Touring Routes to Connect You with the Divine Herb - Tea
Currently in Hangzhou, China, 2016 Hangzhou Tea Culture Expo is in full swing. Tea has become the talk of the city and fragrance of tea pervades its every corner.
Besides an assortment of tea-related interactive events, four touring routes have also been carefully selected by Hangzhou Tourism Commission to give all tea lovers a chance to connect with the divine herb – tea.
Route 1: Lingyin Scenic Area→ Northern Peak→ Bamboo-lined Path at Yunqi→ Meijiawu Tea Culture Village
Lingyin Scenic Area: 灵隐景区
Here, you can either marvel at the exquisite ancient grotto carvings on Peak Flying from Afar and grand Buddhist architecture inside Lingyin Temple, or immerse yourself in the profound Buddhist culture while enjoying a cup of Buddhist tea.
Northern Peak: 北高峰
Behind Lingyin Scenic Area, you will then find the Northern Peak which is accessible by a cable car within 7 minutes or by a 20-kilometer-long mountain path. Together with the Southern Peak, Northern Peak forms the spectacular scene of ‘Twin Peaks Piercing the Cloud (双峰插云)’. In addition, the peak is the best vantage point from which to view the West Lake.
Bamboo-lined Path at Yunqi: 云栖竹径 Bamboo-lined Path at Yunqi is an ultimate getaway into nature. The luxuriant bamboo forests, crystal-clear streams, elegant pavilions and pagodas, and a wealth of ancient trees will reward you with a peaceful mind, romantic memory and purified heart and soul.
Meijiawu Tea Culture Village: 梅家坞 Meijiawu Tea Culture Village is the cradle of Longjing tea, and it is known for producing the best green tea in China. In one of the tea farmers’ houses in the village, you can join the locals to pick tea, observe the tea baking process, and reward yourself with a cup of Longjing Tea, drunk within its native plantation.
Route 2: Leifeng Pagoda→ Jingci Temple→ Dreaming of Tiger Spring at Hupao Valley → West Lake Cruise → Lou Wai Lou Restaurant
Leifeng Pagoda: 雷峰塔 ‘Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow’ is one of the widely-acclaimed ‘Top Views of West Lake’. The vantage point to see this spectacular view isn’t inside the Leifeng Pagoda Scenic Area but the nearby Long Bridge which overlooks the pagoda across the West Lake. When sun sets, twilight shines on the pagoda which is then reflected on the rippling water, extremely beautiful. Please try to avoid visiting the place at weekends or during Chinese national holidays when it is packed with tourists.
Jingci Temple: 净慈寺 Jingci Temple is just opposite Leifeng Pagoda. It is one of the Top Five Monasteries of Southern China. Its fame partly derives from its status in Buddhism, and partly from the haunting bell stoke prior to New Year’s Eve - ‘Evening Bell Ringing at Nanping Hill’, which has been enlisted into ‘Top Ten Views of West Lake’.
Dreaming of Tiger Spring at Hupao Valley: 虎跑梦泉 Tiger Spring is renowned as the third best spring in China and reputed as 'Two Wonders of the West Lake' along with West Lake Longjing Green Tea. A trip to ‘Dreaming of Tiger Spring at Hupao Valley’ won’t be complete if you do not taste a cup of Longjing Tea brewed with spring from its well.
Lou Wai Lou Restaurant: 楼外楼 Lou Wai Lou is one of the renowned time-honored brands serving authentic Hangzhou dishes and has many branches scattering around the city. This branch is located on the Solitary Hill, the only natural islet inside the West Lake. Dining in the restaurant offers you not just palatable dishes but also tasteful scenery of the West Lake.
Route 3: Agate Temple → Precious Stone Hill → Inno Cultural House → Tour the West Lake by Tourist Car → Zhi Wei Guan Restaurant
Agate Temple: 玛瑙寺
Located near the West Lake, the ancient temple dates back to the Emperor Tongzhi's Reign of the Qing Dynasty (1862-1874). Although a temple, it can rival a Jiangnan style garden. Inside the temple, you will find pavilions, towers, flower bed, lawn and paths winding in between lush green trees. Facing the West Lake directly, it is one of the best places to view the lake.
Precious Stone Hill: 宝石山
Precious Stone Hill, a hike-friendly hill perching on the northern bank of West Lake, is one of the locals' most popular weekend jaunts and a favorite summer escape. It features soaring pagodas, quaint pavilions, serene monasteries, dense bamboo forests, winding trails, diversified wildlife and countless red rocks sparkling like inlaid diamonds against a morning or evening glow.
Inno Cultural House: 纯真年代书吧
Featured on the ‘Top Ten Bars of Hangzhou’, this book bar is the only one in Hangzhou that infuses reading with bar culture. With a romantic ambience, it’s also ‘the base area of literature lovers’.
Route 4: China National Tea Museum → Chenghuang (Town God) Tower → Gaoyin Street → Tai Chi Teahouse → Hefang Street and the Southern Song Imperial Street → Xiangji Temple → Dadou Road → Grand Canal Cruise
China National Tea Museum: 中国茶叶博物馆
For those wanting to know all about tea, China National Tea Museum is a must vistit. It showcases a bewildering display of tea ranging from black to green, white to dark and from Yunnan brick to Fujian oolong in a setting of verdant mountains, blankets of green tea leaves, trickling streams and tranquil ponds.
Chenghuang (Town God) Tower: 城隍阁
Standing high up on the mountain top of Wushan Hill, overlooking the West Lake is the Chenghuang Tower. Inside the tower are offered various types of teas, show-stopping tea performances, Chinese ancient musical instrument performances and a large number of tea snacks, among which Wushan Crispy Cake is a must try.
Gaoyin Street: 高银街
Paralleled to Hefang Street, Gaoyin Street is packed with all kinds of fancy restaurants, offering palatable Hangzhou dishes at a reasonable price.
Tai Chi Teahouse: 太极茶道苑
Featuring traditional Chinese style decoration with wooden benches, square wooden tables, wooden menus hanging on the wall and waiters dressed in traditional Chinese clothes, the teahouse is a must have to experience Chinese style tea enjoying experience. What’s also worth mentioning is that inside the teahouse tea performance where masters pour piping hot tea through long narrow funnels from copper teapots which they hold over their backs, swing through their arms and over their heads
Spring is here and so is the 2017 “Intoxicating Springtime” – Hangzhou Outdoor Leisure Season which, in the following three months, will provide the city with over 50 springtime outdoor experiences and tour itineraries. With six themes to choose from such as child-parent, flower viewing, games and sports, spring couldn’t be livelier.
The annual time for picking Longjing green tea leaves, one of the top ten renowned teas of China, has begun in Hangzhou and everywhere tea farmers are now busy picking and hand frying the famous leaves. If you wanted to take a sneak peek at how the farmers meticulously pick their verdant leaves from bushes nestled in undulating hills, or if you wanted to sample, at first hand, this year’s Longjing variety, then head to the following three tea villages which are known for their tea, tea culture and tea-related tourist attractions.