China 2010 Part 3 - Moganshan

Going off the beaten track, we travelled north from Hangzhou (杭州) towards the mountains of Mogan within the Moganshan National Park.

Moganshan (莫干山) is best known as a hiking and retreat mountain destination with villas and guesthouses for rent. Some of these villas were built when the area was as a foreigner enclave before 1948. The beautiful, lush pine, thick bamboo forests make it a perfect sanctuary away from the hectic city life.

The tranquil and surreal mountains of Moganshan blanketed in fog. Holiday houses perch on the mountain, peeking through its dense vegetation and famous bamboo forest.

We stayed with Naked Retreats ( No, guests are not expected to be naked. Neither do the hotel staff walk around naked. Accommodation is simple, no frills, and life simply just goes back to the basics there. Perhaps what retreats should really be - naked, symbolically.

Slippery stone footpaths connecting accommodation villas and everywhere else through the forest.

Surrounded by bamboos everywhere we go.

You've got to be physically strong and fit to be working at this retreat. The accommodation villas are dispersed around the hill and would require 5-10mins walk from the reception building.

A friendly dog at the reception building of Naked Retreats.

Morning dews captured and frozen in time.

The retreat has no restaurant, no cafe, no bar, no gym, no swimming pool, no souvenir shop, no Wi-Fi. And that gave everyone a good reason to take a stroll around the mountain and appreciate the natural surrounding. A perfect place to slow down and enjoy every little detail around us.

A friendly local farmer we met along the way, showing us what he had just harvested.

Graceful bamboos soar into the foggy sky. These were the tallest bamboos I've ever seen.

A close-up of water droplets on a silky green bamboo leaf.

We could learn a lot by looking at vernacular architecture. The way locals build their houses based on their needs, their traditions, the environment, and the materials available to them in that area.

Despite its vernacular nature, considerations for scale, proportion, aesthetics and functionality have never been compromised. The brick post on the left supports the door hinges, and the timber and clay lintels are subtle and elegant.

Well-fed hens.

Chanced upon a local farm house during our leisure forest walk. The owner was friendly and invited us into her house.

Sharing some welcome snacks with us.

A local enjoying a good read at the door.

A panoramic view of the bamboo forest of Moganshan. A 3-dimensional barcode in green.

Continue with Part 4...
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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