Zongzi: Chinese sticky rice dumpling (粽子)

One of the food that will brings back your memory when you taste it is Zongzi (Bak Cang). I grew up in Medan, never appreciating how lucky I am being able to have this. Only when I moved to Australia, I missed this traditional Chinese sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. The process, as I remember took ages, as it needs to be boiled 6 hours in a pot filled with boiling water. But this is the guarantee of the taste.

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Xiamen to finished off

We arrived at the Xiamen airport, the ride sharing is already there waiting, so we hop on and get to the apartment. There is a bit of confusion on where the apartment was. The owner promised to wait for us, but she is out buying some amenities. So we stuck waiting at the front of what seems to be a hotel. Finally she arrived and took us to the apartment from the back door.

The apartment was quite spacious, A Lu Koko is already there waiting with us in front of the apartment, she is a bit worried whether the apartment is for real or not. The host explained that this is for real.

We went out for a walk around the apartment and we settled for the salty ginger duck. It was delicious, we also ordered a 2 more other vegetable dishes.

After dinner we walk around while chatting and after a while we call it the night and went back to the apartment.

Yu Yuan garden and The Bund

We started with having breakfast at another Lantau noodle shop near the airbnb apartment we stayed. I had the spicy beef noodle with a beef fried burger. It taste as delicious as the one in Changsha. Then we catch the metro line 11 and change at Oriental sports centre to line 8 then change again at Laoximen station to line 10 and finally stopping at Yuyuan garden stop.

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Shanghai Nanjing rd

We arrived at our airbnb accommodation via Taxi. Some taxi driver refuse to take us for whatever reason, it shows that big city dwellers are less friendly. Shanghainese seems to be the worst, the way they talk is also very rude.

Once we settled in, we walk around in the surrounding, stopping by for the local dumpling. Then heading to the train station at Xiuyan rd. The we catch line 11, change to line 16, followed by line 2 and exit at Nanjing rd east.

When we exit, it is a buzzing metropolitan city, packed with people, tourist and the like. We walk for a bit and then decided to take the tourist train in the mall. It took us from one end to the others. Then after hopping of we took tons of photos and walking back, stopping along the way of the souvenier shops. There is one spot where you can take a photo shot of the Shanghai Bund scene compete with the Car and rickshaw.

From there we head to the restaurant for dinner, we ordered a few dishes, Siao long pao, vegetables dishes. One we finished our dinner we head back to the station to head home. The subway is packed with people at that time around 9 o’clock at night.

Orange Island

We start late, having breakfast at the halal restaurant closer to our apartment. On the way back, one of the guy outside the restaurant teach us how to use wechat to call a taxi. We need a China mobile phone to be able to do so.

So we try to use it for the first time. But we get mixed up between the east gate and the south gate, the taxi is waiting at the south gate, but we are in East gate, everything turn out ok in the end he grumpily came to pick us up at the east gate. We took taxi to the metro station. Then catch the metro train to Juzizhou station. It took us directly to the island.

We bought the sight seeing ticket for 80 Yuan, which include the ferry ride around the island and the bus within. The bus took us to the ferry. We boarded and catch a seat. I went up on the upper deck to be able to catch a good scenery photos. The young Chairman Mao, statue is located in the South tip of the island. When the ferry circle around they ask us to went on for about of entertainment. Started with a lady singing a song and followed by a scholars write a beautiful Chinese calligraphy, which cost from 100 tp 200 Yuan. It is quite cheap for the quality of the writing and paper. One of the writing cost 600 Yuan which consist of poem by chairman Mao.

From the we walk around visiting a few scenic spots, such as former resident of Tang Shengzhi. Then we catch the sight seeing bus to the statue of young Chairman Mao. After taking some photos. We head south to the Wang Jiang Pavillion, and the point where Chairman Mao pointing to the country.

From there we head back north end of the island to check to Jiangshen temple. After offering some prayers and some donation, we stop by the local tourist shop to buy some souvenirs. From here we head further south to the Gongji building, which is opposite to the Juzhou island beach park. The park seems to be under some renovation, most of the animals lantern is under repair. So we decided to head back to the metro station via the tourist bus again.

From metro station we head to the Wuyi square to check out the downtown buzz. It was pretty crowded with youngsters dressing up hip hop and attending make up and hair salon. We stop by for some local snack and settle in to have dinner in one of the local restaurant having spicy fish and three other vegetable dishes.

After dinner we had back the Wuyi square station, which is also the Metro interchange under a big shopping mall. We catch our metro line 2 back to Shawan Park which cost 3 Yuan.

