Frolicking in Hangzhou - major attractions travelogue! ❤

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Starting out the day in Hangzhou with a gloomy and grey weather, there's just this tranquil buzz in the air that you can't miss. People milling about their way in their day to day lives, while we just troop around, observing them.. anyway cooler mornings call for a breakfast & coffee break: as we stop at Phils & Alice's Cafe (啡艾咖啡) just on the same street as our accomm. How convenient :3 Look how pretty the space is:



Just sipping on a piping hot rose latte with floral petals floating about, and a book in hand, and of course awesome conversations with my best travel partner.. I couldn't ask for a better morning. I just love the cafes around Hangzhou, because they are so unassuming on the outside, but it's just so quaint and cozy on the inside. Except that we saw some mafia looking guys smoking downstairs of the cafe, which added some sort of menacing feel to an otherwise innocent place.


Said breakfast in a Halal breakfast place. Surprisingly there are a lot of Halal dining areas around Hangzhou, and they were really delicious too! Thereafter, we hopped onto a cab, with a driver that insisted to drive us somewhere else that's not our intended destination (Longjing)... so we went with another one who took us there grudgingly as well. Apparently many cab drivers will get commission for re-directing tourists to places that they are related to, especially with regards to tea-destinations.


Here we are at the National Tea Museum in Hangzhou!

National Tea Museum
Opening hours: 0900 - 1630
Closed on Mondays




There was a lovely pond right in front of the museum,
with the mountains right behind as a majestic backdrop.


Tried his hand at pounding the tea leaves..


And then it's my turn. This thing is so heavy!




We walked around the museum which was very extensive in explaining the history and development of tea in China, the types of tea, and how they process the tea leaves to reach its final form. It is a whole art form in itself that takes years to understand, but the museum provides a very good starting point. Entry is free - so that's a plus point too. :)

 

Befitting for the location, the Sage of Tea's statue can be found here,
amidst a sea of pretty purple flowers.


Here we are at the rolling tea plantations!




There was a tea appreciation session but it was quite expensive and it was getting late as well, so we went off soon after. But I guess to complete the experience of being at the tea plantation you can try that.


We were at the Leifeng Pagoda next!! Leifeng Pagoda is a five-storey tower with eight sides, one of the prominent sights from West Lake and in Hangzhou, popularized by the Legend of the White Snake. The pagoda has suffered from several mishaps before, including a fire and a collapse before being rebuilt into what we see today.


Inside the Pagoda, it is really very high-tech, you probably wouldn't expect such a huge lift in there:


And a 'wishing well' for people to throw money into.


$___$


West Lake is slightly underwhelming in a gloomy / foggy weather, but I think it is normal (if you google for West Lake Hangzhou). It is supposed to give you the traditional Chinese watercolor painting feelz instead of gorgeous vivid sunsets I guess.


The Pagoda lights up brilliantly at night, which I think looks prettier than in the day time.


See what I mean by the chillz feelz in Hangzhou


We walked for a long way down the roads to find a dinner place...


And we found this hotpot restaurant 澳门豆捞 火锅店 (LOL hotpot again)! It was very quiet but turned out surprisingly very nice. Meat! Tofu! Prawn paste balls! 

 

That quickly brought our night to an end because my wisdom tooth was aching quite a bit so I couldn't really eat, even though I did eat cuz it was so delicious.


The next day, we woke up to challenge ourselves to the spiciest thing ever (and I'm not going to do it again). Ha!! Here we are at Chuan Wei Guan, a place famous for Sichuan hot pot!


As innocent as it sounds - Water Cooked Fish (水煮鱼) - is totally not innocent at all! It really brings out the true meaning of mala. It is numbing, and so freaking spicy!!! Just look at the amount of chilli and pepper just soaking inside the soup. Actually it was really tasty as well, it's just that it's totally above my threshold. Lol the funniest thing is - we actually packed the remainder back, not knowing what to do with it, and I ate it all by myself back in the hotel (not all of it, of course).


Each of us had a soup as well, which totally saved my tongue from self-extinction.


 More food.. #gluttons


And drinks, which we guzzled down quickly too 😂

After dropping the dapao food (the decisions we make. ._o) at our accomm, we made our way to Lingyin Tourist Zone. Lingyin Temple is one of the many attractions within the zone, and the entry fee for the zone + the temple is 75RMB in total (bought and paid separately). 


Yes there are many people here with us too! It is the one place where a little bit of rain makes it look even prettier.


As it was a chilly day, we got a hot cuppa from Starbucks with us as we strolled through the gardens:






This is my favourite scene in the whole of Lingyin Temple.
I love how the water reflection is so still, with the fog creating a really romantic feel.




500 "Luohan" Hall - the world's largest indoor bronze display, with life-size statues of the luohans all around the hall. It was really impressive and impossible to get everyone in one single shot because the place was shaped in a 卍.


Walk through the luohans sitting around to see each of the intricate detail - all of them are different!




There are numerous halls for prayers in here, all of them in a different sort of grandeur. 



Prayers being recited by the public and monks together.



Here we are at the Lingyin Temple itself! Here you can make some prayers and offer 3 joss sticks to the Buddha. 




We continued making our way up the mountain, which was quite a strenuous climb to be honest.. but the views just keep changing with bamboo forests coming into view, so it was encouraging enough to keep going. The whole place has a rich historic vibe to it, and you can tell a long passage of time came through it, but every of the structure still stood strong. As opposed to the Leifeng Pagoda which was rebuilt and a bit too modern for my taste, I definitely preferred visiting the Lingyin Temple.





We reached the Daoguang Temple and Yongfu Temple at the top where many people were making pilgrimages to this place.




And we saw this cute cat, that was seriously unimpressed with us because many people come and pat her everyday. But she's still cute anyway :)


The view right at the top. 


That concludes the end of the day as the boyfriend was making his way back to Singapore while I continued the trip by myself... :( The next travelogue you'll see me wandering about on my own for a while before I met up with Lexi in the last leg of my grad trip in Beijing!

 Till the next post 

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