Shanghai’s sweaty summer season has begun and it’s time to take a break from the concrete. My husband and I are new to this city of 26 million on China’s central east coast, but we have it on good authority that Moganshan, 128mi (207km) southwest of the city, is the best bet for a rejuvenating day of nature. Although you can get there by subway and train in around three hours, we decide to drive, a journey of 2.5 hours.
On arrival, we head straight to the peak of the mountain known as Mogan (“shan” means mountain in Chinese). Amid the lush bamboo forests, which have been attracting Shanghai’s overheated elites since the 1880s, are several hiking trails, waterfalls, pools, teahouses, and restaurants.
We explore the forest, ducking under and clambering over fallen bamboo trunks, and see a few cascading waterfalls on our steep 3mi (4.8 km) hike along the Temple Trail.
We stop for lunch in the village half way up, in an eatery next door to a little stone post office. We eat hong shao rou, a Shanghai-style braised pork belly dish famous for being Mao Zedong’s favorite, and spicy stir-fried cauliflower. It’s nothing special, but it does the trick for two hungry hikers.
After several hours exploring the forest, we head down to Moganshan for a memorable dinner at Yufulou Hostel. Here we are led to the kitchen to take our pick of the freshest dishes of the day. For us, it’s mushy broad beans heaped high with garlic, deep-fried chicken strips, and a spicy crayfish hotpot — this meal alone is worth making the trip from the city for.
Marco Ferrarese traces the movement of yao gun (Chinese rock), from its birth to the state of the underground music scene on the streets of China today.
While traveling through the Chinese province of Guizhou, Jamie Fullerton visits the biggest radio telescope in the world.
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