 10 fried scropions for RMB5 anyone?

Food in Hangzhou

We didn’t try any of these, but we saw quite a lot of people buying them.


♥A Chinese Medical Hall which has been listed as Historical Heritage in Hangzhou, they were giving away free herbal tea, which Daddy and I took two cups each.♥♥Street performer getting to work♥♥Xihu beer that Daddy took with words : Free From Formaldehyde (do they actually brew beer with Formaldehyde in China?♥♥Hangzhou station, people were trying to get into the platform to get into the train♥

We headed back to Shanghai on the 5:20pm train, and back to the smokey Motel168.

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