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9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

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KL
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9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

Read my Day 1 report in the following:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298559-i7153-k323…

Day 2 (continued)

*******

We arrived at Tunxi long-distance bus station around 5.30pm, about 3 hours ride. The ride is smooth. As it just snowed in the morning or the day before, we saw snow covered roof top in the villages or snow covered trees up at the mountain along the highway. From far you can see green color trees with a little bit of snow of top..quite picturesque..

When you get down from the bus, taxi drivers will ask you if you want to go to Huangshan Scenic Area else just head out to the entrance following the crowd. As we couldn't get a cab to our hostel in Tunxi Old Street, we took a 1RMB bus ride (Bus no 9), stopped at YangMeiShan stop. Don't worry you will miss the stop coz there's an announcement in the bus for every stop. From YangMeiShan stop, go straight until you reached a traffic light, cross the road where you will see a shopping mall. Walk further up then turn right and walk until you see Tunxi Old Street archway. Another few minutes we reached our hostel - Huangshan Old Street Youth Hostel.

We also enquire about getting the hostel to buy train ticket from Huangshan to Suzhou for us. However we were told that there will be additional charges of 20RMB per person and better to go to the station by ourself via cab with round trip only cost about 14RMB. Off we go to the train station to buy our train ticket coz we are worry it will be sold out and our plan will be delayed. Tunxi is a town that has everything for everyone e.g. shopping mall, entertainment, accomodation, etc, quite modern from what I think it should be

By the time we are ready to explore Old Street it is about 8pm. At this hour the street is almost empty. Most of the tour groups has left, only those who stayed nearby hostel or hotel are exploring the street. Some of the shops already closed for the day. We start exploring the street from the archway till almost the end. Most of the shops sell almost the same thing; tea, snacks, winter clothes, souvenir, etc. There are few restaurants you can choose to have meal and a museum. However I feel the entrance fee is a bit steep = 50RMB. As for our dinner, since we do not know which to choose, we simply went into one for our dinner. We ordered 3 dishes that are delicious and not expensive; panfried eggplant, tomato with egg and a local dish (cannot remember the name) with rice.

We almost forgot to do our grocery in preparation of hiking tomorrow morning. The most important thing we bought are walking stick, "snow shoe" or "tie xie" (2 metals tied by strong elastic rubber string with sharp points at the bottom) and breads. Our walking stick coz 7RMB, remember to buy stick that is thick and strong else it will be useless. We bargained our "snow shoe" to 13RMB per pair. It is especially useful when you plan to go up the summit during winter. By 9 or 9.30pm, most of the shops in the Old Street started to close for the day.

Accomodation:

Huangshan Old Street Youth Hostel

Website: www.hiourhostel.com

Contact: 86-0559-2540386

Email: oldstreethostel@126.com

You may booked directly with the hostel or via Hostel World website with discount given. However you need to pay 10% deposit if booked via Hostel World.

Edited: 2:36 am, November 27, 2009
KL
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11. Re: 9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

Frankly speaking, I wouldn't bring young kid or elderly up to the mountain during winter. A bit difficult to define "safe". It maybe up to individuals. Take a look at the pictures I posted and do your best judgement.

I hardly came across any kids during my hiking. As for elderly, I only came across one hongkie lady who looks like mid 60 to 70, am not really good at guessing other people age but definitely old who can walk briskly like youngster.

Non-winter time is more appropriate for them. Some of the steps are wide enough for 2 people but due to the snow fall, most of the time only half of the path is cleared for people to walk. In that case your mom might need to walk down or up by herself without you holding her at the side, a bit dangerous.

Alternatively you can hire sedan chair carrier to carry your mom but not sure how long they can / will carry your mom. I have seen someone did that.

At one part of the trail, the steps are so steep that I have to put my hand against stone wall to walk up or bend down a bit to hold on the front stone step to walk further up.

When we came across tour groups that consist of "aunties", most of them complained loudly i.e. still very far to go? why can't they have the hotel nearer? etc...a bit funny....;oD

Singapore
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12. Re: 9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

Hi

I am planning to take the7.58am bus from Shanghai (if the bus operates.. still need to call up the bus station to confirm) and I think it will reach tangkou at around 2.30pm (6.5hrs).

I am thinking to stay in Tangkou and go to the Lover Valley (Qing Ren Gu) in the afternoon or go for hot spring when we arrive. I don't think we will have time to visit hong cun?

The next day, will wake up early and go take Yungu cable car up. Stay 1 night at the summit and take Yuping Cable down. Proceed to Tunxi and stay overnight.

