Jump to content

Hangzhou, Shanghai Disneyland, Shanghai, Suzhou Holiday DIY


Recommended Posts

DIY holiday to China recently, with the family.  Broadly, this was what we did:


Day 0 - Depart Singapore to Hangzhou (Scoot Airlines), Arr. Hangzhou 2135hrs

Day 1 - Hangzhou, got a driver, tour the city, including West Lake and Ling Yin Temple

Day 2 - Depart from Hangzhou to Wu Zhen (water town), and then transfer to Shanghai Courtyard Marriot near Disneyland

Day 3 - Shanghai Disneyland! (One full day)

Day 4 - Transfer to Shanghai Marriott City Center, Walk to the Bund

Day 5 - Private day tour to SuZhou

Day 6 - Shanghai Free & Easy

Day 7 - Home sweet Home - Shanghai to Singapore on Singapore Airlines


Allow me to share in this thread my holiday.  


We would fly from Singapore to Hangzhou, and we were trying out ScootBiz in Scoot Airlines for the first time.  Scoot is a wholly own subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, and it is their low-cost arm.   When Scoot was first launched, we flew with them to Sydney! That was way back in 2012.  Since then, we have flown on Scoot a few times (including Hong Kong), but this is our first time in ScootBiz.


ScootBiz is Scoot Business Class?
What is ScootBiz? Well, it is NOT the typical Business Class of a full service airline.  It is more akin to Premium Economy.  What attracted us were the seats - full learther with at least 38" of legroom, 22" of width and 6" of recline, with adjustable headrests and legrests.  You also get complimentary meal and drink, but that was less important.

Scoot flies from Terminal 2.  Check-Lines moved quickly.  You had to do self-service check in first, before dropping off your bags.  That's the new trend, self-service.  I didn't see any special check-in line for ScootBiz passengers, so we joined the same queue.


SATS Premier Lounge Terminal 2
After clearing immigration, we headed to the SATS Premier Lounge to chill out for a while and get some food.  Note that ScootBiz does not provide lounge access with the normal ticket.  We used our Priority Pass cards to gain entry.   Here is the entrance of the SATS Premier Lounge, which was opposite the SilverKris lounge at T2.
A video of our lounge experience.  This lounge was voted Asia-Pac lounge of the year, for Priority Pass.  For a Priority Pass lounge, it is decent.  In fact, a good number of airlines use this contract lounge for their Business Class passengers too.  Here are YouTube video links so lounge reviews of  SATS Premier Lounge in Terminal 1and SATS Premier Lounge in Terminal 3.  Below is the video of SATS Premier Terminal 2.
The Lounge in Terminal 2 won the Asia Pacific Lounge of the Year Awards 2017 for Priority Pass. Our credit cards provided us with Priority Pass access to Lounges, which is very nice.  We could bring the entire family in, using my card and my wife's card.
SCOOTBIZ - FlyScoot Singapore to Hangzhou
Flight Number TR 188
Dep: 1635hrs, Arr: 21:35 Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport
No time zone changes

We had wanted to visit Hangzhou and Shanghai.  So it was great that Scoot has a direct flight.  Scoot currently operates the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.  This was our plane at the gate, its nickname was 'Bo Jio'. The 7:30 minute video below details our experience on board ScootBiz, showing you the seats and the meals.  Enjoy!
Food wise, ScootBiz ticket comes with food and drink.  For the food package, you have to order in advance (online, when you book).  I didn't realise that there were different types of meals.  The most 'value-for-money' would be the Premium Meal selection, sample below.  This meal comes with 2 deluxe sides and a drink.  But there was no Nasi Lemak here.  I selected Nasi Lemak and that was packaged with a lower value meal (no ice-cream). So, hot tip, if you want a full meal with Ice-Cream, pick from the Premium Selections! 
Waiting for Luggage - Scoot Crew luggage came out first
Landing into Hangzhou was smooth and we got to the gates quickly.  The immigration clearance was fast.  What took some time was the baggage.  See the video below, for pretty much the entire aircraft passengers waiting at the luggage carousel.  Funny thing - the cabin crew luggage came out first! After we collected our bags, the Customs officials made all passengers put every bag through an X-ray machine, i.e. 100% check.  That caused a line to form, but the overall process was orderly and didn't take too long. The video also shows snippets of the taxi ride, and the room service we had.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Hangzhou City Center, and we ordered room service for supper, as we were tired and hungry.
Room Service - All the Food in the Photo for 177RMB plus 3 drinks (including beer)
That concludes Day 0 - flight to Hangzhou.  
Day 1 - Hangzhou

