30 March 2012
Arrive at Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport by Jetstar at 2330 hours. Taxi wants 150RMB to bring me to Flower Inn at 101-15 Nanshan Road. Bargain for 100 RMB instead. Finally settled for 110 RMB but must share a cab. Throughout the journey the Taxi Driver insists he does not know the address until he asks me what rate I pay. When I mention 150 RMB a night. He suddenly remembers and bring me to the inn. Guess he is trying to get me to accept a hotel of his choice where he gets a commission.
31 March 2012
Survey reveals that West Lake is 100 meters behind Flower Inn by Yongjin Park. Decided to walk to Hangzhou Railway Station and see if I can get to Shanghai by rail. The crowd fills the entire ticketing hall and everthing is in Chinese.
Anyway I want to see if self ticketing is any better. Surprise to find an adjacent office selling tickets at Foreign Guest Window. When asked if I can buy a ticket to Shanghai, she sells me a ticket for 78 RMB immediately with 20 minutes to spare. Quickly I rush to checkin and am surprised to be in a High Speed Rail Train to Hongqiao Station and Airport.
The trip takes one hour with one stop at Jia Xing South Station. On arrival I find that Metro Line 2 will take me to Peoples Square for 5 RMB. Exit at Shanghai Art Museum and find Big Bus – a bus tour of Shanghai for 100 RMB. There are three routes for the same price. The current green route takes me to the old city after which I switch to the red route that covers Bund and sights of Pudong. It is a good introduction.
The same night I check into a Shanghai SOHO International Youth Hostel (1307 South Suzhou Road) that is 2 km away from Shanghai Art Museum. Before that the Big Bus Guide recommends that I get some snacks at Huanghe Street at the corner of Park Hotel, since I miss my lunch.
The hostel is hidden away but pleasantly costing me 199 RMB. The next day I decide to return to Hangzhou instead of going to Suzhou that is 90 kms away. CCTV News reports that Qing Ming Holidays falls on 2 to 4 April and 5 million people will go through Shanghai Railway Stations to Suzhou, Wuxi and Hangzhou. A word of caution concerning scams after I notice three incidents in Shanghai:
- A young girl taps my shoulder and says “ni hao ma?” I turn and walk away.
- At Yang’s restaurant I hear a man talking loudly in English to a Brazilian lady that Brazilian men must like fat girls because their bum is good for rubbing and breasts for pressing. Instantly the lady stands up and walks away. The Chinese guy is only half her height, he immediately scrambles after her.
- Third I overhears a white guy telling a local lady to lend him some money, he promises to let her have his address.
1 April 2012
Visited Yuyuan (Yu Garden). It was built during the reign of Ming Emperor Jiajing (1559) on 2 hectares. Today the entire in front of the garden is built up with tall buildings in ancient Chinese architectural designs that they hide the location of the garden. Entrance fee is levied.
Return to Hongqiao Railway Station and find that counter 81 sells to Travel Pass and Passport Holders. Join the queue and waits for only 15 minutes. Manage to get a ticket for High Speed Rail back to Hangzhou.Surprised to find passengers boarding at Jia Xing South Station who are prepared to stand all the way to Hangzhou because all seats are sold out.
2 April 2012
The full impact of Qing Ming holidays is felt today. The crowd packs Bai Causeway and Gu Shan (Solitary Hill). After that I walk back via Beishan Road thus walking round the Inner North Lake.
3 April 2012
Decided to walk round West Lake by starting from Su Causeway (2,800 meters) and return by Bai Causeway (1,500 meters) The perimeter of the entire lake is much longer than 4,300 meters because there are other parks in between such as Yongjin Park, Zhongshan Park, Scholar Park and Orioles singing in Willows.
4 April 2012 Wulin Women Fashion Area
Wulin Women Fashion Area at Yanan Road comprised of 2 buildings. The first sells only clothes. First floor sells men’s clothes, 2nd and 3rd floor deals with girls and ladies. Fourth floor is for children’s clothes. The next buildings deals with accessories, bras, underwears, comestics, etc.
Getting there, walk along Hubin Road and turn to Pinghai Road or Xueshi Road. Between these roads is Regency Hyatt and in front is a musical foutain. Cross Dongpu Road and continue straight to Yanan Road and turn to the right, you will reach Wulin.
5 April 2012 Imperial Street of Southern Song Dynasty
Go along Heifang Street that is opposite Orioles singing in the Willows Park entrance, and walk straight to Wushan Square. This is a bus terminal. Continue through the carpark and you will reach Imperial Street of Southern Song Dynasty.
Signage shows there is another food court at Gaoyin Road. Do not bother to go in that direction. The street is largely empty and there is no food court. The road terminates at Xihu Ave. Spend your time at Datong Lane. The chicken Wuhan Style on a stick is very good and addictive.
This pagoda is opposite the Drum Tower.
At night Zhongshan South Road is closed to traffic and food stalls are arranged single row down the street. Unfortunately there are few customers. This is probably due to lack of signage and the single row concept. For night markets to be successful the Chinese must learn from the Taiwanese.