Jun 20, 2015

Itinerary: 11D10N in Hangzhou, Shanghai & Suzhou.

They say “ 上有天堂,下有苏杭“, implying that the beauty of Hangzhou and Suzhou is on par with Heaven. And indeed, these 2 places were beautiful.
 
I just came back from a 11d10n trip to China. The trip involved 3 beautiful cities and 5 towns, not a very rushed trip as you can tell.  I personally prefer to take my time meandering around a new city and experiencing the different possibilities. I also had to allocate more time for myself to find  my way around as I was travelling alone in a place I have never been to before. 
 
 
 
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But going around on my own made for a really experience rich trip that I can't wait to ramble about. However before I venture into 1000 word long essays of each attractions, here's a picture itinerary with some description. This entry will share the flow of the trip and hopefully, give prospective travellers some information to base their next trip on.
 
Let me know if you guys liked such entries.

DAY 1 : Ling Yin Temple (灵隐寺) , Peak from Afar (飞来峰)  & Bai Causeway (白堤)


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Arrived in Hangzhou airport in 0015am and took a cab (RMB 128) to the hostel directly. Had a bit of trouble locating it but checked in successfully. I slept (or tried to sleep) for 8 hours and the next day took a cab to LingYin temple (灵隐寺) . Entrance fee was 45 RMB. It was a special festival the day I visited so the place was very packed. Around the area was also the famous attraction; Peak flown from Afar (飞来峰 Fei Lai Feng). It was a lot of climbing and i never felt as exhausted throughout the trip as my first day in Hangzhou. I recommend you to put aside half a day for LingYin temple on a day your body can take the toil. Because not only is the place huge (there are 3 different temples nearby to explore) , it is also unfortunately, mostly uphill climb. 


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After that, I took a cab to Bai Causeway, West Lake(白堤)  for 13 RMB with recommendation from my pretty cab driver. Bai Causeway is a scenic path along the West Lake that features different sights according to season. Summer was a time for willows and flourishing Water lotus. Unfortunately for me, May was too early for water lotus to bloom. There were a lot of little gardens around the stretch of walk and I even found a Dandelion patch! 

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After a long walk I decided to venture out to a modern premise to buy myself a travel adaptor. So I randomly took a bus that took me somewhere that looked like a business and school district but turns out the place was pretty barren. I then took another cab (15 RMB) wanting to try my luck at QingHeFang street but the cab driver didn't know where that was and instead recommended Hangzhou shopping centre (杭州百货大楼 HangZhou Bai Huo Da Lou)  as a place to purchase Sim Card and travel adaptor. The Hangzhou shopping centre area sadly, was not the least exciting to me (luxury brands for matured audiences) and I didn't find what I was looking for. I found a Mac Donalds and dined dejectedly (thank God for Mac Donald free WIFI!) . Cabbed back to the hostel and found the mighty travel adaptor in one of the minimarts around the hostel for 11rmb.


DAY 2: Liu He Pagoda (六合塔) & LeiFeng Pagoda (雷峰塔)


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I was so exhausted from day 1, I woke up around 2pm the next day. I rented a bicycle from the hostel (20 RMB for more than 6 hours) and went about the day with it. As the hostel was within the scenic area, biking to Liu He Pagoda (六和塔) and LeiFeng Pagoda (雷峰塔) was possible even without GPS/Map. I relied solemnly on signboards and asking kind strangers. also went to the Su Causeway (苏提)! I got terribly lost on the way back at night and my bicycle chain slipped off. Thankfully a patrolling security officer helped me fixed it and I paddled back.


Day 3 : ShaoXing (绍兴) , East Lake (东湖) , Sheng Yuan (沈园)


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I took a hard seat train from Hangzhou for 12.5 RMB. Take note that whenever you purchase a train ticket (except for metro ) your passport/identification card will be required. The journey took roughly around 1.5hour. The 130pm train delayed so it was 3.12pm by the time I reached Shaoxing. I decided not to waste any time finding buses so i took a cab from the train station directly to East Lake (Dong Hu 东湖) for maybe 19rmb. Entrance to East Lake was 40rmb and it closes at 5pm. Boat ride within East Lake cost 75rmb per boat. I believe you can fit 4 in 1 boat.


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I met 2 really nice youngsters and we went to Shen Yuan (沈园)together since it is the only attraction open after 5pm. Entrance for the night cost 80rmb while day time tickets cost a lot cheaper. The garden lights up at night and there is a song and dance performance. I found the performance lacklustre and recommend visiting Shen Yuan in the daytime instead as the tickets are significantly cheaper. Rushed back as soon as the performance ended and took the last train to Hangzhou.

ShaoXing Tourism website: http://www.sxtour.gov.cn/index.html

Day 4: Wu Zhen (乌镇镇), West Area  (Xi Zha 西栅)


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I took a bus (2rmb) to Long Xiang Bridge where I did some shopping. Then I took the Metro Line 1 from "Long Xiang Bridge" Station  to "Coach Centre 客运中心" Station (aka "Jiu Bao Passenger Transport "). And bought a coach ticket to Wuzhen for 30rmb.

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I reached wuzhen well into the afternoon and could only explore Xi Zha  (west 120 RMB). The place is very lovely and lights up at night. Ferry boat within cost 60 RMB per person.


Day 5: Wu Zhen (乌镇镇), East Area (Dong Zha 东栅)  & West Area  (Xi Zha 西栅)

Spent my morning in Dong Zha and evening in Xi Zha again because there isn't much else to do in Wuzhen otherwise.