Today, we would hire a driver to bring us around to see the sights of Hangzhou.  But before that, let me show you the narrow beds in our hotel room.  Our room came with two twin beds, but when we booked on the Holiday Inn IHG website, it room clearly stated two double beds. Oh well.  For the fun of it, I got two "models" to show you the breadth of the twin bed, for laughs!
The day started with a good breakfast at the Holiday Inn Buffet.  Our room rate came with breakfast for two adults.  The buffet supervisor allowed my two kids to eat for free.  Video below shows the good food we had.  Breakfast area wasn't too crowded, which was nice.
Journey to West Lake (Xi Hu)
Our driver picked us up from the lobby, as per the arranged time.  Our ride was in a very comfortable MPV.  There were many skyscrapers in Hangzhou.  It looked to be a developed city.  There was construction outside our hotel - driver told us that they were building new metro/underground lines.
Driver's 7 Year Old Kid Studies All Day
Glad that we could speak some Mandarin, and that allowed us to have interesting conversations with our driver.  We did not book a guide, only driver.  But as you can see and hear from the video below, our driver was more than happy to tell us about China, and his family and other interesting nuggets of life in China!
West Lake, Hangzhou 
First stop, the famous West Lake 西湖!  West Lake (Chinese: 西湖; pinyin: Xī Hú) is a freshwater lake in Hangzhou, China.  There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake. Map of the West Lake in Hangzhou, China Leifeng Pagoda West Lake has influenced poets and painters throughout Chinese history for its natural beauty and historic relics, and it has also been among the most important sources of inspiration for Chinese garden designers. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, described as having "influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries"and reflecting "an idealized fusion between humans and nature". (Source wiki)

Below is the video of our very calm boat ride.  Again, glad that we could understand some Mandarin.  The boatman was most enthusiastic in telling us about Chinese culture and history.  Made for some good story-telling.  The scenic boat (or human powered sampan) ride took 40 minutes and cost 150 RMB.  The boat can take a max of 6 pax, but I think 4 is ideal.  Any more may be a bit of a squeeze.
A picture of another boat going past.  See that the boat is very low and we are very close to the water.  You could play with the water, if you wished.  Don't fall in! (Not sure if there were life jackets, maybe under the seat).
After an calming boat ride, we took a walk around the waterfront.  Even though we only paid for a driver, his service was excellent. He took pains to bring us around the waterfront.  He brought us to see some squirrels, and then a slow walk back to the vehicle.  I noticed all the electric buses and carts.  Saving the environment!
Even the Police Car was an electric one.  Looks like the Chinese authorities were very serious in ensuring clean and fresh air around their famous Lake.  
Next stop was Ling Yin temple.  Will continue in the next post.


↡ Advertisement
  • Praise 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the Electric Chinese Police Car I was talking about earlier.




Next stop, Ling Yin Temple (灵隐寺). 

Lingyin Temple (simplified Chinese: 灵隐寺; traditional Chinese: 靈隱寺; pinyin: Língyǐn Sì) is a Buddhist temple of the Chan sect located north-west of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. The temple's name is commonly literally translated as Temple of the Soul's Retreat. It is one of the largest and wealthiest Buddhist temples in China, and contains numerous pagodas and Buddhist grottoes. The monastery is the largest of several temples in the Wulin Mountains (武林山; Wǔlínshān), which also features a large number of grottos and religious rock carvings, the most famous of which is the Feilai Feng (飞来峰; literally: "the peak that flew hither"). [source: Wikipedia]


We decided not to enter the temple, so we only bought a ticket to view the external areas, which had the famous Buddha carvings into the rock. Check them out in the video above.  And there was the famous Buddha (was he laughing?) carved into the rocks.  One of many, but this particular one is the most famous (I think).  There were some paths for us to walk up to the peak, but we didn't get very far.  In the video, you will see how steep the steps were.  We got up to a pavilion and the adults took a rest.  I sent the kids higher for a look and they reported back that there was nothing to see.  This was also confirmed when I asked some passers-by whether it was worth the climb all the way up.  They said 'no'.




