Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin


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Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby ChuanHongMan » Apr 6th, '11, 07:46

I am going to travel to a few cities/areas of China in the coming weeks.

First, I'll fill you in on why I am going.

I am an international student here in Beijing and when I return to the UK I will do a presentation (in Chinese) on an aspect of Chinese culture. After arriving in Beijing I got to know a guy who lives in my building who owns a tea shop close by. He and his friends have been so welcoming and my interest in tea has in part grown from hanging out with these friends.

Also, as well as being know for producing tea, the places I will travel to as supposed to be really beautiful.

I will leave for Shanghai (from Beijing) this weekend and then on to Suzhou after a couple of nights.
I will spend 3 nights in Suzhou and then head for Hangzhou (another 3 nights).

Suzhou is famous for its Bi Lou Chun tea and hopefully I will get to a plantation and see how the tea is picked, processed...and of course to try a glass or two!

While in Hangzhou I again hope to see some tea plantations and go and try to find the original Dragonwell, where LongJing gets its name.
I have also heard that a place called Mei Jia Wu is close by and a good place to travel to to see tea farms.

I will then go to Guilin, although I will only be there for 1 night and then I will then go by boat to Yang Shuo.

And eventually, I will head farther south to Hai Nan island.

If anyone has been to any of the places I have mentioned and has any advice on places to see and things to do, or how to arrange a trip to a tea farm, please feel free to leave a post.

I will also try update this thread with a few pictures etc (although it will have to wait until I return to Beijing).

Apologies about the long-winded post! Hopefully it will be of some interest to others on here :)
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby Tead Off » Apr 6th, '11, 09:38

If I weren't going to Korea at the end of the month, this is a trip I would have seriously been considering doing. I would welcome your notes and observations when you return.

Here is a link to a blog from a tea seller in London who sources their long jing tea from the guy in the article, Master Luo. Give it a read and it may give you some more ideas for the journey. www.singleestatetea.com
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby bearsbearsbears » Apr 6th, '11, 12:09

ChuanHongMan wrote:I am going to travel to a few cities/areas of China in the coming weeks.
<snip>
I will leave for Shanghai (from Beijing) this weekend and then on to Suzhou after a couple of nights.
I will spend 3 nights in Suzhou and then head for Hangzhou (another 3 nights).


I will be in Shanghai and Suzhou for a few days starting this weekend, too. See you around...? :)
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby IPT » Apr 6th, '11, 21:35

Hi ChuanHongMan,
I sent you a PM about your trip.
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby ChinesePottery » Apr 7th, '11, 05:31

I see Yixing is not on your list... it's nice here!
Anyways, since you are eventually heading towards Hainan I recommend NanShan Monastery. Very nice and excellent vegetarian cuisine. I am no vegetarian myself, but those guys do know how to cook!
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby ChuanHongMan » Apr 8th, '11, 02:42

Tead Off wrote:If I weren't going to Korea at the end of the month, this is a trip I would have seriously been considering doing. I would welcome your notes and observations when you return.

Here is a link to a blog from a tea seller in London who sources their long jing tea ...


Thanks Tead Off.
I am a bit of a novice when it comes to Chinese teas, but I'd be happy to share what I find out along the way.
Thanks for the article. I find Longjing tea very interesting. It is such a small area, yet the tea is very famous.

Enjoy Korea:)
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby ChuanHongMan » Apr 8th, '11, 02:49

IPT wrote:Hi ChuanHongMan,
I sent you a PM about your trip.


Hi IPT,
Thanks for the email. I replied to your hotmail account today.
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby ChuanHongMan » Apr 8th, '11, 03:22

ChinesePottery wrote:I see Yixing is not on your list... it's nice here!
Anyways, since you are eventually heading towards Hainan I recommend NanShan Monastery. Very nice and excellent vegetarian cuisine. I am no vegetarian myself, but those guys do know how to cook!


Thanks for the recommendation! I will check it out.

Unfortunately my time is fairly limited. I am travelling with family too and they have already agreed to being dragged on a couple of tea trips while they are here on holidays.

It would be great to get to Yixing though. I've enjoyed reading your blog and posts on here about the Kilns and your recent wild tea discovery!
Cheers!
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby ChuanHongMan » Apr 10th, '11, 21:12

bearsbearsbears wrote:
I will be in Shanghai and Suzhou for a few days starting this weekend, too. See you around...? :)


Hi bearsbearsbears,
I've sent you a PM.
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby ChuanHongMan » Apr 12th, '11, 06:58

*Very short update*

Arrived in Hangzhou today.

I am staying on the south west side of Xi Hu (West Lake).
Went for a short walk through some tea plantations nearby. It is quite amazing to see so much tea growing everywhere.

