Tuesday, December 15, 2015

China (Winter) 2015

Merry Christmas to all my readers
The spectacular Jiangnan scenery
CNY30 for a Hop On red bus in Shanghai 

" Travelling is not just the physical movement. It's pushing the borders of your tolerance & imagination " 

" If you formulate your own travel plans, chances are you will be able to fulfil your dreams to see more of this world " 

" Short as LIFE is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time " 

" My 13 days free & easy, down the memory lane visit with my wife to Eastern China (Hangzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai & Zhujiajio) during the early winter season from 2-14 Dec 2015 "

Travel Itinerary : Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) > Hangzhou > Nanjing > Qingdao > Shanghai / Zhujiajio > Hangzhou > Kuala Lumpur

Total expenses incurred (13 days) : CNY2,933 + Rm941 = Rm2,953 (US$680)

Airport Taxi: Rm83 
Airport shuttle bus: CNY40
Air Ticket (Air Asia) : Rm742 
Travel Insurance: Rm116
Hotels (12 nights - Double) : CNY2,032=CNY1,016 per pax
- Hanting Hotel, Hangzhou (4 nights) - CNY580
- Nanjing (2 nights) - CNY356
- Qingdao (2 nights) - CNY200
- Jinjiang Inn, Shanghai (4 nights) - CNY896
High Speed Trains (total): CNY1,080
- Hangzhou>Nanjing - CNY117
- Nanjing>Qiandao - CNY398
- Qingdao>Shanghai - CNY518
- Shanghai>Hangzhou - CNY47
Entrance fee (Qingdao Beer Museum): CNY25 (Seniors)
Taxi: CNY8
Tour bus (Shanghai>Zhujiajio & return) : CNY24 
Boat (Grand Canal) : CNY6
Metro/Bus: CNY90
Food: CNY609
Sundries: CNY35

Exchange Rates: CNY1=Rm(Ringgit Malaysia)$0.686; Rm$1=CNY1.46; US$1=Rm4.34

Map of  Eastern China

In Nov 2002 (at age 52), my family of 4 together with 5 others of my in-law's family visited North East China on a package tour. The cities we visited were Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing & Beijing. Our group spent 1 night each in these cities except Beijing where we spent an additional night ! So it was a very tight travel itinerary indeed ! The major tourist attractions in each city we visited were: 

Shanghai - The Bund, Nanjing Road, Madam Soong Ching-Ling's Residence
Hangzhou - West Lake, Hangzhou Tea Garden
Suzhou - Hangshan Si (Temple), Tiger Hill, Leaning Tower
Wuxi - Lingshan Buddha, Three Kingdoms
Nanjing - Sun Yat Sen's Mausoleum, Yangzi River Bridge, Qinhuai River Scenic Area
Beijing - Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, Great Wall of China (Badaling) & Summer Palace. 

In Sept 2010 during the Shanghai World Expo, I and my brother made another visit to Shanghai, Hangzhou & Suzhou and re-visited popular places like The Bund, Nanjing Road, Shanghai Old Street (Lao Jie), Yuyuan, West Lake, Hangshan Si etc. 

For this winter free & easy visit to Eastern China (except Qingdao & Zhujiajio), my wife had the opportunity to re-visit Shanghai, Hangzhou & Nanjing so it was a trip down memory lane for both of us ! In August 2015, on my return trip from Heilongjiang, I took a ferry from Dalian to Yantai and visited Qingdao. 

The 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites I visited in this trip are both located in Hangzhou : 

- West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou
- The Grand Canal

For comfort & time saving, we used high speed trains ( average speed 200 - 300km per hr) for our travels from Hangzhou to Nanjing, Qingdao & Shanghai. However, there were tight security checks in major train & metro stations including airport check-in as well. 

Zhujiajio Water Town was an hour bus ride from Shanghai so this made life easier for us to pay a visit to this tourist place. Due to a wet weather in Shanghai and a heavy smog, we decided not to visit Zhouzhuang & Xitang , both of these famous water towns are 1-1.5 hr bus ride from Shanghai.  

The weather in Qingdao was cold at around 4c and the day temperature was around 10-12c for other cities. Shanghai was drizzling most of the time and hazy ! 

As we were visiting China during the winter season, the room rates offered by major hotel chains were a real bargain. Upon arrival at the Qingdao train station, we were offered CNY100 for a double room in a nearby 3 star hotel so we took advantage of this offer after a quick review of the room & facilities ! 

