Tsunami of color to flood Plum Blossom Festival

The Tenth Mt Chao Plum Blossom Festival has been described as a 'fragrant white ocean' by one artist and it's hard to disagree.


The plum blossom in Mountain Chao has been described as a “fragrant white ocean” by one artist and it’s hard to disagree.

The 10th Mountain Chao Plum Blossom Festival, which opened last week and will run through the end of March, is home to more than 500,000 plum trees. The trees have begun to sprout their buds in the scenic area. And once the weather begins to get warmer, Yuhang District will be covered with a carpet of yellow, pink, red and white floral.

The mountain is one of the three traditional places to appreciate the plum blossoms in Hangzhou, along with Solitary Hill at West Lake and the Hangzhou Botanic Garden. After 10 years of development, the flower festival has already evolved into a new calling card for Yuhang District.

China boasts five millennium-old plum trees. Two of them, which were planted in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and Song Dynasty (960-1279), grow on Mountain Chao.

One of the five millennium-old plum trees on Mountain Chao

The scenic area has more than 200 varieties, with different blooming dates, to ensure the blossoms can be appreciated for two months.

The plum blossoms are also a symbol of strength, resilience and perseverance, because they bloom in winter, while other flowers do not survive. The gnarled trunks and oddly shaped branches have long featured in Chinese paintings.

Modern artist Wu Changshuo described Mountain Chao as a “fragrant white ocean.” To Wu, the plum trees on the mountain belong to China’s most beautiful scenes, a landscape so beloved by the artist that his last will is to be buried here.

The local government is to build a Wu Changshuo Memorial Hall in the scenic area. During the festival, a plum blossom-themed exhibition featuring Wu’s calligraphic and painting works will be displayed there.

The mountain may be far from the downtown but the beautiful scenery makes it a pleasant place for hiking on the gentle slopes and wide stone steps.


How to get there:

Take Metro Line 1 to Linping Station and then hail a taxi to Mountain Chao or take Bus No. 786 to Die Ma Qiao.

Admission: 60 yuan (US$9.37) for adults, 30 yuan for kids under 1.5 meters (free for kids under 1.2m)

In addition to Mountain Chao, Yuhang District features an abundance of tourism attractions including Hong Garden, Shan Gou Gou Scenic Area, Tangqi Town and Shuangxi River.

Dragon Boat Race at Xixi Wetland

Hong Garden

It is known for its kaleidoscope of colors all year around. Rapeseed flowers, maple, cornflowers, sunflowers and persimmon fruit paint the park a mix of yellow, orange, red and gold over the four seasons.

The garden is a part of Xixi Wetland. In history, the Hong family lived here since the Song Dynasty and flourished in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Many court officials came from this prestigious family. Today the garden still remains the family’s ancestral halls and palaces.

After viewing the floral vista, visitors usually visit the retained Hui-style buildings and neighboring Wuchang Village, which features temples, a traditional Chinese opera theater and celebrities’ memorial halls.


How to get there: 

Take Bus No. 83 and get off at Wuchang stop.

Shan Gou Gou Scenic Area

Shan Gou Gou

In Luniao Town, it is well known to tourists and locals for idyllic landscapes filled with lush vegetation, water, gullies and hills.

Shan Gou Gou means ravine and gully. Since it’s not polluted, it attracts many fireflies in spring and summer. Family-run guesthouses provide food and accommodation.


How to get there: 

G60 Expressway — Raocheng Expressway — No. 104 National Road — Penggong Road

Drifting on Shuangxi River

Shuangxi River

It offers a perfect course for lazy paddling, which runs through the flanked bamboo forests. It is broad, calm and clear enough to see fish and the riverbed below. Aquatic birds fly overhead or pick their way along the banks. Lush vegetation on either side helps keep the air fresh and provides a peaceful retreat.

There are tea plantations, dark green bamboo forests and hilly landscapes extending for kilometers along the paddling course.

How to get there: 

S14 Expressway — get off at Jingshan Exit

Guangji Bridge in Tangqi Town

Tangqi Town

It is a great example of a traditional watertown in Jiangnan region. It is crisscrossed by the Grand Canal and tributaries, and flanked by black-roofed and white-wall olden houses.

Except for buildings, Tangqi has also preserved folklore over centuries. During Spring Festival, throngs of Hangzhou locals flock to Tangqi to experience centuries-old Chinese New Year customs. Local residents make handmade glutinous rice cakes and dumplings and hold temple fairs.


How to get there: 

Desheng Road — Qiushi Road — No. 320 National Road — Yunhe Road — Renmin Road



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