We don’t always have time on our side for longer travels, but weekend trips are definitely more feasible. Constantly looking out for such options, we came across these guys from Xcape Shanghai who organises weekly trips to the bamboo forest of Anji, where the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was shot.
On our second and final day in Hangzhou, we hired a taxi for 3 hours to explore some of the mountains west to our hotel, for a bit. On map, it looked fairly near to walk from our hotel, but in true fact, they were not. They are mountains, after all. Also, fearing we might not have enough hours before having to make our way back to the train station, the taxi seemed our best bet. We got a nice driver who drove a “London Taxi” styled cab who charged around 60 yuan per hour (quite worth the money especially when splitting it per passenger). The drive up took us barely 15 minutes, whereas walking would have taken over an hour.
It’s been the hottest summer in Shanghai since 1873, according to local news. Seeing it’s my first summer in Shanghai, I don’t have anything to compare it to. What I know for sure is that it’s almost 10 degrees cooler in Singapore. I never believed any place could feel hotter than Singapore but we are always proven wrong about something some point in our lives.
Hangzhou being in Southern China, and close by to Shanghai, suffers the same fate. D and I did a two day two night trip there recently (departed on Friday, back on Sunday). It was a nice indulgent weekend staying at the Four Seasons Hangzhou. Probably one of the best hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at. The spa’s easily the best I’ve ever experienced. But that’s a topic for a different time.
We were back in the city of Ordos. After checking out of our final accommodation in Inner Mongolia, we set off for the final destination before our flight – Genghis Khan Mausoleum.
After a refreshing night in Baotou city, we were up early once more, and started making our way to the Kubuqi Desert in Ordos.
Majority of the third day was spent on the roads. I woke up at five in the morning to catch the sunrise but the sky was still too cloudy from the storm the night before. I can imagine it would have been quite spectacular on a good morning.
We started our day with a light local breakfast at the grasslands after the interesting night. Firecrackers were blown off by other residents in the night, scaring off spirits of their yurts maybe. Can’t escape them fireworks anywhere in China. I don’t think we slept longer than 3 hours that day but we were really excited to start off once more. The thought of a more hospitable accommodation (with a shower that doesn’t require us fighting angry bees) awaiting us, was all the fuel we needed to get moving.
Early in the morning, we were picked up by our local driver to head to the grasslands of Xilamuren.
We rented two horses for some horse riding over the grasslands – there is no better way to get a feel of the open grasslands than this.
Since we moved to Shanghai, we’ve made several little trips nearby. Nothing that needed a flight ticket. Big travels in the first half of the year were quite impossible – we were settling into our new environment, moving in together in a new city, new work commitments, and breaking shoulders (At least D did). Things have settled a little now, and I’m excited for the bigger trips to come.
Quite awhile back, a friend was visiting us in Shanghai, and as usual, it’s always the perfect opportunity to explore a place we’ve not been to. Zhujiajiao is a watertown not too far off downtown Shanghai. It’s not exactly reachable by the metro, but it’s about 45 mins on the road.
Coming from small island city Singapore, moving to a massive country like China was quite an amazing experience. Shanghai’s my new home city for now. When you mention Shanghai to an outsider though, they often think of the Pudong skyline, very much reminding them of the skyline in Singapore. What’s the difference?