KFC 肯德基 in China

After our climb, it was time for lunch!  We decided to settle with KFC, which was located just opposite the ticket booths.  Got some Rice box as well as KFC Asian-style wrap.  All very good.  Video is below.


Tea Planation
After lunch, we took a leisurely drive by the waterfront and found our way to a tea plantation.  Stopped by the roadside, and got out to take some photos.  Hangzhou is famous for tea.  There was some saying that the poor drink alcohol, but the rich enjoy tea.  Plantation was set against rolling hills.  Neat stuff.  Didn't spend too long here, just for a photo opportunity.


Red Carp Pond
Next stop? A garden that contained the famous Red Carp Pond! This attraction was called View Fish at Flower Harbour, Red Carp Pond of Hangzhou, China. As one of top ten attractions at West Lake, Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor features the flower harbor plus red carps, peony flowers, a big lawn and dense woods. With a total area of 20 hectares (49 acres), it is located on a peninsula between West Inner Lake and South Lake in the southwest part of West Lake, and is sandwiched in between the Yang Causeway and Su Causeway. The history of Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor can be dated to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Back then, the government official Lu Yunsheng built a private garden at the foot of Flower Hill (Huajia Hill). He dug a pond, and raised various fish in it. The garden was first called Lu Garden, and then became known as Flower Harbor. Later, Ma Yuan, a great painter of the Southern Song Dynasty, depicted the scene when he created the Ten Paintings of West Lake. From then on, the beautiful scene has been known as 'Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor'.  This attraction was free of charge.

True to its name, there were plenty of gorgeous carp.  No natural predators here.  Many people feeding the carp.  No wonder some of them are so big and fat.


Silk Shop 

After the garden of the red carp, we would head to the famous pedestrian street. But before that, we did a quick stop at a Silk Shop.  We asked to visit one, it wasn't part of the tour.  Video below. Not cheap!  We didn't stay long.


Qinghefang 清河坊古街 Ancient Street
Our last stop of the day (before dinner) would be Qinghefang Ancient Street 清河坊古街, which is a section of Hefang Street which is located at the northern foot of Wu Shan Hill in Hangzhou. It is just several hundreds meters away from the beautiful West Lake. With an area of 13 hectares (32 acres), the street is the only well-preserved part of the ancient city.

As a miniature of the city's long history, it is the best place to embody the historical and cultural character of Hangzhou. Qinghefang Ancient Street 清河坊古街 has been the most flourished street in the city since the ancient time. During the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279 AD), Qinghefang with lots of shops, restaurants and teahouses was the center of politics, culture and commerce in the city. After so many years, it is still a prosperous business area. Many famous century-old shops are located in this ancient street, such as Wangxingji Fan Store, Zhangxiaoquan Scissors, Wanlong Ham Stack, Huqingyutang Pharmacy, Baohetang Pharmacy, Zhuangyuan House, Wangruixing, Yiyuanjindian, Jingyangguan and Sheep Soup Restaurant among others. It was fun to walk around and take in the sights and sounds!


Dinner at 录茶餐厅
Finally, it was time for dinner.  The driver brought us to a shopping center (which was rather empty) but the restaurants were fairly crowded.  We had dinner at the Green Tea restaurant, or 录茶餐厅.  This was a rather popular place (you can find it reviewed on the internet).  We didn't really know what to order, so we got pretty random stuff.


Heading back to Hotel
It wasn't that late when we finished dinner, but it was time to head back to the hotel to get some rest.  It was a pretty short ride back, and along the way, I asked the driver about all the overhead cameras that were flashing at us everytime his vehicle went past.  He told me matter of factly that those cameras can capture our faces as we drove past, even at night.  Welcome to 21st Century China!


Well, that's the end of our day in Hangzhou.  Good fun, and we saw a lot!  Thanks for following along.  The next day, we check out of the Holiday Inn, and stop by Wu Zhen Water Town before heading to the Courtyard by Marriott near Shanghai Disneyland.  Stay tuned!


  • Praise 2
Link to post
Share on other sites


The most beautiful part of West Lake are not those place that typically visited by tourist.

Is at a edge of the lake with less tourist.

Just share a few photos I took last Dec, very quiet place with few tourist.





Edited by Tohto
  • Praise 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

The most beautiful part of West Lake are not those place that typically visited by tourist.

Is at a edge of the lake with less tourist.

Just share a few photos I took last Dec, very quiet place with few tourist.


