Oh yes, time for a new set of travel chronicles! This time iamthewitch is bringing you to the Eastern part of China, including Hangzhou, Xi Tang, Shanghai and Suzhou. Saucer and I were on this trip just before Chinese New Year but there were so many events after that (especially our wedding and honeymoon) that I had to postpone these pictures until now. But fret not, the pictures here will more than make up the delay for this, trust me. 🙂
We took our flight from LCCT to Hangzhou airport, the CHEAPEST flight ever! I actually bought them online about a year (!!) ago when there was ZERO fare promotion at AirAsia.com. Guess how much was my ticket? It was a mere RM150nett for a RETURN flight to Hangzhou! Can you beat that? Even after including baggage surcharge, it was only RM190nett return. Whoa!
Starway Hotel at Hangzhou
That aside, we were there during winter, so it was freezing! We were really lucky during this trip to have 2 of my very good friends to be our tour guide. They are none other than Zhao Jie and Zhao Lei, both of whom I got to know during my Beijing trip last year, and have maintained as fast friends til today. They are without a doubt two of the most amazing souls that I’ve met in my life! Very warm-hearted, kind, generous and best of all, fun! I just mentioned to Zhao Jie in an email about 2 months before our trip that we’re heading to Hangzhou/Shanghai for holidays and within weeks, she planned everything up. Yes, from transport to hotel to the itinerary! I was so impressed!
Starway Hotel room
They even drove all the way from Beijing to Hangzhou to pick us up. That’s a freaking 9 hours drive! Can you imagine? And once they picked us up, we headed straight to the hotel to freshen up and unload our luggage. They booked us a room at Starway Hotel and if I remember correctly, the rate was only about RMB160/night (RM80), which was really reasonable! It’s located just opposite the famous Hangzhou landmark, the West Lake. We spent a lot of our time in Hangzhou exploring the lake and the areas nearby, as you would see from my pictures soon. 🙂
Bathroom of Starway Hotel
Soon, we were off again to look for food! It was nearly 3pm by the time we had lunch, and needless to say, we were hungry beasts by then. *LOL*
witch at Hangzhou
Our first ever meal at Hangzhou was at a restaurant called ‘Lao Hangzhou’ in the center of the city.
Lao Hangzhou restaurant
The interior spotted a very rustic charm with hardwood furniture and cozy ambience.
Rustic and wooden
To warm ourselves in the 5C temperature environment, a pot of steaming hot tea was called for. Zhao Jie really did prepare everything, up until the air-flown special tea leaves all the way from Taiwan! She claimed that this was one of the best tea she had and we basically had that tea throughout our one week stay in China. 🙂
Food arrived very soon, with dishes and dishes of cold and hot variety to satisfy our hunger. Bear in mind that the fish that we found in Hangzhou were mostly river fish, and hence contained lots of bones! But the way they cooked the fish was either very spicy or sour, such that one couldn’t taste the fishy smell at all. Very delicious!
Lunch – hot dishes
When our tummies were filled, Zhao Lei fetched us to a nearby street market, where stalls upon stalls were selling things ranging from souvenirs, cookies, tea leaves to clothes!
Street market at Hangzhou
Everybody this is Zhao Lei, the friendly neighbourhood guide. *LOL* Look at how enthusiastic he was at describing something to me (I forgot what). 😛
Hangzhou is famous for Longjing tea, which tastes very similar to Japanese green tea. I love it! This was one stall selling such tea with a worker frying the tea leaves right in front of us. He didn’t seem very pleased eh? 😛
Frying Longjing tea
I spotted the Laughing Buddha and proceeded to touch the tummy! 🙂
Saucer and witch
Spotted this stall selling very colourful and attractive fragrance pouches! These pouches were used in the olden days by women as their perfume. 🙂 Kept at a close distance to their bodies, these fragrance bags kept the girls smelling good all day long.
Colourful fragrance bags
Then, I saw couple of guys hammering something from afar, and proceeded to walk towards them. It turned out that they were crushing and flattening peanuts! The flattened sheet of peanut was then cut into pieces to be made into cookies! Yum! I, for one, LOVE peanut! So, I went ahead and bought a few packets to try and share with the rest. They turned out to be a hit among us. 🙂
Cutting into peanut cookies
The stalls we saw at the street market were just endless! I also spotted this guy using fire to melt and shape glass tube into an amazing amount of items! He’s remarkably talented ok! His work was so fine and delicate and looked so good!
Shaping a dragon
Soon, the night beckoned and we saw a street full of snacks! Everybody, I present to you Zhao Jie, my best bud during the 1 week stay in China. We were having skewers of lamb meat at the snack street!
Zhao Jie and witch
After much walking, we finally decided to call it a night. After all, Saucer and I DID just fly 5 hours on the same day and we were exhausted! But not before dinner eh? *LOL* We just stopped by somewhere along the way back to the hotel for dinner, and the most memorable dish was the claypot vegetables!
Some cold dishes
Claypot vegetables and chicken
That marks the end of Day 1, where all of us went back fully fueled and happy. More adventures lie ahead with another 5 days to go! 😉