Had a glass of xincha (newly picked and processed tea) today. It was really amazing.
I read about the method of brewing/pouring Longjing. If anyone is familiar with the saying "The phoenix nods three times" I'd love a translation: "Feng huang dian tou san ci" (this is the best I can do, but I'm sure it is actually said much more eloquently)
There are so many little tea shops all picking and then processing their tea right on the side of the street (well, country lane might describe it better).

There is a tea museum near by too, so I think I'll go there first thing tomorrow and then maybe up to Longjing to find the Dragon Well.

Exciting times!
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby ChuanHongMan » Apr 15th, '11, 06:16

**Xi Hu Long Jing**

I spent 4 days on the west side of West Lake (opposite side of the lake to Hangzhou city). On my first afternoon there I stopped in to a little local restaurant with a few tables outside. I ordered some tea and was offered Xin cha (newly picked and fried) or normal tea. No prizes if you guessed I went for the Xin cha.

I got chatting to the owner, Ms Ke, and she told me her family have tea growing a few minutes walk from the restaurant and her mother starts picking at 6:30 in the morning, comes back at about 11:30, the tea is put into large flat baskets and sorted. After lunch she returns to the fields and picks until about 5:30, when the sun starts to go down. After the restaurant customers start to leave at about 8pm, the family have dinner together and then they start to fry the tea. It was really interesting to watch this, and this old woman's stamina amazed me. She also invited me to come out and see how they pick the tea leaves.

Ms Ke told me I could take the No. 27 bus to Longjing village. So I jumped on the bus hoping to find the Dragonwell (Longjing) and the 18 Royal tea trees on Lion mountain. It is really beautiful countryside and I can see why emperor Qianlong, and other old Chinese scholars enjoyed travelling there so much.

The Dragonwell is in a beautiful area and is very well maintained. I had some tea there, but unfortunately Xin cha is 80rmb (about 8GBP). I had a normal tea there. The surroundings were amazing, but the tea didn't compare to the tea I had in Ms Ke's place (which was 20rmb).

The 18 Royal tea trees were, unsurprisingly, much like any other tea trees. They were in a nice setting and near the 'old dragon well'. I was tempted to take a cheeky souviner from one of the tea trees, but I remembered I had read that in 2005 this royal tea sold for approx. 165,000rmb per 100g. So a slight pilfer might not have been wise.

The next day I returned to Ms Ke's to do the interview she had agreed to. The interview was in Chinese so I'll have to wait until I have more time to go through the recording again. She explained the picking, frying and brewing process of the tea. And explained the phrase " The phoenix nods three times". It means, when you pour the water you raise the hot water pot 3 times so the water thoroughly mixes with the leaves. Three nods also shows respect to the guests.

When brewing Longjing, Ms Ke added the leaves to a clear glass. Some people add water to the leaves first and then fill the glass after a short time. The tea is ready to drink when the leaves have all sunk to the bottom. I have found it best to add water for the second brew while there is still some water in the glass. I also found the second brew to be the nicest. I have heard that you can only brew Longjing three times. I often added more water after the third brew, and the taste does disappear quickly. I also found out you can eat the leaves after they have been brewed!

I am in Suzhou now, and I hope to get to Dongshan (Biluo village) tomorrow, although it seems to be harder to find than Longjing village was in Hangzhou.

(Hope the posts are not too long (or boring :( ))
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby ChinesePottery » Apr 15th, '11, 06:44

Only about 30 miles away form me (as the crow flies), but on the other side of the lake...
Dongshan shouldn't be too hard to find, i think it is southwest of you and on a half-island.
If you take the bus, line 62 _should_ get you there.

Please mind I haven't been there myself (yet) and might easily be mistaken.
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Re: Spring Trip to Hangzhou, Suzhou & Guilin

Postby ChuanHongMan » Apr 15th, '11, 09:07

ChinesePottery wrote:Only about 30 miles away form me (as the crow flies), but on the other side of the lake...
Dongshan shouldn't be too hard to find, i think it is southwest of you and on a half-island.
If you take the bus, line 62 _should_ get you there.

Please mind I haven't been there myself (yet) and might easily be mistaken.


Thanks ChinesePottery,
You live in a beautiful part of the world. It's a shame I can't extend my stay here and head out towards Yixing.

I am staying pretty close to the city centre in Suzhou so I went into one of the tea shops near-by. They seemed to think that Xishan would be better to go to and said Lin Shi Dong (this might just be the name of the bus stop) is where to go to see the plantations and then go to Shi gong shan shou mo zhan (the last stop on line 69) and I will be able to see how the tea is fried there.
Really helpful people!
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