China: Suzhou-Hangzhou Part 2

29th May 2007

Waking up 630am early in the morning, we find ourselves in Suzhou. After having breakfast, we went to the Silk Factory and learn about the process of silk making. The silk was as smooth as silk (very nice to touch!!) Anyway, most of us got psycho about how good the silk blanket and silk pillow was, one silk pillow is 240RMB (S$48), silk blanket 400RMB (S$80), and also the silk bed protector 500RMB (S$100). After leaving Silk factory, we find our wallets considerately lighter.

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Lunch was at a restaurant serving local farmers food, the food was nice, with a special dish called red baised lamb.

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The journey carried on to 乌镇. 1 half hours from Suzhou to 乌镇. Does the name 乌镇 sounds familar to you? Yep! Thats the place where S.H.E shoot their newest album first hit 中国话!! Go and see 中国话 MV now if you don’t believe. haha. 乌镇 is a water town with its original taste, a culture with a thousand years of history. Also called the “little Venic water town” There’s a river which flows right through the town, and the town is preserved in its original state, that means its not a place build to attract tourist, but its exactly how it used to be. 

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River of Wuzhen

The guide bring us and walk upstream along the river to see different places; the local people house (yes there are still elders living there), the local people wine house, the clothe dyeing factory, how the local culture is, and many more. But to tell the truth, it was all dull work. Especially because the weather was very hot and humid that day. But luckily we only need to walk once, on the way back, we took a boat (must buy tickets one) following the river downstream back to the entrance. The river and the scenary was really very beautiful!

Coming to an end at 乌镇, we proceed on to Hangzhou (another 1 half hours bus ride). Hangzhou is a sub-provincial city in the People’s Republic of China and the capital of 浙江 province. As one of the most renowned and prosperous cities of China for much of the last 1,000 years, Hangzhou is also well-known for its beautiful natural scenery, with 西湖 as the most noteworthy location. There is a praising sentence for describing Hangzhou and Suzhou, “上有天堂,下有苏杭” which means Above the heaven there is the paradise. Below it, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou.

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万松书院

After reaching Hangzhou, we went to 万松书院, which is built in 1489, being the largest institute of higher learning in the Hangzhou region during the Ming & Qing dynasties. Its name was further renowned by the legendary ill-fated lovers , 梁山伯 & 祝英台. were said to studied in the same class for three years.

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雷峰塔

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Scenary of 西湖

Carried on to 长桥 one of the three famous bridge in Hangzhou (the other two being 断桥& 西岭桥). At 长桥, it was build by the side of 西湖, and from there we could see the famous 雷峰塔.

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Map of Hangzhou

We progress to 西湖 Museum next, there is a model-size which shows the whole of Hangzhou city. Stunning isn’t it? The Museum gives us a better picture of the culture and history of Hangzhou, some of the famous people which had lived in Hangzhou before includes Su Dong Po, Yue Fei.

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Dong Po meat

Dinner time! The local speciality today is Dong Po meat. The meat is nice, but too fatty for Singaporean’s liking. We emphasis on healthy lifestyle remember? :

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Beggar Chicken

Beggar Chicken! Another Hangzhou dish, made famous by Ji Gong monk, it was said that he stole the chicken and was spot by the boss, in order not to get caught, he buried the chicken into the mud of the lake, so when the boss leave, he dug out the chicken and the meat was very nice.

Tonight we had nightlife entertainment. No no, not to clubs and pubs, but instead we went to Dong Po theatre to see a show, 西湖之夜. The ticket was 150RMB per person (this amt not included in the tour, we have to pay extra for the “extra entertainment”) Anyway, the one hour show was excellent, full of excitement, chinese Gongfu by Shaolin monk, chinese acrobat, and plenty more.

After a full day of journey, we finish and head to the hotel for the night, the hotel in Hangzhou should be the best among the many hotels we stay in for the whole trip. Coincidentally, out of the five cities, i personally feel that Hangzhou is the best, the city is so vibrant, although you may say Shanghai should be the most prosperous city, but somehow Shanghai has more of a Singapore-city feel, while Hangzhou gives a different feeling. From what the guide says, he describe the different cities in different manner, Shanghai money is spend on branded goods, Suzhou money is spend on decorating their homes, and Hangzhou money is spend on entertainment. Thats why Hangzhou is very prosperous because their people come out to spend money. Next stop: Nanjing!

” I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move “

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