During my 2016 annual vacation, my family and I choose to travel to the east part of China. We have been to Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai by ourselves. It will be my great pleasure to share our travel experience and good memory.
Day 1 Arrival Hangzhou by Bullet Train
In the morning, we took the bullet train to Hangzhou and arrived in Hangzhou in the early morning.
Most memories of mine about Hangzhou is from the TV show “Legend of the White Snake” when I was still a little child. This is the most popular show at that time. It is still very popular nowadays. When you’re travelling to Hangzhou, I believe the tour guide will tell you more stories about this legend.
After we check in and store my luggage in the hotel, we take the taxi to the West Lake. West Lake is very huge and it covers an area of 6.38 square kilometers. Three sides of the lake are surrounded by verdant mountains and one side the prosperous city.
Taking a walk along the west lake will be quite interesting. You could also choose to take the boat in the lake. There are two kinds of boats.
After taking some walk along the lake, we took the public bus to Feilaifeng Scenic Spot. We will first visit the Lingyin Temple. With a history of nearly 1700 year, Lingyin Temple is hidden in the luxurious forest, and offers charming and peaceful landscape and impressive Buddhist culture.
Next, we visited the Feilai Peak, also known as Peak Flying from Afar, which flew to China to spread Buddhism from India according to the legend. It features in uncountable Buddhist carvings lining the riverbanks and hillsides and tucked away inside grottoes.
After that, we took the public bus to another spot of West Lake which is called “Duanqiao Canxue”. It means broken bridge with thawing snow. The weather was getting clear too. From this picture, you will also find the prosperous city in other side of the lake.
With time going on, we were lucky to watch the sunset. The below picture is also one of my favorite. The lake, the dry lotus leaves, the mountains and the clouds made this beautiful picture.
In the evening, we have visited the Hefang Street, a unique pedestrian street full of ornate Chinese architectures, local delicious snacks and interesting handcrafts. If you would like to try some local snacks and buy some souvenirs, this is surely a good place to go.
Day 2 Hangzhou to Suzhou by Bullet Train
After breakfast in the hotel, we take the morning bullet train to Suzhou. Suzhou is famous for its gardens and rivers in my mind. After checked in, we walked to the Lingering Garden at noon time. Lingering Garden is one of the Four Greatest Gardens in China as well as the perfect representative of traditional Suzhou Gardens.
Some people may say spring or summer are better season to come, I have to say it is very attractive in autumn.
After we crossed several doors, I took the below picture. With the sunshine, this house looks so quiet and the trees look so lively. It looks like there are still people living there.
And then we keep on walking and find the below garden with rockeries, pavilion and trees.
Keep on walking and we found the flower garden where you will find many blooming chrysanthemum.
Take a nap inside the garden must be very pleased. But we still need to keep on walking. Later, we come to the center of the garden where you will see the pond, rockeries, pavilion and different trees.
The favorite part is the maidenhair tree. All the leaves turn to be golden which is very beautiful. This tree is also very huge.
Sit under this huge maidenhair tree, I took the below photo as a memory. Many years later, I may still remember this beautiful place.
At last, we visited the last part of Lingering Garden which is pot culture garden where you could find many delicate potted plants.
After our time here, we take a walk along the street of Suzhou and you will find there many pseudo-classic architecture buildings and also you could see the rivers and brides everywhere. I have to say this is where Suzhou really attracts me.
Day 3 Suzhou-Tongli Water Town-Suzhou
Tongli Water Town is 25 kilometers away from Suzhou downtown (40 minutes).This charming typical water town in China is very ancient of over 1,000 years old and well keeps its authentic old buildings, antique bridges and pure folk customs. To make sure it will be more relaxing, we have joined in one day bus tour since it will be with less trouble compared to take the bus.
There are 9 sites where we could visit in Tongli Ancient Town, but not all of them worth seeing. In this way, we only visited several parts of it.
With the guide of the tour guide, we first take a 3 minutes’ steam boat to Luoxing Island. On this island, there are also many buildings, including a temple. Because there is not so many people come, it is very quiet.