In Hangzhou, we stayed in Hanting Hotel (via on-line booking) and in Shanghai, we picked Jinjiang Inn, a 15 mins walk from the Shanghai Train & Metro Station. In our past hotel booking experiences, local franchised hotel chains such as Home Inn, Hanting & Jinjiang Inn currently have no problems accepting bookings from foreign guests. So in your future visits to major cities / towns in inland China, just pick any of these 3 hotel chains for accommodations. 

Although we had made an on line reservation in Nanjing to stay in 7 Days Inn but this hotel could not accept foreign guests so we had to check into a nearby hotel instead. A lesson learned from this visit ! 

We moved around quite easily in all these cities using public transport such as Metro & buses. Metro costs around CNY2-5 for a city ride and for buses CNY1-2, pretty cheap. 

As Jiangnan & Jiangsu regions are famous for their beautiful lakes, gardens and natural landscapes and Air Asia's low airfare from Kuala Lumpur to Hangzhou or Shanghai ( average 5-6 hrs flight time), I probably could like to make another visit to this region and the cities I am targeting to visit are Yangzhou, Ningbo, Zhengjiang, Thousand Islands & the Water Towns of Zhonzhuang, Xitang & Wuzhen. I hope I could make this dream comes true in the near future ! 

As we will be kissing goodbye to 2015 soon, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2016 ! May 2016 be a great travelling year for you ! Happy travelling !!!

" Remember that happiness is a way of travelling - not a destination " 

Hangzhou, Zhejiang

West Lake, Hangzhoiu

Nanjing, Jiangsu

Qinhuai River, Nanjing

Qingdao, Shandong

Qingdao Beer Museum

Shanghai City

Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Pudong

Zhujiajiao Water Town, Shanghai

Fangseng Bridge (1571)

Dreams , wonderful dreams, it's all about dreams & never let go your dreams ...... have dream, will travel .....

My China Dream - Best branding in China
Follow the Tsingtao's motto, you will be on the right path ! 
Pursue your dream path 

Hangzhou, Zhejiang (Winter) 2015

Total costs incurred (5 days) : CNY742 per pax
Hotel (4 nights) : CNY580 (Hanting Hotel-double room)
Hotel membership fee: CNY35 (Hanting)
High speed train ticket: CNY117 (Hangzhou>Nanjing)
Food: CNY226
Metro/Bus: CNY28
Boat: CNY6 (Grand Canal)
Airport shuttle bus: CNY40

Map of  Zhejiang Province, China

Wan Xian Garden - Wulin Square, Hangzhou

West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou (UNESCO World Heritage site)

The Grand Canal, Hangzhou (UNESCO World Heritage site)

The Grand Canal Of  China
A guide map of Grand Canal, Hangzhou

The Grand Canal Museum - Hangzhou

The Grand Canal Gongchen Bridge - Hangzhou

The Boat Ride from Wulinmen Pier to Gongchen Bridge - Hangzhou

CNY3 for an one way trip from Wullimen Pier to Gongchen Bridge
Regular departure every 16 mins 

The Grand Canal Cultural Square - East of Gongchen Bridge

The scenery along the Grand Canal, Hangzhou

Zhejiang Science & Technology Museum - West Lake Cultural Square

West Lake Cultural Square

Hangzhou Theatre

Hangzhou Tower Shopping City

Qiantang Jiang (River) - Jinjiang, Hangzhou

Hangzhou Metro

Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport Bus at Wuliman CAAC Office

Bus departs airport every 15 mins - CNY20 one way 

My favourite food in Hangzhou

Breakfast for 2 - CNY17

A bowl of large wantan - CNY15
Sweet potatoes - CNY 7 per kati
Seafood noodles - CNY16
Century egg porridge -CNY10
century egg porridge + noodles for breakfast = CNY17
HK style Wantan Noodles - CNY27 for lunch 
HK style Wantan Noodle & Chicken rice for dinner - CNY56

Home cooked style convenient meals 
Vege + Chicken soup + lotus roots + rice + tea = CNY37
century eggs + vege + pork rib soup + rice + tea = CNY 26

High quality sweet potatoes from Hangzhou

 High Speed Train Tickets - Hangzhoudong > Nanjingnan > Qingdao > Shanghaihonqiao > Hangzhoudong 

Hangzhou Dong High Speed Train Station

Hangzhou Xiaosan International Airport 

China's first official car used by the senior leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC)

Hanting Hotel, Hangzhou Wulin Square Branch, No 436 Tiyuchang Road, Wulin Square District, Hangzhou 
Tel (86571) 85171616

CNY155 for a double room - online booking