After our time in Lishui we got the bullet train upwards Hangzhou, this was surprisingly easy although our train was delayed and we still got our seats and none one was standing up, this may seem like a small thing but in the UK it is extremely rare to get a seat on a train here as they are often overbooked and can be extremely busy at peak times. But yet again I was impressed with how smooth the transport was in China, and would most certainly use the trains again in China. The train between Lishui and Hangzhou took around an hour so didn't eat up too much of our day even though we were delayed.
Once we arrived in Hangzhou I was shocked by the sheer size of the city, it was like a super city which I couldn't get my head around at the start as it seemed like London when we first arrived but Hangzhou isn't the capital or even the largest city it was just another city. We took a taxi from the train station to our hotel which took us about an hour and we nearly died on the journey as the driver kept cutting up other drivers but we arrived at our hotel safely which was a relief! We stayed The Ramada Hangzhou Riverside which was a great hotel although surprisingly not on the riverside which confused us we got over it. It was also not cheap but not as it could have been as for a double room it was around £60 which is a lot of money, but it was in the business area of town so made sense but I split the money with my friend Liv as we had been sharing a room in Lishui. We were also debating getting a twin room instead of a double but it was about £10-£15 extra and we just couldn't justify the money for it and the bed was like the largest double I have ever seen the only way which I can describe it is imagine a double bed but double it so like 4 times of a single bed. After we were shown our rooms we headed towards our lecturer's (Anna Fox) show in Hangzhou although the show didn't officially open until the next day, but as we were with Anna through Anna being there and her being friends with the owner of the gallery we were able to see the show early, which was lovely! After this, we headed out for some dinner and got very confused by Chinese manners, as originally we weren't going to dinner with them, as they just wanted to take Anna out, but it was our last full day there Anna wanted to eat with us so, in the end, we were able to come and they paid for our food, but we had to sit at a different table and it kind of reminded me of a wedding with all the kids sitting on one table.
Hangzhou as a city was absolutely stunning and on our day there we headed over to the West Lake which was one of the most stunning lakes which I have ever seen, the view of the lake of so peaceful with mountains in the background it felt like you could be in somewhere like New Zealand and compared to the super city which we were in all of 20 minutes before, this comparison between super city and countryside was mind-boggling and was something which I did not expect as whenever I had seen photographs of China it would either be of super cities or of the great wall of China and to find this middle ground between the super city and then being what feels like miles away, in the middle of nowhere I found so weird but amazing.
After our day in Hangzhou, we headed back towards Shanghai to catch our flight home. We got the train from Hangzhou to Shanghai and this took around an hour and a half and then from here proceed to get the bus from the train station to the airport, this took around an hour and dropped us first off at terminal one and then on to terminal two. We did arrive around three and a half hours early, as in the UK when you are on an international flight you need to arrive at the three early for an international flight and two hours before for a domestic. We waited and waited and waited and finally around 2 hours before our flight we were able to check in, this might have been because we were one of the last flights of the day but was very odd. But when we were finally through security and stamped out of the country we then had to just sit and wait as there was no shops or duty-free open. And this is when the true struggle of China truly kicked in, as in the UK at this point you'd sit and play on your phone or something similar but with the social media block you are limited to what you can do so was a bit boring. But before we knew it we were boarding our flight back to the UK and I couldn't believe my time in China was over and I was flying back to the stress of University.
China was a country which I fell in love with and cannot wait to return to, it was somewhere which I never thought I would be lucky enough to visit and now I cannot wait to return there and see places such as Beijing and Chengdu. But sadly I do not have enough money to plan this trip at the moment but I cannot wait to return.
Here is the discount code, to give you £25 off your first trip over £55.