Wo Men Shi Hua Ren But Hai Shi Bei Tok

Hangzhou Travel Blog

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Hu Pao
The title is by my sister, in Singadarin...

We woke up early to catch the train to Hangzhou.  We cancelled our trip to Suzhou the last minute so we would be spending 4 nights in Hangzhou instead.  It was an uneventful train journey, except that our first class car was replaced by a second-class car the last minute. The journey took about 2 hours, with 2 stops in between. By the time we reached Hangzhou train station, it was about 11am.

I booked Touran hostel online, and have read good reviews about it. My expectations were naturally high about the hostel.  We couldnt check in when we reached because the room is still not tidied yet.
  So we thought we could order lunch there.  Unfortunately, we dont have much affinity with the kitchen as they only serve lunch at 12pm.  Then I asked the staff to help me book a return train ticket to Shanghai on Saturday (There is a sign saying they can have book tickets).  The reply I got was "It is a Saturday, it will be difficult to get tickets, moreover, it is not efficient for our staff to go all the way there to book tickets.  Why not you go to the station and buy them yourself".  Since I have 4 days in Hanzhou, buying train tickets myself is not a problem.  So, we left our baggage at the reception and went off to explore the surrounding.

Touran hostel is located along Hu Pao Road, around Si Yang Jing (4 eyes well) area.
Hu Pao Spring
  There are actually alot of youth hostels and eating places around the area.  Touran faced Hu Pao Road, so it is quite easy locate-able.  Further down, there is a hotel, Xin Kai Yuan hotel and minimarts.  There is a park for youth just opposite our hostel and after walking around, we went back to checked in to our room.

It was actually due to the fact that I couldnt book a single room at Touran but was offered a twin room that my sister joined me in this trip. The room looked very ancient in the website photo.  I thought it would be much more expensive because the bed was those antique kind.  When we went in, I was surprised that the bed looked big.  And there is a nice window in our room!  Then the staff who turned down my request to buy train tickets came to me and said "Eh, you wanted 2 train tickets to Shanghai? I can buy for you.
RMB50 tea
  A Lao Wai has pleaded me to help him buy train tickets so I will be going to the station.  I can help you now".  I was a bit taken aback by the attitude.  Had I been a bit pushy to "demand" him to buy the tickets for me, he would have done so, or is it due to the fact that we are Asians?  So he refused my first request, and only acceded to it because a Lao Wai has the same request too?? But anyway, I just told him what I need, paid and went to our room.  We unpacked our stuff, confirmed another night in Touran and went to our first destination, Hu Pao Spring.

The thing about going on a trip without any guide is that you tend to not know what you are looking at, unless you have read the whole of wikipedia, or brought a guidebook along.  For Hu Pao Spring's case, it caught my attention when I was planning the trip due to the name of the place.
A fish taking shelter in Hu Pao Spring
Literally, it means, Tiger Running Dream Spring, or Hu Pao Meng Quan.  Why is the spring named after a tiger running in a dream?  Turns out it is due to legend or myth or story about a monk who happen to be around the area long long time ago.  He wanted to build a temple there but there was no water.  When he was about to leave, he dreamt about a deity telling him that two tigers will dig the area there to reveal a hidden spring.  And that was what happened the next day.  Two tigers dig (Pao) up the soil and a spring so clear and refreshing appeared.  It is said that drinking Longjing tea with Hu Pao water is the best tea appreciation experience.  But I dont know anything about tea, and females usually cant drink alot of tea. 

Hu Pao Spring is very peaceful.
Qing He Fang
  There are lots more green in Hangzhou than in Shanghai (which we were thankful of). It cools the area drastically.  We walked a long way into the park and then saw people gathering around a spring source to collect water.  We followed suit and collected a bottleful of Hu Pao water.  We did not use any filter but was still healthy even after drinking the water.  It is not a bad experience though.  But of course, there are bottled Hu Pao water for sale if you go further into the park.

We didnt venture much.  Went into a tea house.  Spent RMB50 on a glass of tea, which I dont know how to drink.  But apparently, my sister who loves tea, said that the tea was refreshing and nice.  Though there were trees all around the place, we still need time to get use to the heat.  After lingering the area for about an hour, we had lunch at a local food shop.  We ordered Dong Po meat with veg and a soup with a kind of vegetable from the Westlake.  The whole meal costs about RMB40, which in my opinion is super cheap.  Then we went off to Wu lin shopping street for some evening shopping.

The taxi uncle told us not to go to Wu Lin, as there is nothing much to buy.  Instead, he brought us to Qing He Fang Wen Hua Yi Shu Jie (that is the whole chinese name).  Basically, it is a whole street with stalls selling local specialty.  There are shops selling tea leaves, local cakes and cookies, handicrafts etc.  There are also very ancient games which were around since Song dynasty.  It is not just shopping but looking at the shops on either side of the street makes me recall scenes from ancient TV dramas where peddlers sell vegetables and food from baskets. 

There is no point haggling here, as we have tried and tested without any success with one of the stall owner.  We had bubble tea again and then went into a telecom shop to buy phone card so that we can call from Hangzhou.  My sister has bought one card in Shanghai for RMB25.  But when she asked how much a phone card of the same value cost, the shop keeper hesitated and told us RMB40.  It was so obvious that we were "tok" and we just went off.  After that we went into an air-conditioned shop selling fans and browsed around.  While we were browsing, the salesgirl was talking to her colleague about how she managed to sell an item that is worth RMB150 to a foreigner (different hair colour and skin colour) at RMB250.  Of course, we were shocked to hear how much they have "tok" from tourists.  We thought we could use our haggling skills here but before we can start, the salesgirls showed us a sign that was written in chinese, stating that the marked price is fixed.  But even if there is no haggling, the prices were already discounted price.  And honestly, the fans were all very exquisite.  Some of them are even made of silk.  We bought most of our sourvenirs here and hailed a taxi back.  On the way, we talked about how they can "tok" foreigners and thinking about our experience at the phone shop, my sister reflected "Wo men shi hua ren But hai shi bei tok".  hahaha...the solution?  Dont buy anything lor...then wont get "tok" liao....
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Hu Pao
Hu Pao
Hu Pao Spring
Hu Pao Spring
RMB50 tea
RMB50 tea
A fish taking shelter in Hu Pao Sp…
A fish taking shelter in Hu Pao S…
Qing He Fang
Qing He Fang
Hangzhou
photo by: sophiefbs