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Home Biking Guide A Cycling Tour across three provinces in East China

A Cycling Tour across three provinces in East China

With the supports of the company, and urgent needs from return clients for cycling into more interesting places of China. In the late spring of 2019, we started our tour together from the east of China - Hangzhou, and all the way to the west for 2 weeks.

As our first stop and one of the ancient capitals of China, we arrived Hangzhou by train. We wandered around the West Lake and tasted Longjing tea to experience the leisure lifestyle of the locals, like most visitors did. Hangzhou, the end of the ancient Grand Canal linking the Yellow River and Yangtze River, is also the headquarters of Alibaba, China's e-commerce giant. Modern it is, Hangzhou preserves her ancient charm which you can find in the ancient temples, pavilions, pagodas and streets.

Cycling West Lake area in Hangzhou.

Cycling among Longjing tea plantation in Hangzhou.

We were glad that our Hangzhou - Jingdezhen cycling tour started with such a fascinating city. We had three guests: Mike from the US, working in Shanghai, John and Geoff who are Australians and had visited China several times. Robert, our trip planner who was also our driver, did a lot to prepare for this amazing trip.

We cycled across three provinces, Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangxi, for two weeks, covering 860 kilometers. Bordering these three provinces is the center of Huizhou culture where you will see the Huizhou Ancient City, and the UNESCO-protected Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun, which represent the essence of Huizhou culture.

In most cities of China, the urban areas are always busy with traffic. Fortunately, most of the roads in Hangzhou have bicycle tracks, which is good for the rider to avoid the busy traffic.After about an hour of riding, we left Hangzhou behind, arriving at the riverbank of Qiantang River which is known for its spectacular tidal bores.

Special lunch in Pan Zhoujia Ancient Village

Cycling cross countryside area from Hangzhou to Jingdezhen.

Local Snacks for breakfast during cycling tour.

On the trip, there is so much variety and many tastes, including spicy or not, that you can find easily something to your liking. The gentlemen in the group are some love spicy food even more than most I did.

The most different lunch was in a small village called Pan zhoujia village.When we reached Pan Zhoujia Ancient Village famous for its One Strip Noodles, it’s almost time for lunch. So we stopped and tried some at a noodle restaurant. What surprised us was that just one single strip of noodles make up one bowl of noodles.The One Strip Noodles of Pan Zhoujiacun has a history of more than 600 years. The production process is complicated and the tools used are also specially made, which is hardly found in other places.

In the past, the villagers began to make One Strip Noodles on the eve of the Spring Festival and served them to guests. It was also given to friends and family as gifts, symbolizing longevity, and good luck.

Songxi Village, the most memorable stay

Cycling Hangzhou to Songxi ancient village.

Songxi Village is an ancient village combining humanity and nature. For decades, this village relied heavily on lime production. Today, it has begun to develop rural tourism, with increased income. I am very happy to see such a well-preserved ancient village because in many places in China old houses no longer exist as they were abandoned. Here we felt calm and serene.

Qiandao Lake to Huangshan

Cycling Qiandao Lake to Huizhou old town.

Shexian Bike Tour and Cycling cross farm land Yangshuo countryside area.

It was the most difficult two days of the whole trip, and we had to cycle on a road that was crushed into mud by engineering vehicles in rain. This is a problem cyclists often encountered when riding in China. Roads in China are expanding. China is building more highways and high-speed-train to develop the local economy. “Keep moving and get it done!” said Mike.

Hiking the Yellow Mountain“Trips to China's five great mountains render trips to other mountains unnecessary, and a trip to Huangshan renders trips to the five great mountains unnecessary.” Said an old Chinese saying. I admire the porters who work so hard to serve the tourists in Huangshan Scenic Area.

Cyclists on Yellow Mountain area.

Hiking Yellow Mountain area.

The degree of hard work is hard to imagine! We climbed to the peak of more than 1,800 meters, and we were already exhausted. The porters carry things weighing up to 100 kilograms uphill and downhill to restaurants and shops of the various peaks. The intensity of labor is conceivable.A bottle of mineral water, a loaf of bread, a grain of rice, a drop of oil, a dish, etc. - everything that is needed in the tourist area is transported by the porters. We saw the porters sweating and walking hard, giving way to them and casting respect and admiration to them.

When we have a chance to rest, talk to them a few words. I know that most of them are in their ages of 30 or 40. Every day they go up and down the mountain, and the weight of the items they pick up are incredibly heavy. Their reward is calculated according to the weight of the item. Many people think it is very hard. For them, this is the way they make a living. Some people even don't get such a job.

This is also the reason why the price of goods on the mountain is relatively expensive. I believe that after you know it, you will not complain about the price of the item. To save the money, I recommend carrying a simple lunch and drinking water while hiking in Huangshan.

Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital of China

China Cycling to Jingdezhen and see Porcelain making.

Many people know Chinese porcelain, but they don't necessarily know Jingdezhen, an ancient city famous for its porcelain. Visiting museums and porcelain workshops is one thing that must be done in Jingdezhen.

We were fascinated by the beautiful piece of ceramics, and I was fascinated by the calming face of the old artist!Although I had known Jingdezhen and its porcelain, I always thought this would be a commercial place. But I was wrong. China has worked very hard to preserve its traditional culture, and various crafts have been preserved. The artists who showcase these hand-made porcelain techniques are the inheritors of the intangible cultural heritage.

In Jingdezhen, I felt a profound traditional culture. In my mind’s eye, the places where Chinese traditional culture is well preserved would be underdeveloped. In Jingdezhen, however, Chinese traditional art and modern civilization go hand in hand. Every piece of wood, every chair, every corner is so charming, and at the same time neat and orderly. I never expected such a place would exist in China!

Bike from Hangzhou to Jingdezhen and visit the Porcelain market.

It was time to say good-bye and recap everything we had seen during the last two weeks. Cycling through Hangzhou, climbing the Yellow Mountain, seeing the thousand lakes island and experiencing the magnificence of the Chinese Huizhou Culture.And finally we had experienced the great contrasts within this area, with its terraced tea fields and low-tech farming and also the construction projects and booming cities on the other side.

Here is an advice for anyone who is thinking of doing something a bit challenge, whether it is cycling around the world or going out of your comfort zone by trying something new.

You won’t regret it, all the different feeling happen outside your comfort zone. “Do it now or never!” said Geoff who is 72 years old already.

Farewells dinner of Hangzhou to JIngdezhen cycling tour .

Blog Written by Forrest Wu, July, 2019.

China Bike Tour from the Yellow Mountain to Ancient Porcelain Capital for Refference