Beautiful pictures Tohto, thank you for sharing it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2!  Today, we depart from Hangzhou, towards Shanghai.  On the way, we stop by Wu Zhen 乌镇  water town.  This video shows some breakfast we had at the Holiday Inn Hangzhou City Center.



We would use the same driver from yesterday.  He met us punctually at the agreed time.  It helped that we had WeChat and could communicate with him.  The ride to Wu Zhen took more than an hour, but time flew by as we were playing mobile games on our phones.

Wu Zhen 乌镇

Wuzhen is one of the six famous ancient water towns south of the Yangtze River. It’s within the triangle formed by three top tourist cities: Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. It has charmingly restored architecture and canals. Though some people complain about its commercial atmosphere, restored buildings, and the crowds, the charm and the elegance of this ancient water town is undeniable. We first toured Wu Zhen East.  It was crowded!  Check out the scenes in the video below.


There were many tour groups, of local (Mainland China) tourists. I found the signage below to be funny.  This was called an Ancient Tree of Wu Zhen East District.  But the age is merely 45 years? Maybe that is ancient by Chinese tree standards.  Anyway....



From East to West 乌镇
From the East, we headed to the West. The drive took about 15 minutes.  The Western part was much bigger, with boutique hotels.  People stayed for 1 or 2 nights here.  Before you entered the Water Town proper, you had to go through these gates.  We had bought a combined ticket earlier (when we visited the Wu Zhen East).  A combination of modern and ancient, made this place feel a bit like a theme park.  We used the toilets before we entered.  They were large and clean.  Very good.



Wu Zhen Video
Video of our exploratory walk of 乌镇 Wu Zhen West.  When we entered, I didn't realise that there was a free ferry (human powered) to bring us across to the otherside. We followed the footpath, but that turned out to be a good thing because we got to see the impressive Wu Zhen theatre.  Check that out in the video below.  The video also shows us taking the free ferry on our way out.  It was a purely human powered boat.  Two men using long bamboo sticks to punt.  One more using some type of rudder cum paddle at the rear.


Lunch at KFC
We walked around a bit, but as it was lunch time, and we couldn't find any place to eat that we liked, we decided to cut short our walk (after seeing enough of the place) and get back to the entrance.  Kids wanted lunch, and the safest place to bring them for lunch was KFC.  So we headed back to 乌镇 
East and settled our lunch at a KFC there.


Transfer to Courtyard Marriott Shanghai
The full name was Courtyard Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone.  It is located at the outskirts of Shanghai, about 20 minutes from Pudong International Airport.  The reason for us staying here was Disneyland!  We would be here for 2 nights.  The transfer from Wu Zhen to Courtyard Marriott took about 2 hours.  This time round, all of us took a nap, while our good driver drove us safely to our destination.  The roads were very smooth, and most of the time we were on the highway.  No speeding.  I figured that my driver would get a speeding ticket if he went too fast.  Cameras were everywhere! Elegant sign.  Our check in was very smooth and easy.  The hotel didn't seem full.




Peppa Pig Room
We had a very good laugh when we walked into our "Camping Room". Here is why.  It was hilarious!  We tried fitting into the tent.  Didn't work very well (legs sticking out), but they, it was fun.


A nice touch was that the Mini-Bar in the hotel room was complimentary.  Granted, there wasn't much in there, but still, a nice touch.



What was in the Mini-Bar?  Pepsi, Seven-Up, some nuts and Coconut Juice. Coke, Seven-Up.  The Coconut Juice wasn't the clear type we had in Singapore.  It was milky.  I would call it Coconut milk.



What to eat?
Now we had an issue.  It was close to dinner time.  What to eat?  The immediate vicinity of the hotel did not have anything.  It was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, no shops, no restaurants, no malls.  The hotel itself had a restaurant (or two) but we were sure that the prices would be quite steep, so we didn't even check them out.  The hotel website said that this place was 900M to Shanghai Disneyland, but that is as the bird flies.  Going by vehicle, it was quite far (you had to go up a bridge), and the distance was probably more than 2km.  So we decided to take a taxi.  My wife used her DiDi app to call for a taxi.  Yeah, she's quite amazing, she has all these Chinese apps loaded.


Shanghai DisneyTown
From the taxi stand, it took about 5 minutes to walk to DisneyTown.  Good atmosphere.  Decided to walk around to check out the various eateries.  Found out that they had a BreadTalk which was co-located with ToastBox.  Food Republic, a Singapore Food Court operator, also had a sizable presence there.  Check out the video below.


