Well, I tried to procrastinate this blog entry for the longest time. Hangzhou day trip was a bittersweet one for us. We had some expectations and knew it’s going to be a tiring long day. But boy, our energy was totally zapped even before reaching Hangzhou West Lake.
We started the day early at 830am with much confidence and began our daily routine of booking a ride via DiDi. After a while, we realised the queue was very Long and none of the Drivers wanted to pick our ride. We enquired our concierge and realised at morning peak hour, usually the Drivers will avoid driving into Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station area, as it’s close to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport; the roads will be all jammed up. Realising Didi was no longer an option, we then headed to the nearest train station, so that we can reach Hongqiao Railway Station to catch our train into Hangzhou.
35 mins later, we arrived at Hongqiao station and made a mad rush to the ticket counter to redeem our online railway tickets. Ya i know, as we are not locals, we do not have Chinese Identity Card to scab through and board the railway. So we had to queue for 30 mins, only to be late for our railway to Hangzhou at 1050am. Just to let you have a clearer picture, imagine you need to arrive 2 hours earlier here like an airport to “check-in” and enter the area and board the railway, like boarding a plane. So we wasted our time queuing to redeem our physical tickets, only to find out we had to queue again to change to the next available train tickets. FML.
The next available train was 1150am so we have no choice but to wait and waste the time there. There’s 2 main railway stations: Shanghai Railway and Shanghai Hongqiao Railway. The reason we chose Hongqiao was that if we were to miss the train timing (which we did eventually), there’s other slots available. However, this was not the case for Shanghai Railway. But if you let me pick again, I’ll choose Shanghai Railway anytime because Hongqiao was so, so, so crowded.
We didn’t have time for lunch and all the running around to catch the train made me so hungry on board the railway to Hangzhou. My gut feel told me to just order the lunch bento and settled for it as I dont know when is my next meal as we have not even reached Hangzhou. Thankfully we made the right choice as our next meal was our dinner haha!
We were so jaded and tired and it was so HOT. We gave up our free and easy adventure and opted to follow a day tour. However, we still needed to take a train (yes another train) to reach a station to meet the tour guide. It was 130pm and we have not seen a drop of water or any lake LoL.
We were initially so worried that we had to WALK to Hangzhou West Lake from Hangzhou East Station but a small coach took the few of us over to West Lake. Finally, we have reached the almighty UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE… west lake.
It was so hot. I felt the need to repeat this so that you can feel what we had gone through haha. The beginning of the day trip, we were already tired AF! Haha.
Yogurt and coconut drink were our go-to drink under the hot weather. After which, we took a cruise ride and enjoyed the vast scenery of West Lake. I didn’t take much photos because the lake was really too massive for me to take in and I was beyond tired. If you don’t see me snapping away, it really means I’m tired haha.
We went to several touristy spots in West Lake but to be honest, if you are thinking of conquering ALL the spots in west lake, it is impossible. You can only cover 3 and that’s it. End of the day. West Lake is so huge and you can only cover that much a day. Unless you’d like to stay few more days but on a hindsight, I’d prefer to keep it as day trip. To get to the West Lake from the main hotel areas would need a ride in unless you’d want to stay in Four Seasons Hotel overlooking the beautiful lake.
We went to few places: Lei Feng Pagoda (we did not go up because the queue was SUPER LONG), Su Causeway (We walked past unknowingly coz we were so tired lol), three pools mirroring the moon, and some spots which my pea brain couldn’t contain any information. The day tour brought us to this tea plantation and of course, photo op time.
Soon, it was time to go. We had to have solid food and true enough, our next meal was dinner at 6pm. We then took a train from Cheng Station to Railway East Station, to catch our train back to Shanghai. Sigh.
And of course, we had to endure the long queues to redeem the physical tickets (we should have redeemed the return tickets in the morning but our brain were too tired to function properly). Haha
More food as we need more energy! 🙂
So if someone ask me if Hangzhou is worth going, I can only say it is worth going not just because it’s dubbed as Heaven On Earth but…
1. You need to have patience
2. You need to have stamina
3. You need enough rest (physically and mentally)
Perhaps the next time I’ll ever come to Hangzhou again would be during winter time, as I’m pretty sure it will look gorgeous in snow.
Like 20 years later. 🙂