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If you are in Shanghai and are looking to getaway to a truly off-beat, serene and green location, then Anji is the perfect spot for you. It is a large, impressive bamboo forest, about 4½ hours away from Shanghai by road, and offers a great hiking alternative. It is also popular for producing the region's white tea (白茶 báichá) — a must try while you are there. Not to mention, the air is pristine, and fresh!
All in all, Anji is a tranquil, lesser-known weekend getaway. It is famed for being the place where the parts of the movie 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' were filmed.
Once in Anji, you have several choices. Our favorite is the hiking trail. This is the highlight of Anji and a great way to spend your weekend away from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai.
To start the hike itself, you can ask your hotel for transport or take a cab/ van to the top of the hill. The hiking downhill difficulty level is easy to medium, so pretty much anyone can do it. Some points are a bit steep but very manageable, so ensure you wear proper hiking gear. The forest is lush, calm and very green. You can see names/ words scrolled in black on most bamboo trees — those are the names of the owners of those trees. You'll pass rivulets of fresh mountain water. Beware that you don't slip.
A great attraction are the tea gardens — acres and acres of fresh tea bushes, and if you're lucky, smiling tea-pickers on the slopes. The trail also passes through some picturesque bridges, and typically Chinese traditional seating areas made of stone. This trail is not crowded, but you may pass few groups of local tourists, exploring or relaxing in the woods.
The town itself is quite charming, with many shops selling interesting bamboo artifacts. You would find a variety of White Tea sold in these shops. Don't hesitate to purchase some, the prices are very reasonable and the tea is delightful.
Try out a few meals at the restaurants in downtown Anji and don't miss the bamboo shoot dish. Some may find it too bland, but it's a dish unique to this region.
There also happens to be a mini-theme park in the center of the hilly town, entrance at RMB 50. Though we didn't check this out, presumably there are easy rides and crowds to be expected inside, and a whole lot of Anji souvenirs.
Some of the better known hotels include Jiu Long Xia Holiday Resort and Forest Holiday House. We can help you select one to your liking and preferences. For more help, please visit our creative solution for custom-made trips.
Anji is a kind-of-isolated county, in Zhejiang Province. It is also hailed as an eco-tourism destination. It is about 4 to 5 hours from Shanghai city, and about 1½ hours from Hangzhou bus and train stations, thanks to recent connectivity enabled by new highways.
There are direct buses from Shanghai to Anji city, which take about 4 hours. These buses depart Shanghai South Railway Station from the south square terminal every hour from 7:10 am to 10:10 am.
The most convenient way is to take a train from Shanghai to Hangzhou (about 2 hours by express train), followed by a bus from well-connected Hangzhou station to Anji. Trains (fastest, most comfortable) are quite frequent, every half hour, from both the rail stations in Shanghai - South and Hongqiao. Tickets cost between RMB 50 and 115 depending on seat and train type (normal or express).
To take a bus, go to the Shanghai Long-Distance bus station, where buses depart every hour, and the tickets cost about RMB 68. It takes about 3 hours by bus from Shanghai to Hangzhou. Continue same as suggested below to your Anji hotel.
Once at Hangzhou, either your hotel can arrange a pick up or you can take one their frequent, comfortable coaches to take you to Anji. Cabs also available from bus and train stations to reach your destination.