Blooming most vibrantly during the coldest months it is no wonder plum blossom, along with bamboo and pine, in Chinese culture is regarded as one of the Three Friends of Winter (unlike most other plants in winter, these three can stand the test of time) - Its brilliant color can easily brighten any cold, damp day in Hangzhou and viewing the blossom in late winter and early spring has become a ritual of both the locals and thousands of tourists that visit each year. To see plum blossom this Chinese New Year then here are a list of recommended places:
In China there are five kinds of ancient plum blossom and Chaoshan Hill owns two of them, one of which dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the other the Song Dynasty (960–1279). What is even rarer is that the plum blossom in Chaoshan Hill has six petals rather than five.
Chaoshan Hill has also, for seven years consecutively, held the Plum Blossom Festival which this year runs from February 1 to the middle of March. During the festival there will be a number of budding creations to view such as paintings, calligraphies and photography and activities such as competitions and a raffle will also be in full bloom for visitors to participate in.
In addition if you also like cartoon characters then this year’s festival also coincides with The 65th Snoopy Anniversary Tournament Exhibition. On March 13 visitors will not only see an array of plum blossoming in the breeze but they will also be able to witness 65 of Charles Schultz’s snoopy doll cartoon characters paraded on the East Garden lawns.
Two shuttle buses for Chaoshan Plum Blossom viewing have also been arranged:
Huanglong Sports Center – Chaoshan Hill – Tangqi Ancient Town (roughly 2 hours)
Departure Time: 8:30, 12:30 in Huanglong Sports Center and 10:30, 15:00 in Tangqi Ancient Town
Yuhang Subway Stop – ChaoshanHill – Tangqi Ancient Town (roughly 1 hour)
Departure time: 9:40 in Yuhang and 15:50 in Tangqi Ancient Town
Additional line available on weekends, 9:50 in Yuhang and 16:00 in Tangqi
Xixi National Wetland Park
Back in the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912) Xixi’s plum blossom was one of the ‘Eighteen Views of Qiantang (now West Lake)’. Today the highlight of viewing plum blossom in Xixi, which is crisscrossed by six creeks, is that you can take a boat trip along the creeks to enjoy Lv’e Plum Blossom, the best of its kind.
Xixi Plum Blossom Viewing Festival is held from February 19 to March 12. During the festival Xixi has prepared a special itinerary which includes taking a sculling boat to enjoy the plum blossom where you will witness Yue opera while tasting Dim Sum made from the plum blossom itself. When you are back on land you can shelter yourself under an umbrella of blossom and witness the art of Tai Chi and the traditional charms of China’s tea ceremonies.
Zhoujia Village (周家村) →Plum and Bamboo Villa (梅竹山庄) and Xixi Plum Houses (西溪梅墅)→Zhoujia Village
How to get there:
Take No.193, 310, 356, 506 and j13 bus to the stop of Zhoujia Village.
Lingfeng Peak is located inside Hangzhou Botanical Garden which rests at the foot of Lingfeng Hill and is named after Lingfeng Temple, built during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907-960/979), and where hundreds of plum trees were planted. The Plum blossom at Lingfeng Peak blooms earlier and withers later than other places, which makes it one of the top three viewing places in Hangzhou.
How to get there:
Take No.15, 28, 82 bus to the stop of Jade Spring (玉泉).