If you live in Shanghai, are dreaming of escaping the heat and just can’t wait for your next vacation – or, like me, just don’t have enough annual leave days left – then Moganshan is the place for you.
I have to confess that I went to Moganshan back in April when my parents were visiting and have wanted to blog about it since! We came up with the idea of Moganshan, when I’ve asked my Chinese colleagues where we could go that is not too far from Shanghai, but more remote and relaxing, where we can be outdoors and enjoy nature – and they all recommended Moganshan. I was surprised by how little information I found online about hiking routes in Moganshan and how to get there and then again, how easy it was to actually get there and find our ways around there.
There are basically only two trains per dag going to and from Deqing, which is the closest train station to Moganshan, and one of them is ridiculously early and the other one quite late. Both connections are a decent fare (about 10€ per person) and you can buy the tickets in advance on Ctrip or your local Chinese train ticket shop. We took the really early one, wanting to make the most of our time there, arrived in Deqing and made our way to the hotel by taxi, which took about one hour and the taxi driver had to call the hotel a couple of times to make sure she’s on the right path. We were surprised how expensive the hotels in Moganshan are and picked one of the cheapest ones with good ratings, which was still quite expensive for what it was. However, we were the only guests when we arrived and got a huge family room on the top floor with a balcony and terrace and the views over the bamboo forests were just amazing. When we arrived, we were shocked how remote Moganshan is – forget about Family Mart and restaurants! But luckily, the hotel owners cooked all the meals for us, making a couple of suggestions what they could cook based on what fresh ingredients they have in stock.
On the second day, the hotel owner gave us a hiking bamboo stick each, brought us to a little path on a hill which we could follow to go up Moganshan (=Mogan Mountain) and off we went. And I have to say that was probably one of the steepest hikes I ever went on! To go up was exhausting, but not challenging – but going down was reverse! We weren’t sure which path exactly we came up on and must have followed a slightly different, very slippery path down, just sliding from bamboo tree to bamboo tree for about 1.5 hours. No problems for my parents though, they are experienced hikers. When I told my colleagues later about our adventurous hiking experience, they couldn’t believe it, as their hoteliers have just called a taxi for them to chauffeur them up the mountain and back. That would have been no option for my parents and I have to say, I’m glad we hiked as this was probably the best part of that experience! On the mountain there are a couple of hotels with cafés and restaurants and you can just enjoy the quietness. There is a very easy path leading around part of the mountain in a circle with nice views. At the end of the walk you can visit the Moganshan Gardens, which are famous for being built on a mountain and very enjoyable.
The last day we randomly walked past tea plantations and at the end of the walk discovered a lovely café on a little hill right next to a river looking out on the hills and forests. They waitress spoke English and even a little German and she offered us some freshly baked profiteroles, which just seemed to round off our little adventure holiday perfectly.