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Day 6: Shanghai (上海) , Xing Tian Di (新天地), Wen Temple (文庙, Cheng Huang Miao (城隍庙)


Walked to the Wuzhen Bus Interchange and bought a coach to Shanghai for 52 RMB. Journey took around 1.5hr and I reach the shanghai Bus Station ( East) around 12pm. A lovely friend picked me up here and we went to Xin Tian Di (新天地). We had lunch at a lovely Sichuan restaurant called Maurya (孔雀).

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I explored XTD for a while and then took a train to Wen Miao (文庙) Street. Took Metro Line10 to “Da Xi Men” station and walked 15 minutes to find the Wen Miao Street (aka Anime Merchandise street), check out the trip here.

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After that I decided to check out City God Temple of Shanghai ( Cheng Huang Miao 城隍庙). I took a train to “Yu Yuan 豫园" station and walked. I had already been to the temple before so this time I just randomly roamed and ended up at the area where they sell gold. My awesome friend picked me up at the area and we went for massage afterwards xD

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Day 7: Suzhou (苏州)

Day 7 was endeavour to Suzhou! We drove to Suzhou and had a fabulous time chatting on the way. My lovely friend drove to my hostel first and we dropped my baggage. We wanted to go to The Humble Administrator's Garden but end up getting scammed into a package tour and went on a boat tour at a place I later realise is called Shan Tang. We ended the eventful day in PingJiang Street ( 平江路) eating lovely street food and taking selfies.

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Day 8: Suzhou (苏州), Humble Administrator's Garden (拙政园) , Tiger Hill ( 虎丘山), PingJiang Street ( 平江路)

Suzhou day 2! Decided to visit the Humble Administrator's Garden (拙政园)  myself this time. Entrance fee was 70 RMB. A piece of advise to everyone,  remember to only buy your tickets from the official ticketing booth. Don't get swayed by the notorious Huang Nu Dang (Pushy sales people?) who baits you with cheaper tickets. They often have other motives up their sleeves.

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I probably should have gone to Lion Gove Garden instead since they were closer but I somehow selected Tiger Hill.  I cabbed to Tiger Hill (Hu Qiu Shan 虎丘山) for 20 RMB. Entrance to Hu Qiu Shan was 60 RMB. I ended my evening in Pingjiang street again.

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Day 9: Suzhou (苏州), Suzhou Museum (蘇州博物館) , Lion Grove Garden (狮子林园),


From my hostel, i took bus 2 to Suzhou Museum (蘇州博物館). The museum is a nice and spacious place with a nice mix of modern and tradition exhibitions. To top it off, it is also free entrance!

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After that I took a bus to the Lion Grove Garden (狮子林园), entrance was 30 RMB. Guided tours are available for free within the garden but only within stipulated time.

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Took a bus to Chang Fa shopping mall (长发商厦) and found the Guan Qian Street (观前街)shopping area across it. Had so much fun buying cheap clothes around that area that I skipped the Chang Fa Shopping Mall all together! Had awesome dinner (46 RMB) , leg massage (48 RMB) and then cabbed (11 RMB) back to the hostel because the rain was getting too torturous.

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Day 10:  Shan Tang(山塘), Su Causeway (苏提),Long Xiang Bridge(龙翔桥)

Back to Hangzhou! Took a cab (14 RMB) to Suzhou Railway Station(苏州火车站)and bought a Train ticket (117.5rmb, 2nd class) back to Hangzhou. I had 3 hours to spare so I left my baggage at the left baggage place for 15rmb. Took a train to  Shan Tang(山塘)for maybe 2rmb and had a lot of fun and nice food at Shan Tang(山塘).

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The train to Hangzhou was very comfortable and clean and even had power socket! Check into my Hangzhou hostel after a long and tragic (lol) journey back  and ventured out to stroll the area near Su Causeway(苏提) via Bus (2rmb)

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Long Xiang Bridge(龙翔桥) for more cosmopolitan vibe and shopping!

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Day 11:  Long Jing Village (龙井村),Nine Creeks and Eighteen Gullies(九溪十八涧),West Lake (西湖)

Woke up and checked out of my hostel. Decided to take a bus to Jiu Xi Shi Ba Jian (九溪十八涧). The bus took forever but it finally came. Alighted at Long Jing Village (龙井村) and found myself in this little hidden gem! It was the village where Long Jing tea are grown!
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Turns out Long Jing Village and Jiu Xi Shi Ba Jian are very connected to each other. I followed a path pointed out by one of the Tea farmer and walked across 9 creeks to what I think is the entrance of Jiu Xi.

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There were a lot of Maple trees along the way and I can’t help thinking that comes Autumn, this place will be so wondrously coloured!

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Lingered for a while and then found a bus to the Su Causeway. Roamed the Peony Park for a while , had a well, “unique” encounter and soon it was time to return to the hostel for my baggage. One thing about buses in Hangzhou scenic area is they tend to end early.  By 630pm my bus had ended and I had to walk from Su Causeway area back to my hostel!

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Took a cab to the Hangzhou Railway Station ( 杭州火车站)using the new DiDi App (the kind hostel people helped me book) for 14 RMB. Had to walk a distance to find the Airport Shuttle Bus Station, thank goodness my baggage wasn’t horrendous. Bought an Airport Shuttle ticket for 20rmb. I cannot remember how long the journey was though.

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I hope you guys enjoyed the photographs and learning about my itinerary. Hope it helped someone! I learnt and experienced so much during this trip where I was scammed, persuaded and coerced into purchase. But I also experienced the vastness of China, the kindness of people , empathy for people with a different background and learnt to appreciate the things God has given me. I look forward to coming back on a more beautiful season!










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