After that, we visited the Tuisi Garden which is also called Retreat & Reflection Garden. This is a small garden which is a little similar to Lingering garden.
There are many delicate statuses in the gardens. On the top of the tile, you will also found many statues of gods. Look at their smiling faces, I guess they’re Wealth Gods.
Walk out from this garden, we go ahead to visit the Congben Hall. This hall is about the people’s marriage customs and etiquette in the past.
Inside the hall, the maple leaves looks really beautiful with the sunshine.
After visited this hall, we crossed the below old alley and visited Pearl Tower. There are many alleys like this in Tongli Ancient Town.
Though Pearl Tower is called tower, however there is no tower inside this building. It is actually a garden with some romantic history.
After that, take a walk in this ancient town and meet other members of this group.
Day 5 Suzhou to Shanghai by Bullet Train
After two days’ leisure time in Suzhou, we take the bullet train to Shanghai within 30 minutes. Compare to Suzhou, Shanghai is a busy city.
After checked in in the hotel, we take the subway to visit Shanghai Museum. It is one of the Best Four Museums in China. In the front of this museum, you will find many tall buildings and the environment is also very good.
This modern museum is with a round top and a square base which symbolizing the ancient Chinese perception of the world as “round sky, square earth”.
It has collected many international-standard exhibits of bronzes, paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, and ceramics, jade from more than 5,000 years ago to the Qing dynasty. It is an ideal place to learn about the profound Chinese history and culture.
We have spent around 2 hours inside the Museum to appreciate the beauty and also the culture of the bronzes, paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, and ceramics. If it is possible, you could hire one tour guide and I believe you will know more about the history and culture.
After that, we take a walk to the Nanjing Road which isn’t very far from the museum. There is no doubt Nanjing Road is shopping paradise as well as a great place to take a wonderful walk to experience the local modern atmosphere.
Walk along the way, you will also find many old buildings with Europe style.
Walking straightly, you will then get to the Bund. Stroll along the Bund, feel the perfect fusion of Chinese culture and Western culture, and seize the stunning Shanghai skyline with your own eyes.
The sky is getting dark very soon and we have waited for around 1 hour to see the night view. It is indeed worth seeing.
Day 6 Shanghai Departure
After a nice breakfast in the hotel, we started our trip today. Since we have been to Lingering Garden in Suzhou, we decide to skip the Yu Garden in Shanghai. Instead, we have been to some other places. If you haven’t visited Suzhou, I believe Yu Garden is a must when you’re visiting Shanghai.
First, we have been to the Temple of God. On the way, we have walk through the “slum” of Shanghai. There are still many people living there. For me, it is interesting to know both the poor and prosperous part of local people.
After cross few alleys, finally we got to the Temple. It is very busy since it is Saturday. People mainly come here to prey for health and fortune.
There are also many shopping stores along the streets and you may find some local snacks and stuffs you’re interested.
After that, we took the bus to the Xintiandi. Composed of Shikumen and modern architectural style, you could not only experience Shanghai’s historical and cultural legacies, but also enjoy the graceful and leisure lifestyle here. Foreigners are everywhere in this area.
After that, we walk to French Concession. It is a little far by walking. Because we don’t have much thing to do, so we choose to take a walk. It was a foreign concession in Shanghai from 1849 until 1943, which progressively expanded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Despite re-development over the last few decades, the area retains a distinct character, and is a popular tourist destination.
The last stop today will be the Tianzifang. It is an arts and crafts enclave that has developed from a renovated residential area in the French Concession area. With some similarities to Xintiandi, Tianzifang is preserved the local Shikumen architecture.
You will also try some local snacks in the street.
There are many bars in the street and many foreigners are sitting there to take a drink. After this trip, we come back to the hotel to collect the luggage and take the subway to the airport to take the flight back home.
Time really flies and this will be a good memory of my travel around China. I always believe the more you see, the more you will know.
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