It’s Golden Week! That means a week of vacation and the chance to take a few days out of the concrete jungle. From water towns to mountains to five star hotels, here are five Shanghai-adjacent destinations perfect for a short getaway.
Of course, you’ll want to bring some wine you, so we’ve got some suggestions for that too ;).
A touristy nature getaway, but a pretty one at least, and at a roughly 2.5 hour drive out of Shanghai it’s reasonably convenient too. It’s basically a mountain top tourist destination that includes lots of green, natural trails winding up and down. It’s a safe, solid and simple bet if you’d like some green views and some fresh air. There’s the chance to get decadent too; nearby is naked Stables, a luxury out-of-town resort that, yes, has its own stables. You can ride the horses and everything. Buses leave from Old North Bus Station, or you can book a private car for the relatively short journey. There’s also the option to high-speed train it to Hangzhou and take a taxi or bus from there.
Bring: Rosé. Like we said, Moganshan is a safe, solid and simple bet; the wine should match.
If you want to see some mountains but want to avoid all that tourist business, Tianmu West Mountain lets you get a little more intrepid. Getting there is a little complicated. If you don’t book yourself a private car, you’ll need to catch a three hour bus from Shanghai South Passenger Bus Station, (399 Laohumin Lu, Xuhui) to Linan. From Linan Bus Station you can catch a minibus to Zaoxi, and from there you get to Tianmu Mountain. Sound tough? It might be if you’ve not been around long, but you’ll be rewarded with beautiful scenic areas, temples and even waterfalls. Could be worth it if you’re feeling adventurous.
Bring: Merlot. This is one of the tougher treks on this list, and you’ll want a rich reward by the fireplace at the end of the day.
You might know if for it’s legendary fried rice, (it’s famous for it, you know), but Yangzhou is also a picturesque city laden with temples and classical Chinese gardens and pavilions. It also has loads of historial pedigree; it was once the stomping ground of Marco Polo and also houses the Tomb of Puhaddin, who some say was a descendent of the prophet Muhammed. Top of your itinerary should be a leisurely stroll around the Sender West Lake along with the bamboo groves and rock gardens of Ge Yuan. Getting there is relatively simple; it’s a one hour train from Hongqiao to Zhenjiang South following by a 40 minute bus ride.
Bring: some sort of Bordeaux. This is a stately, serious historical sort of vacation destination, after all.
Zhujiajiao – right on the edge of Shanghai municipality, just close to the border with Jiangsu province next door – is a great way to see the sorts of things that we think of as the “real China” without having to go too far out of the way. When you pull in to the bus station it might look like a Shanghai suburb. Venture to the old town, though, and you’ll find buildings that hundreds of years old, classical Chinese bridges and enough canals to merit its occasional alias “Venice of the East”. To get there you need to take the Hùzhū Gāosù Kuàixiàn bus from te station just off Yan’an West Lu, close to People’s Square; ask around and you’ll find it. It’s a bargain in both time and money at RMB 13 and a one hour journey. OR you can wait until they finish Metro Line 17 in 2020.
Bring: Pinot Grigio. This is a light, easy trip that should be complemented with something that goes down equally easily.
Xixi Wetland Park
If you don’t want mountain trekking, historical sites or even a walk through an old school Chinese water town, Xixi Wetland Park has what it is that you’re probably looking for; pure, unadulterated relaxation. The park itself, which is near Hangzhou, is all about sleepy scenery but there are two key options for five star pampering. One is the Banyan Tree Hangzhou, a ridiculously picturesque classically Chinese inspired complex. Nearby is the sister hotel Angsana, slightly cheaper and with a more modern feel, plus access to the Banyan Tree’s awesome spa included. A perfect option if you’re looking to treat yourself.
Bring: Champagne. Let’s be honest, not much else will do if you’re spending a weekend in a five star resort.