Greenway Bicycle Tour

Author: Joyce Sng

In a village like Suoyuan, it will be miraculous to find a gym if you are thinking of keeping fit. The best alternative here is to do cycling – in the Greenway. The Greenway is a well-developed and maintained track provided for recreational activities. To promote the use of the Greenway and advocate for healthy living, the rental of e-bikes is available behind the Tourist Centre at Suoyuan Village for better facilitation.

The route along the Greenway is generally smooth, almost effortless except for a few uphill slopes that will require more acceleration. Apart from that, you can just relax but don’t forget to focus on your surroundings as well, as the view is the best part of the journey! If you are feeling tired, take a pit stop along the stream and snap pictures of the magnificent floating lotuses. Also, taking in consideration of the weather, it is recommended best to go early in the morning before the afternoon sun strikes. However, if you want to escape from those strong rays in the afternoon, wandering into the small lanes of the neighborhood villages may be a preferred choice.

TNT group photo. Source: Claire Chen

Experiences

I’m a keen cyclist back home in Suzhou, so I’d love to bring my bike down to Suoyuan and explore more of the cycle paths around the area! The greenway around Suoyuan is a really lovely place to cycle. It connects Suoyuan with other villages around the area and it was wonderful to visit these. On the large river that we cycled past there were many species birds, which was a very nice sight.
– Tess, Britain

Double-Dragon Cave

Author: Lovely Mehrotra

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

This famous quote by Joseph Campbell best describes Double-Dragon Cave (雙龍洞), situated some 8 kms away from Jinhua City in Zhejiang Province. Embracing a history of more than 100 million years, these lofty caves span over a total area of 1,200 square meters (13,000 sq ft) and are 66 m (217 ft) high and 33 m (108 ft) long.

“And the light and shadow of the cave forms unique scenery.” Source: Riccardo Giorgini

As per an interesting story, the caves were discovered by the villagers in the Ming Dynasty when they set out to search for their missing sheep. Describing the caves, the Ming Dynasty explorer and adventurer Xu Xiake aptly wrote, “A stone curtain hangs in the cave; by water and on foot, one can enjoy the wonders of the cave. And the light and shadow of the cave forms unique scenery.”

The name Double-Dragon Cave was inspired after two huge rock formations at the entrance of the cave which look like dragon heads. The cliff around the cave has its name雙龍洞written in beautiful Chinese calligraphy. It is believed that these characters were written by a calligraphist of the Tang Dynasty. Also, there are two more inscriptions on the cave walls – one created by Wu Lin, a calligrapher of the Song Dynasty and other by 20th century calligraphist Yu Youren.

The name Double-Dragon Cave was inspired after two huge rock formations at the entrance of the cave which look like dragon heads. Source: Vicki Hung

As soon as one arrives at the Double-Dragon Cave, the lush green surroundings and small but alluring waterfall will leave you awestruck. Take a few steps ahead and you will be amazed when you arrive at the gigantic cave, decorated with multi-coloured, rainbow lights.

But the most memorable and thrilling part of the visit to Double-Dragon Cave is the entry into the cave, where one has to lie on their backs in a boat being pulled to the other side of the cave’s main entry point with a clearance of around 30 cm (12 inches) above the cave’s water level. When you are lying down, don’t even think about lifting your head as the ceiling is a few inches above your face.

Preserving its natural essence and beauty, a visit to the well maintained Double-Dragon Cave is an experience one would remember for a lifetime.

Take a few steps ahead and you will be amazed when you arrive at the gigantic cave, decorated with multi-coloured, rainbow lights. Source: Riccardo Giorgini

Hangzhou

Author: Dustin Van Sloten

Hangzhou is a city with glorious history and culture. Hangzhou goes by may names: the tea capital of China, the City of Water, City of Silk, and last but not least the City of Love. by many. On July 4, the Jinhua Homestay Program participants had the great opportunity to visit Hangzhou and were given a tour of many of the top attractions of the city.

The Former Residence of Hu Xueyan

This 10.8-acre residence of wealth buisness man Hu Xueyan (胡雪岩) was completed in 1875. This residence contains traditional Chinese architecture with a western architectural style. It is considered the most luxurious residence of the merchants in the end of the Chinese Qing Dynasty. Anyone who visits Hangzhou must make this a must-stop location.

West Lake

Pagoda as seen from West Lake. Source: Riccardo Giorgini

West Lake is a freshwater lake surrounded by mountains on three sides. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake. The views of this lake were breathtaking. You can see mountain views, views of the city, and views of many people in boats enjoying the day.

It was very relaxing to take our boat cruise on the lake and learn about the history of the lake from our very knowledgeable tour guide. While you are on the lake, make sure to sit back and take it all in, because there is so much beauty right in front of you.

Hefang Street

Hefang Street. Source: Dustin Van Sloten

Hefang Street is quite an experience. This street contains numerous retail vendors, local artists, and huge local cuisine scene. It is very charming and eclectic. It seemed like it went on forever. The energy in this place was simply amazing. From vendors wanting to sell their homemade products/souvenirs to the local eateries wanting you to enjoy their food, this place had a little bit of everything.

Hangzhou Light Show

Buildings in Hangzhou’s New Financial District. Source: Dustin Van Sloten

When the tour guides said we were going to a light show, what I had imagined was nothing compared to what actually took place. I have never seen anything like it. All the buildings lit up to form a synchronous digital light show. I was amazed by the digital effects and the sheer amount of lights.

It was July 4. In my country, the United States, we would have been celebrating with a fireworks display lighting up the sky.  I was pleasantly surprised and did not at all miss the fireworks back in my home country. China again impressed me with their technological savviness and forward thinking. They even paid tribute to the United States by displaying a brief fireworks light show on the buildings.

Buildings illuminated with different countrys’ flags.

With the comforts of modernity combined with a relaxed life, you’ll understand why it’s called The City of Love.

Experiences

My origins are from Hong Kong, a city known for the densest population in the world. Visiting Hangzhou I was surprised to see shift in culture. Although it looked like a big city, people followed  a slower pace of life. Greenery was woven throughout glass buildings. I can definitely understand why the tour guide described Hangzhou to be the best place to live in China!
– Vicki Hung, Canada

Lipu Garden City

Author: Joyce Sng

When it comes to the nursery industry, Jindong District will always come to mind. With a nursery planting area that covers one–third of cultivated land in Jindong District, Lipu Nursery Market has plenty to offer. Upon visiting, you will be able to understand and learn the significance of the agricultural industry in China. Also, they placed a great emphasis on their focus and effort on becoming an international distribution and transferring hub in China. With that outlook, it provided a great place to visit for sighting exquisite bonsai and local produce. Alongside, there are many friendly aunties (阿姨) and uncles (叔叔) that may give you free cucumbers – a win for sure!