Moganshan was a well welcomed escape from the city life and the feeling of rushing around in order to see everything we had all been starting to feel. It appears tours can sometimes get this way, however Dragon Trip catered for this by factoring in a stop in picturesque Moganshan. Our lodge called Howoon Life felt like a retreat compared to hostel life. With a mountain view right outside our window I felt myself let go of my mid trip exhaustion. Just what was needed I think! We settled into our new spot and then prepared for a walk to Lagoon Lake. We hiked through the tall bamboo forests and small township of Moganshan to find ourselves overlooking the crystal blue lagoon. Our guides told us we could take a dip if we liked but only the boys decided to brave the cold. It was so cold as soon as they dove in the shock on their faces was clear! Lucky for us a private bus picked us up to take us back to our lodge for a hot shower and some relaxation time.
The next morning we had the best breakfast I have ever had in China! No it was not a traditional Chinese breakfast with rice or noodles, but a buffet style breakfast with both Chinese and western options. For only 20 Yuan ($4 AUD) this was an absolute bargain and I was full for most of the day. After we packed our bags and checked out we took a private bus to a snake farm. This, our guides told us, was a new part of the Dragon Trip that they were testing out as usually there was a visit to Mao’s summer residence instead. However previous Dragon Trippers reviewed that Mao’s summer home was something they didn’t care for so we visited the snake farm. Some of the group got some photos with a snake but overall we all agreed that perhaps some more of our own time to relax at the lodge would have been perfect! After lunch we headed for our 45 minute bullet train to Shanghai!
Similarly to Beijing, Shanghai was one busy city! With its efficient subway and public transport system it somehow caters to a whopping 24 million population. Beijing however is bigger in land size whereas in Shanghai this bulging population is packed into a much tighter city. We took the metro to our hostel; Phoenix Hostel. Lucky for us Phoenix offered a Chinese restaurant right next door along with a mini mart, talk about convenient! We ate at the restaurant for dinner every night of our stay because not only was it cheap but the dumplings were delicious! That night it was time to celebrate Katie’s 21st birthday! We are such a lucky group to be able to celebrate 2 beautiful girls birthdays in the one tour. Another surprise cake, yum! And off we went to celebrate with some Karaoke! Only 2 minutes walk from our hostel we visited King Of Party and sung the night away. Literally before you knew it was 3am!
The next day of our stay we were scheduled to take a bus to Zhujiajiao Watertown which was said to be like China’s own version of Venice, Italy. Sam and I had other preoccupations having to organise to buy our Japan Railpass before we arrive in Japan at the end of the tour. We went on this side errand while the rest of the group took the bus for 1 hour to the Watertown. We heard that is was a very pretty spot with a river running right through the town where tourists can take a boat ride or shop until they drop at the market stalls set up on either side of the river.
While the group did this for the most part of the day Sam and I visited People’s Square Park and one of Shanghai’s many museums. People’s Square was a lovely spot with perfectly manicured grass which was ideal for a picnic while enjoying the flora surrounding. We wandered for a bit and entered the museum on one side of the square. It was free admission which is always nice for some budgeting backpackers! We learnt about the history of the Ming and Qing Dynasties by observing some of the oldest relics I’ve ever seen in a museum before.
Another museum that Chris; one of our fellow Dragon Trippers, found was the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. Chris showed us pictures of a scale model of the entire city of Shanghai. It showed 2 of the tallest buildings, being in the financial district that in the scale model stood a couple of metres high! He too learnt about the city’s history here and said it was a very enjoyable experience for all those architectural planning buffs. Admission was 30 yuan ($6AUD).
On our final full day here we ventured to Nanjing road, the busiest shopping street in the world! (For all those Adelaidian readers think Rundle Mall times 1000!). Here we fought off the crowds to find our way through to the Bund where we had a foggy yet stunning view of some of Shanghai’s skyline. Despite the weather you could really take in and try to comprehend some of the size of the city! After this some of our group went to the VUE bar which is a rooftop bar offering a dip in a hot tub to soak the day of shopping and sight-seeing away. Admission here was 100 Yuan including a drink. Sadly the tubs were closed due to the rainy weather!
Overall Shanghai has much to offer! We found so many places around us and it was a very convenient city to venture around in. The city is so fast evolving and construction is booming, like most of China, but who knows what we will find on our next visit! Right now we are in transit to Fujian, another rural side of China which is home to the famous Roundhouses built mostly in the 12th to the 20th centuries. We get to stay in one of these ancient dwellings for our first night here so I’m likely to post this a day later due to having no wi-fi signal. Until next time!
Sam and Kirsten x