Note: No photos in this post. Read further to find out why.
I woke up feeling tired and giddy. Nevertheless, we packed up and had breakfast before the bus leaving the hotel. First, we went to the Teapot Gallery located somewhere in Wuxi city. It was still early and we were the first batch of visitors.
Hell broke loose when I tried to snap a giant teapot replica displayed at the reception. My camera captured some funny photos. All photos were overexposed. I was extremely worried but I tried to forget it first to join the rest who already sat down in the room. The master surprisingly spoke Cantonese and he explained the history of teapot to us. He also taught us how to differentiate between genuine and fake teapot. Overall, his explanation was useful and I bought a set of teapot.
Back in the bus, I tried to figure out what was wrong with my camera. I tried looking at its settings and lens but still, the photo taken was overexposed. Without knowing, we already reached a place called Three Kingdoms City. I only have myself to blame for losing such good photo-taking opportunity.
Among the several movie-shooting bases located along Taihu, Three Kingdoms City is the largest and most well known one. Covering 35 hectares, the city was built in 1993, totally in Han dynasty style, to film the famous historical TV serial odyssey – The Romance of Three Kingdoms, which is one of the four most famous novels. The serial was a success and then the city became the most favorable location of historical films.
The area was huge to explore and there was a show depicting war scene. The show was great. I failed to take any photo but recorded some video clips to console myself.
We left the place and bade goodbye to the local guide before we headed to Zhouzhuang. Along the way, I tried numerous time to fix the camera but no avail. I was extremely disappointed because from what I know, Zhouzhuang is a beautiful place to visit.
It was already 1pm when we reached and the place was so crowded with tour buses. I guessed we were a bit late. Hurriedly, we took lunch at a restaurant and much to our surprise, we were only the batch of tourists left who have yet to take lunch. The rest have begun sight-seeing around.
We sampled Zhouzhuang’s specialty, braised pork leg and it was so nice. After lunch, we took trishaw to the visitors’ area and began sight-seeing.
Zhouzhuang, one of the most famous water townships in China, situated in Kunshan City which is only 30 kilometers (18 miles) southeast of Suzhou. It is noted for its profound cultural background, the well preserved ancient residential houses, the elegant watery views and the strong local colored traditions and customs. In the Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476 BC), Zhouzhuang was a part of the fief Yaocheng and called Zhenfengli. After being donated to Full Fortune (Quanfu) Temple by Zhou Digong, a very devout Buddhist, in 1086 during the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127), Zhouzhuang got its present name as a memorial of the donor. In an area of half a square kilometer (124 acres), 60 percent of the Zhouzhuang’s structures were built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, which is from 1368 to 1911. Taking the most convenient form of transport in Zhouzhuang, a gondola, we will present some of the breathtaking sights one by one.
We also given a gondola ride in one of its canal. Much to our surprise, the gondola was operated by an old woman. We couldn’t care less because the surroundings was so scenic and beautiful. The old woman also offered to sing a few songs in her native language. It wasn’t offered, we paid to listen. Anyway, we didn’t know what she was singing about, but enjoyed thoroughly throughout the ride. I consoled myself with a few video clips as well.
Before we left for Shanghai, we bought a few braised pork legs which have been packed into airtight containers to take home.
The journey back to Shanghai wasn’t smooth as expected. There was horrible traffic jam all the way to Shanghai. It was running late and the driver worried we might not make it to an acrobatic show in time.
We finally reached Shanghai again after 5 days and hurriedly, we went to a restaurant to take our dinner before proceeding to the show. We took the upper floor seating to enjoy better view. Overall, the acrobatic show was nice, although we always see them on TV.
The show took over an hour. We left the place and checked-in into hotel to have proper rest before departing back to Malaysia the next day.
We woke up earlier and had breakfast before leaving for airport. Horribly, the crowd was jamming the immigration counters. With our plane scheduled to take off at 9.50am, we were still lining up at the counter when the clock ticked at 9.40am. We knew we wouldn’t make it because there were roughly 20-30 people in front of us. We had no choice but to jump queue because the air stewardess had already waiting for us in front of the immigration counters. What an embarassment!
We finally made it but it was delayed for around 20 minutes. Finally the plane took off at around 10.30am. Phew, what a drama!
We reached Malaysia at around 4pm. We did some shopping at the airport before taking bus home.
That’s the end of this travelogue. I enjoy writing it. Hope you enjoy reading it too. Shanghai is a modern metropolitan city. It is really an eye opener for me. For the rest of the places like Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Wuxi and Zhouzhuang, they are more like historical places to me but they are worth to visit.
Here’s my 2 cents: Invest in a more durable digital camera. Mine is a Kodak, maybe the unit in my hand a bit cacat, therefore the lifespan is so short. For your information, the replacement lens cost RM500, therefore I decided to get a new camera. My now defunct Kodak sits along with my antique toys.