Posted by: Richard Marshall | October 2, 2013



View of Moganshan

Feeling like a break from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai I headed to Moganshan in Zhejiang for a few days rest in the mountains. Moganshan is not a spectacular tourist attraction but I was hoping to get away from from the crowds, and on weekdays the area was indeed almost deserted. The mountain had been a hill station for Shanghai’s foreigners and local elite in the 1930s; Chiang Kai-Shek and the boss of Shanghai’s gangsters, Du Yuesheng, had villas there. Mao himself had also once rested a night there – the bed he slept in was an attraction I managed to live without seeing. After many years on hard times the place was once again being rediscovered as a weekend getaway for Shanghainese and expats.

I almost didn’t make it as for the third time in China I left my ATM card in the machine. Luckily, I knew which machine the card was in so my friend Emma valiantly called the bank and established when I could retrieve it. I had a fair bit of cash on me but also borrowed some from from Mike, so thanks to Emma and Mike for making the trip possible! After all the messing around I had missed my train, so had to take a later bus to Hangzhou, another to Deqing, and then eventually my hotel sent a minibus to get me to Moganshan. After a stressful day, the hotel was lovely. It was at the bottom of the mountain and the little balcony of my room looked out over vegetable patches and a bamboo covered hillside. It was the beginning of autumn so the hills had just began to lose the green of summer. I had a delicious home-cooked meal at the hotel and a couple of surprisingly good local beers and went to bed.


View from my hotel

The next day I had to figure out how to get to the top of the mountain so I went to a nearby hotel and rented a mountain bike. I’m not terribly fit at the moment so initially I found riding up steep hillsides tough going. The first road I took was a wrong turn, though the villages I rode through were pretty. Eventually I found the road to the hill station. It was well-built and lined with lovely old plane trees, clearly planted a long time ago. Moganshan is renowned for huge bamboo forests on the hillsides so I could mark the line of the road going up by the rows of trees – sometimes a bit disheartening! Eventually after  couple of hours I found myself at the top of the mountain. There was an interesting mix of buildings. Some of the old concession-era villas were still rundown, but a number had been fixed up into fancy and expensive hotels. The new development wasn’t that bad. I had lunch at a lodge run by a foreigner where I ate a cheeseburger, not quite what I had in mind in rural China but very nice. I left my bike at the lodge and wandered around a little in the bamboo looking at old buildings and trying to imagine the place as it must have been.


Road up the mountain


Old villa




Bamboo path

The next day I didn’t feel like the bike again so I decided to walk through the bamboo to the top of a nearby ridge. The walk was pleasant but the mosquitoes in the bamboo were ferocious. Eventually I got high enough that they weren’t such a problem and then stuck to the road on the way back. But the view at the top of hazy rural Zhejiang was worth it. I didn’t do a great deal else on my trip. The idea was just to take it easy and I did. I went back to Hangzhou by bus and caught the fast train to Shanghai. The next day I went to the bank and was able to get my card with little fuss and now try to be as diligent as possible not to make that mistake again!


Bamboo road


View from the top

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: