China 2010 Part 2 - Zhouzhuang, Suzhou, Hangzhou

From Shanghai, we made a day trip to Zhouzhuang (周庄), often called the "Venice of the East". It is well known for its rich cultural background, well-preserved ancient residential houses, elegant waterways and mesmerising views, as well as the strong local traditions and customs that are still evident today.

Zhouzhuang 周庄

A picturesque view of a waterway in Zhouzhuang with boatmen peddling tourists and locals down the stream.

The public toilet at the Shanghai People Stadium bus terminal. The Shanghai People Stadium is the bus terminal to catch a bus to Zhouzhuang from Shanghai city centre. Was fascinated by the toilet cubicle doors on the left. Luckily, I didn't have to use them.
The narrow alleyways flanked by old shophouses in Zhouzhuang.
Transported back in time....

Find a quiet spot away from the tourists to enjoy the tranquil waterways that mirror the beautiful old houses and stone bridges.
Banks of the waterways lined with willow trees, gently dancing in the breeze.
Spot the shoplifter.
A prominent Jiangnan architectural feature - the Horse's Head Wall (马头墙).

Suzhou 苏州

At Shanghai Train Station, making our way to Suzhou on the next day.
Arriving at Suzhou Station.
There are dozens of beautiful Classical Gardens in Suzhou to occupy your day. The Calm Garden (定园) and the Humble Administrator's Garden (拙政园) are the two we have picked randomly and have managed to visit in a day:

Enjoying a really calming boat ride in the Calm Garden.
Signature Suzhou architecture.

The great great grandfather of VR goggles.
The Suzhou Museum designed by I.M. Pei.
Waiting for our train at the Suzhou train station to get back to Shanghai.

Hangzhou 杭州

On the following day, we packed up and moved on from Shanghai to Hangzhou...
Visited one of the oldest TCM pharmacies in China - Fang Hui Chun Tang (方回春堂). Located along the main street of Hangzhou's famous Hefang Street (河坊街).
Visual merchandising at Fang Hui Chun Tang.
Portraiture artist along Hefang Street.
Restaurant staff taking a break on the balcony along Hefang Street.
Free herbal cooling tea at Fang Hui Chun Tang.

Locals on bike along the back alley of Hefang Street.

There's a better option than Starbucks when in Hangzhou. Try their famous Xi Hu Long Jing (西湖龙井) green tea at a local teahouse.

A cup of fragrant Long Jing tea.

A visit to Hangzhou's teahouse will not be complete without witnessing the skillful display of their Kung Fu tea.

A whole afternoon of tea and more tea.

Sitting on the second floor balcony of the teahouse will provide a good view of Hefang Street.

Beautifully hand-crafted clay figurines.

Locals strolling down Hefang Street.

Local hawker stall.

Hefang Street life in the evening.
Next morning, we took the boat across Hangzhou's famous West Lake (Xi Hu, 西湖).
A cold morning at the West Lake after a morning shower.
The beauty and tranquility at West Lake.
Looking for crouching tiger and hidden dragon amidst the bamboos at Yellow Dragon Cave.
Traditional Chinese opera at the Yellow Dragon Cave.
Could barely squeezed onto the tour bus and hence, standing at the door. Took the opportunity to take a selfie.
Visited the "Peak Flown From Afar", or Fei Lai Feng (飞来峰), where the famous Ling Yin Temple (灵隐寺) is located - one of the largest and richest Buddhist temples in China.
A monk at Ling Yin Temple.
Mossy roof in the wet weather.
Continue with Part 3...
Nikon D90
Nikon AFS 10-24mm f3.5-4.5G
Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC Macro
Nikon AFS DX 35mm f1.8G
Nikon AF 50mm f1.4D
Nikon AF 85mm f1.4D

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