Tea as a drink prospered in China during the Tang Dynasty, and tea
drinking has become an essential aspect of Chinese lifestyle. Visiting Hangzhou,
one cannot avoid the presence of Longjing, with fragrant leaves in light to dark
green and a refreshing taste when brewed.
On this visit to Hangzhou,
described by many as "a heaven on earth," we ventured to discover the China
National Tea Museum, in our quest to understand Longjing, or, "Dragon Well." The
abundance of towers and deafening street noises that welcomed us into the city
made us wonder whether we had purely circled the countryside and arrived back in
Shanghai. However, as we neared, bird song and a cool refreshing breeze greeted
us on arrival to Longjing Lu.
The China National Tea Museum is located
among the tea plantations around the Dragon Well, between Wulao Peak and Jinqing
Hill. It consists of several picturesque houses, representative of traditional
English cottages connected by winding stone paths and streams gently flowing
over stepping stones. Among these are the Exhibition Building and the Tea
Customs Garden. The Exhibition Building consists of six show halls showcasing
different aspects of Chinese tea culture, including the varying methods of tea
preparation, picking to serving, as well as showcasing different tea making
utensils. We found out that the best grade of Longjing tea is "Qiqiang"
(superior grade), which is picked at its best during a very short period in the
spring. The ancient decorative tea pots laden with intricate Chinese patterns
are a feast to the eyes and the varying serving utensils scattered around the
exhibition halls wouldn't look out of place in a doctor's surgery theater. They
were all fascinating to explore.
Soaking up the sun and relaxing in the
garden while enjoying a taster of tea amongst the nattering card playing, our
most vivid memory of Hangzhou lies with the friendly nature of the locals. A
local business woman on West Lake described the scenic spot as somewhere she
"could stay all day and never get bored." A crowd of giggling school children
insisted on following us and asked, "What is your favorite Chinese tea?"
"Lonjing!" we replied, without hesitation, sparking cries of delight.
China National Tea Museum
Village, Lonjing Lu, Hangzhou.
Ticket: Free entrance
|Other Things to
Hangzhou Cycle Club
both young and old bikers and offers various scenic routes. Be warned though the
mountain trail is not for the faint hearted. Contact Sirge: 135-8802-5634
Hangzhou Botanical Gardens
Covering an area of 230 hectares at the foot of
Jade Spring Hill near West Lake These beautiful gardens are full of pleasure and
beauty. 5-10 yuan, (0571) 8788-9153
Where to Stay
Shangri-la Hotel Hangzhou
Stands on the north shore
of the famous West Lake. Occupies 40 acres of rolling hills. 78 Beishan Lu,
Sofitel West Lake
Located on the banks of the beautiful West Lake and
close to the central business district. 333 West Lake Avenue, (0571) 8707-5858,
Located 15 kilometers away from West Lake, and 20 minutes
from the airport and railway station. 3318 Fengqing Avenue, Wenyan Town,
Xiaoshan, (0571) 8388-0888