The following morning, proceed to Hangzhou by Bus.

From Hangzhou to Huangshan, did you buy your bus ticket in advance?

KL
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13. Re: 9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

I see. Too bad you can't visit Hongcun. It is really a nice & pictureque village.

I think you should be able to get your ticket from Hangzhou to Huangshan on the same day. I bought mine around 9am on the day I wanted to go to Huangshan.

KL
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14. Re: 9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

Day 4 Hongcun (in the afternoon)

*****************

We board the 1.40pm bus (small bus) to Hongcun (direct bus). Takes about an hour or more. Dozed off a bit during the ride due to tiredness. By the time we reached Hongcun it is about 3pm. Before we can we get down from the bus the whole bus is bombarded by local villagers who is trying to us and other passengers to stay at their place. One of them keep following us to get us to see their room before deciding where to stay. Anyway a polite No few times tick her away.

Initially there should be a 10% discount should we able to get in touch with the GH's owner to pick us and buy our entrance ticket. Since we are not able to do so we bought our own entrance ticket at normal rate of 80RMB per person.

Once passed the entrance check-in.....the village's beautiful scenery spread in front of us. We are lucky we can see blue sky with warm sun shining down the lake water and the clear water reflection of the old houses and bridge. There are art students sitting around the lake capturing the village beauty. We are speechless at seeing what is in front of us. It is like a alive chinese water painting standing in front of us.

Since we are not sure where is our GH, we started to ask the local villages once we crossed the bridge. Apparently our GH is right in the village itself, near the "cow head". Once inside the village, there are lots of people walking around, mostly are tour groups. While searching for ur GH, we followed the tour groups to listen to the tour guide explaination about the village. Somehow or rather we came to the moon shaped pool, we ask for direction again. After another 15 minutes walk, we reached our GH. Our GH is few houses from one the village attraction i.e. ChengZhi Hall or ChengZhi Tang.

We walked into a small walkway lead to a kitchen if you walked further, if turn right, opened to a little pool in the middle, quite attractive. After settle down to our room, we went down to have our late lunch, around 4pm. Our room, a typical twin sharing type is clean, the owner will bring a flask of hot water for drinking water. Bathroom combine with toilet but it is a squat type. All the rooms have similar type of toilet. They also have traditional type bed (maybe 30 years old bed with nice carving) but the review I read is a mix review so I choose the modern twin sharing room. Room rate from twin sharing is 100RMB per night (weekend)

We ordered some local must try dishes in the village such as chicken soup, "smelly" fish (only the name as such) and a vege which is free from the owner. My friend tried to bargained down the room rate to offset the 10% discount of entrance ticket we didn't get earlier on but owner refused, instead give us a free vege dish at the similar rate...;oD. Since there are only 2 of us, we definitely cannot finished our soup and fish, the owner let us keep it for our dinner later. The chicken soup is piping hot, nice when you had it during winter time and the chicken meat is very tender. Note that the chicken is not the typical farm type chicken you had in the city. These are wild chicken who can run freely around the hill, etc.

After late lunch, we started to explore the village before the night fall. As we near the south lake, most of the art students has started to pack their stuff. At this point you will feel the quietness around the lake. Give me a nice calm feeling which I like. We also explored streets that is away from the centre of the village to have a sense of the local life. Not bad....locals started to prepare for their dinner - housewife cooking in their kitchen, a family having dinner, children playing in front of their house. I would love to peek into their kitchen but on the second thought better not...;oD As we passed by the old houses, a dog, white color with grey patches suddenly walk next to us, occasionally will run in front of us. After a while, the dog seems to lead us back to the village centre. Maybe the dog sense we lost our way coz it is dark like 8 or 9 pm whereas it is just about 6pm...hahahah....such a cute dog!!

Back to our GH to rest for the night. Everything about the GH is great except for the hot water shower. Not sure what happened but right after I showered, my friend had to wait close to 2 hours for hot water to shower. After we checked with the owner, she said we need to wait for the centralised heater to heat the water. Even then the water is not as hot as we expected it to be. My poor friend is half shivering in the bathroom while taking shower. Well..well...part and parcel of the trip..

Accomodation:

Song He Tang

Website: http://www.songhetang.cn/english

There are many GHs you can choose from in the village itself. We saw people actually checked out few GHs until they are satisfied before they settle in. However I knew I will be super tired by the time I reached Hongcun so pre-booked before I arrive.

