Friday, June 15, 2018

Day 2- Wu Zhen 乌镇 Water Town, Courtyard Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone (by Marriott) near Shanghai Disneyland

China Trip 2018

Day 0 - Depart Singapore to Hangzhou (Scoot Airlines), Arr. Hangzhou 2135hrs
Day 1 - Hangzhou, got a driver, tour the city, including West Lake and Ling Yin Temple
Day 2 - Depart from Hangzhou to Wu Zhen (water town), and then transfer to Shanghai Courtyard Marriot near Disneyland
Day 3 - Shanghai Disneyland! (One full day)
Day 4 - Transfer to Shanghai Marriott City Center
Day 5 - Private day tour to SuZhou
Day 6 - Shanghai Free & Easy
Day 7 - Home sweet Home - Shanghai to Singapore on Singapore Airlines (Business Class)

Today was Day 2, we leave Hangzhou!  Before that, we had a nice buffet breakfast at the Holiday Inn, and the video is below.

Today we would be using the same driver from yesterday, who met us punctually at the agreed time.  It helped that we had WeChat and could communicate with him.  The ride to Wu Zhen took more than an hour, but time flew by as we were playing mobile games on our phones.

Wu Zhen 乌镇
Wuzhen is one of the six famous ancient water towns south of the Yangtze River. It’s within the triangle formed by three top tourist cities: Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. It has charmingly restored architecture and canals. Though some people complain about its commercial atmosphere, restored buildings, and the crowds, the charm and the elegance of this ancient water town is undeniable. We first toured Wu Zhen East.  It was crowded!  Check out the scenes in the video below.

There were many tour groups, of local (Mainland China) tourists. I found the signage below to be funny.  This was called an Ancient Tree of Wu Zhen East District.  But the age is merely 45 years? Maybe that is ancient by Chinese tree standards.  Anyway....

From East to West 乌镇
From the East, we headed to the West. The drive took about 15 minutes.  The Western part was much bigger, with boutique hotels.  People stayed for 1 or 2 nights here.  Before you entered the Water Town proper, you had to go through these gates.  We had bought a combined ticket earlier (when we visited the Wu Zhen East).  A combination of modern and ancient, made this place feel a bit like a theme park.  We used the toilets before we entered.  They were large and clean.  Very good.

Wu Zhen Video
Video of our exploratory walk of 乌镇 Wu Zhen West.  When we entered, I didn't realise that there was a free ferry (human powered) to bring us across to the otherside. We followed the footpath, but that turned out to be a good thing because we got to see the impressive Wu Zhen theatre.  Check that out in the video below.  The video also shows us taking the free ferry on our way out.  It was a purely human powered boat.  Two men using long bamboo sticks to punt.  One more using some type of rudder cum paddle at the rear.

Lunch at KFC
We walked around a bit, but as it was lunch time, and we couldn't find any place to eat that we liked, we decided to cut short our walk (after seeing enough of the place) and get back to the entrance.  Kids wanted lunch, and the safest place to bring them for lunch was KFC.  So we headed back to 乌镇 
East and settled our lunch at a KFC there.

Transfer to Courtyard Marriott Shanghai
The full name was Courtyard Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone.  It is located at the outskirts of Shanghai, about 20 minutes from Pudong International Airport.  The reason for us staying here was Disneyland!  We would be here for 2 nights.  The transfer from Wu Zhen to Courtyard Marriott took about 2 hours.  This time round, all of us took a nap, while our good driver drove us safely to our destination.  The roads were very smooth, and most of the time we were on the highway.  No speeding.  I figured that my driver would get a speeding ticket if he went too fast.  Cameras were everywhere! Elegant sign.  Our check in was very smooth and easy.  The hotel didn't seem full.

Peppa Pig Room
We had a very good laugh when we walked into our "Camping Room". Here is why.  It was hilarious!  We tried fitting into the tent.  Didn't work very well (legs sticking out), but they, it was fun.

Some more pictures of the room. A nice touch was that the Mini-Bar in the hotel room was complimentary.  Granted, there wasn't much in there, but still, a nice touch.

What was in the Mini-Bar?  Pepsi, Seven-Up, some nuts and Coconut Juice. Coke, Seven-Up.  The Coconut Juice wasn't the clear type we had in Singapore.  It was milky.  I would call it Coconut milk.

What to eat?
Now we had an issue.  It was close to dinner time.  What to eat?  The immediate vicinity of the hotel did not have anything.  It was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, no shops, no restaurants, no malls.  The hotel itself had a restaurant (or two) but we were sure that the prices would be quite steep, so we didn't even check them out.  The hotel website said that this place was 900M to Shanghai Disneyland, but that is as the bird flies.  Going by vehicle, it was quite far (you had to go up a bridge), and the distance was probably more than 2km.  So we decided to take a taxi.  My wife used her DiDi app to call for a taxi.  Yeah, she's quite amazing, she has all these Chinese apps loaded.

Shanghai DisneyTown
From the taxi stand, it took about 5 minutes to walk to DisneyTown.  Good atmosphere.  Decided to walk around to check out the various eateries.  Found out that they had a BreadTalk which was co-located with ToastBox.  Food Republic, a Singapore Food Court operator, also had a sizable presence there.  Check out the video below.

Dinner at DonDonYa
After a brief walk, we settled with DonDonYa, an eatery selling Japanese inspired food.  They had sets for 65RMB, which looked to be of decent value. So we had 3 sets and then went over to Food Republic to buy some Shanghai Dumplings (takeaway).  We took a taxi (from the official line) back to Courtyard, cost was 20RMB.

This ends Day 2 of our tour. We would have a good rest this evening, and head out to Shanghai Disneyland tomorrow!  Thanks for following along!


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