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Weekend Getaways from Hangzhou
The next day we flew to Hangzhou and upon arrival immediately went to the Banyan Tree Resort, located in the picturesque XiXi Wetlands. Here we saw the stunningly beautiful “Impressions Hangzhou” show in VIP seats. We also had dinner at the fantastic Dragon Well Manor restaurant, arguably one of China’s best. The next morning we visited the beautiful Lingyin Temple, followed by a walk along the “9 creeks, 18 gullies”, a peaceful path connecting pristine forest and tea plantations.
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Westlake is named the pinnacle Hangzhou experience, and the willows help set the movie-like scene for the most picturesque spot to shoot wedding photos. There’s something about these willows by the lake that make them oh-so-romantic. Perhaps it’s them waving gently in the wind like they’re having a dang good time soaking up the golden sun. Best Way To See Them: Hire a bike and peddle your way through some scenic routes such as around the iconic Broken Bridge.
This place is called Song Dynasty. It is actually a man-made attraction which reconstructs how China used to look during the Song Dynasty. There are ancient houses that you can visit.. there are also workers who don the Chinese traditional costumes walking around the area. There are even little stalls along the way selling traditional Chinese snacks and candies. If you are lucky, you might even catch a performance!
Beautiful scenery! We took a day to tour the islands. There is a tourist spot to buy tickets for speedboats that allows you to take different routes to explore different islands. This takes up about a whole day, and I suggest starting early. We left the BnB at 6:30am reached around 7am got to the ticketing booth around 7:30am, difficult to park around there. A speedboat takes around 10 people and each ticket is around 120rmb. There are private boats as well but more expensive. We had 10 people, so we technically had a private boat ;) Each island has a different name, due to their special characteristics. On another day we traveled for about 2 hours to get to a old town, 芹川古镇 (Qin Chuan Old town). This town has a very long history and is relatively hidden, but has become a popular place to visit in recent years. Most families have stayed there for generations. Getting to know the people and the history of the place was very interesting. However, do bring someone who understands their dialect, because it's hard to interpret even if you understand mandarin.
The Mekong Delta also knows as the rice bowl of Vietnam has popular little islands fondly named after different animals that the Vietnamese consider auspicious- The Phoenix Island, the Dragon Island, the tortoise island and the unicorn island! The local names are obviously much harder to pronounce, and these seem to be the fun and easy versions for tourists to recall! We visited the Tortoise island firstWe started our journey to the Tortoise island first to sample some great produce in the island listen to traditional music. The island has abundant fruit orchards and owing to the fertile land they use no chemicals; it’s all organic. Dipped in some chilli salt, we ate these local fruits to our hearts contempt while listening to some traditional music!