Below is the site contains most of the GHs in Hongcun village but it is in chinese:

http://www.sozhen.com/default/towninn_20.html

KL
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15. Re: 9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

Check out Hongcun photos here:

Around the village

www.facebook.com/album.php…

ChengZhi Hall

www.facebook.com/album.php…

Moon Shaped Pool

www.facebook.com/album.php…

South Lake in the morning

www.facebook.com/album.php…

South Lake in the evening

www.facebook.com/album.php…

KL
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16. Re: 9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

Day 5 - Mukeng

******************

We wake up early in the morning, out from our GH by 6am. It is still a bit dark but there are quite a number of people wondering around the village especially photographer who wants to get the best shot of the village in the morning before the tour buses started to pour in hordes of day trip travellers. I agreed with other travellers that Hongcun is at its best in the evening and early morning. This morning is calm and serene with nice weathers. We walked slowly from our GH towards south lake then walked around south lake. By the time we finished walking around the village, the sun has slowly rise up giving the skies a warm orange color. Couple with some white clouds and light blue sky, all these are reflected clearly in the lake water, super nice!!

By the time other travellers went for breakfast, we continued to explored the other side of the village, where it gives more authentic feel of the village. We explored some back lanes, saw a bit more run down of local houses, vegetable patch, etc. Somehow or rather we walked back to our GH again.

At 8.45am, we are on our way to Mukeng (bamboo forest) via a small mini van. Round trip including waiting cost 40RMB. Entrance ticket to Mukeng cost 30RMB. The ride is about 15 minutes. Along the way there are sign post indicated the best spot to take pics of the villages along the road such as Xieli or TaChuan. If you have time remember to stop by, the view is really superb.

The whole hike around Mukeng typically takes an hour, for us is about 3 hours coz we had our early lunch at one of the GH in the village on top of the hill. It is easy to hike around, from the entrance turn left, walk all the way up to the hill and down again, back to the same entrance. Again we are lucky to be the only one hiking around the forest; listening to sound of the water flowing down the small river, mysteriously all the bamboos are still green in color even though it is winter, some of the unmelted snow still stuck among the vegetable patches. When you reached mid way of the hill, you will see the whole bamboo forest in front of you, couple with a little bit of sunshine, it gives u yellowish and greenish color...Superb!! After lunch we saw few travellers coming from different direction then it break the forest calmness due to the loud talking..;(

12pm, we are back to Hongcun again. After picking up our light luggage, we continued our exploration around the village; visit local attraction places such as Cheng Zi Hall, South Lake Academy, Jingde Hall, Lexu Hall and Wang Daode's former residence. Among all, Cheng Zi Hall really worth ro visit with their exquisite engravings can be seen all over the house, e.g. pillars and even on the roof top..

After that we took 3pm bus that goes back directly to Tunxi long-distance bus station. Note that during the low season, check the bus timing, else every hour there's one bus that goes back to Tunxi directly. Pack take-away dinner and collected our luggage from the hostel, off we go to the train station, taking 7.15pm train to Suzhou, our next destination.

Our first experience travelled overnight by train, we bought tickets for the whole cabin, soft sleeper. Guess we are just too tired, after dinner, we nod off. Only wake the next morning when the train attendent alert us we are about to reach Suzhou station.

Check Mukeng pictures here:

www.facebook.com/album.php…

Chengzi Hall

www.facebook.com/album.php…

Edited: 10:00 am, December 15, 2009
Kuala Lumpur
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17. Re: 9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

Thanks momow for your wonderful trip report. I have only just found time to check the forum and to my delight saw your trip report. I have yet to read them all and ask questions ;-) Appreciate all the very helpful info. I am taking a lot of notes though not sure if we'll go to Huangshan or not in our next trip to Hangzhou. Happy New Year.

KL
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18. Re: 9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

Hi TSC18..

Long time didn't see you here. How's ur last trip?

I guess my trip report is too long, like old nanny rambling non-stop...;oD I have yet to finish the remaining few days at Hangzhou....Hope I can still remember the details.

I would highly recommend you to go once in your lifetime...hehehe...I still have all my notes so let me know if you have any questions. Actually it is not that difficult as long as you have done some homework.

I am hoping I can go to Huangshan again the year after next with another friend who didn't make it this time. However I will not choose winter time.

Kuala Lumpur
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19. Re: 9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

I am sure your detailed report will be most helpful to many of us planning a trip to Huangshan. Thank you for finding time to share with us. Looking forward to the rest of your trip report. We had a wonderful time in Lijiang. Looking forward to another return trip ;-)

20. Re: 9D8N Trip Report - Hangzhou, Huangshan and Tongli in mid Nov

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