Yuelu Mountain

We woke up early, but took a while to get ready. The trip started with a Taxi ride from our airbnb accommodation North gate to the Shawan Park subway station. It cost 9 Yuan. Then we took the subway to Yingwanchen station, which cost us 4 Yuan each. Then we went out from exit 3 and walk towards the east enterance of the Yuelu Mountain.

Initially we wanted to take the chair lift, Unfortunately it is not allowed for person over 60, so we had to take the car ride instead. The return ride cost 30 Yuan each. We enter from the east enterance, the car took us to the sight seeing corridor. We look around for the view, but can’t compare with the view in Zhangjiajie.

After checking out the view from the top and taking a few photos. We head back a little to the list of restaurant that we drive past. I ordered a spicy noodle soup. Then we walk back and take the car down the South Gate. The car dropped us at the souvenier shop. And after taking a few more photos we exit the gate. Along the road they’re so many snack food and we can’t resist but to buy a few, the satay, chilli rice cracker, hamburger and an egg wrap.

Then we walk past Chaiman Mao’s statue, and into the main road. The road was packed with cars as it was peak hour. We then catch the bus no 902 back to the Yingwanzhen station and catch the subway back to Shawan Park station. Then we exit no 3 and catch a private car sharing for 10 Yuan back to our apartment complex.

For dinner we went back to our local halal restaurant, I had their fried burger which taste fantastic.

Wulingyuan

The trip begin with a bus 102 trip from hotel to the central bus station. Then we enter the bus station and looking for the mini bus heading to Wulingyuan. The bus fare is collected inside the bus.

We arrived at Wulingyuan around 10:15 AM. One of the local tour guide offer us a tour for 100 Yuan, which we accepted. It seems fair enough to get someone that can lead us where to go to save some time from asking for direction and things like that. The whole national park enterance cost 245 Yuan, which is valid for 4 days. There is also no discount for seniors, Unlike Thienmen. Unfortunately it is such a waste since we only have one day. Our first guide somehow had another job and she offloaded us to another one.

The ticket to the National Park is linked to your finger print so that tog can’t re-sell it again. One inside the queueing for the bus is phenomenal. The guide took us to the Tianzi first and taking mono trail car for 72 return, checking out a few spots along the way such as “The 3 Sisters”. We also stop there for lunch.

From there we head to Bailong (100 Dragon) lift, which took us to the top of the mountain. The lift is 326 m tall. It cost 144 Yuan per person for the return trip. At the top we walk to Yuanjiajie, to look at the avatar mountain, Unfortunately it was covered in clouds, so we can’t see anything. So we walk further towards the Village. We decided not to enter since it cost another 87 Yuan to enter. So we head down from there back to catch the Bailong lift down the mountain. On the way back we saw 2 monkeys sitting on top of the bridge loving the attention they get from the tourist. We then catch the bus down to the exit of the national park.

From there we catch a taxi which took us to the bus station. The taxi fare is 10 Yuan. And from the bus station we catch another bus back to the central bus station in Zhangjiajie city for another 20 Yuan.

One we arrived at the main bus station we decided to have dinner first at the local restaurant, having the cat fish spicy soup, and egg omelet with vegetables and a stir fry vegetables. Once we finished the dinner we catch bus no 6 back and walk back to our hotel. The bus no 102 and 101 had finished the service at 7:30 PM, but bus no 6 still operate until 8:40 PM.

Zhangjiajie Thianmen

The trip begin with a bus trip from the front of hotel we took bus no 102 which took us to the cable car station. After buying the ticket for 258 Yuan we hop on to the cable car. The view was out of this world. The cable car took us all the way to the top.

It is a pity that it was so foggy as it was started to rain. Otherwise the view would have been even more breath taking. We spend some time taking lots of photos. We took the East line which is pack with tourist groups. After buying the 5 Yuan shoe cover we cross the “Coiling Dragon glass bridge”. The view was amazing even with the thick fog covering the valley.

I wanted to Detour back to the West line so we jump walk back to the top of the cable car. But Mom decided that she can’t walk, so we opt-in to get to the peak via lift. We stop and had noodle at the only restaurant at the top. It was expensive, but the middle doesn’t taste that bad.

After having lunch we climb the stair to the top, but due to the fog, we can’t see much outside.

Then we tried to go to the temple using the chair lift, but was informed that it was closed due to the train. So we had back down the lift. Then walk down to the first set of elevators, There were 7 elevators all together connecting down to Thienmen.

We didn’t realize it until we had bought the ticket going down the second sets of elevators. After taking several photos we head down the second sets of elevators.

The view from the bottom is also magnificent. We took numerous photos, the were also a few glass floor tiles that you can step on to test your guts.

From the bottom of the steps we took the green bus down to the main gate, stopping by to have some snacks and more photos. Then taking another green bus down town.