Dinner at DonDonYa
After a brief walk, we settled with DonDonYa, an eatery selling Japanese inspired food.  They had sets for 65RMB, which looked to be of decent value. So we had 3 sets and then went over to Food Republic to buy some Shanghai Dumplings (takeaway).  We took a taxi (from the official line) back to Courtyard, cost was 20RMB.


This ends Day 2 of our tour. We would have a good rest this evening, and head out to Shanghai Disneyland tomorrow!  Thanks for following along!


Link to post
Share on other sites


Day 3 - Today is Shanghai Disneyland! 

We woke up late.  Ha.  All very tried.  But, that's fine.  We were on holiday, and the whole idea was not meant to rush.  Once up, we made our way to DisneyTown for breakfast.  Our room rate didn't come with breakfast, so we figured it would be more cost effective to head straight to DisneyTown and have breakfast there, before entering the park. BreadTalk and ToastBox opened at 0800hrs.



Picture of the sandwich and laksa.




By the time we entered the park, it was close to 1000hrs. (Ok, as I said, we woke up late). The video below shows you the barricades, and we entered the park!


Download the DISNEY APP and buy your tickets before you arrive.

In case you missed it in the video above, this is what the ticketing booth looked like at close to 1000hrs a park day. COMPLETELY CLOSED.  It wasn't just a reduced ticketing system, it was closed.  I was taken aback.  It looked like that was NO WAY to buy a ticket from the ticketing counters, and I didn't see any self-service machines either!



Bought Our Tickets Months Before
Just how did we get our tickets?  My dear wife (have read all the reviews) had alerted me some months ago that we needed to get our tickets sorted out.  So I downloaded the app and bought our tickets.  I was also reminded that I will need my phone to be fully powered for the entire day, which meant I needed to bring batteries to charge my phone.  I brought two.

You Need Data
Wait a second, for the app to work, you need WiFi or data connection.  Does Shanghai Disney provide?  Not that I was aware. There was no free WIFI.  So, another cruicial tip - make sure you got a good reliable data connection!  I was using data roaming with my Singapore SIM Card, so no issues on that front for me.  Remember, no data, the app won't work either!

See this short video clip below of how the app looks like.  When you buy tickets, you have to give a document number (in our case it would be our passport).  At the entrance gate, the staff asked to see the original document (so you have to bring your passports along).  Once she verified the document against my electronic ticket (on the App), she proceeded to issue 4 paper tickets.  After that, I had to scan the paper tickets issued  using the app, to group them together so that you can get FastPasses via the App!   We had to keep the paper tickets because that is what they used to scan at the entry and exit gates when we left the park (to DisneyTown to get food) and entered again. Sounds confusing?  Yeah, it was slightly so.


FASTPASS Selection
What about Fastpasses?  Get them through the app too.  Once you are in the park and tickets are linked, you can see which Fast Passes are available.  See the screenshot below.  At 1011AM, the first First Pass I could get was for TRON Lightcycle Power Run, to enter between 2:10PM - 3:10PM.  I could only make another FastPass selection at 12:11PM.




Pirates of the Caribbean
Anyway, once in, we consulted the App for wait times, and decided to head towards Pirates of the Caribbean!  Guests can be any height, and the ride was suitable for all ages.  It was a very impressive ride indeed, with great effects, as you ride a boat around.



A picture of the line.  The queues were orderly and there was palpable excitement in the air.  This was Disneyland, after all.



Even though the app said the wait was 40 minutes, it certainly didn't felt that long.  We probably waited around 20 minutes. I left my iPhone 8 Plus running as I enjoyed the ride. Unfortunately, this phone isn't great in such low light conditions, so the video is very dark.  The ride was beautifully done.  Amazing use of technology. But you get an idea.  This ride is definitely worth it.


Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Roller Coaster of sorts)
From pirates, we head to dwarves - the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Fantasyland.  It is supposedly a roller-coaster.  Guests must be 97 cm or taller, so we figured it couldn't be too hard on the stomach. The waiting time was long, but we decided to try the Single Rider method.  We had read about it.  See the sign below, which made clear that you will be seated separately from travelling companions/friends.



SINGLE RIDER LINE - Only Waited 20 Minutes
We ended up waiting only 20 minutes for our turn to ride.  Indeed, we rode separately.  I went the last, and for some strange reason, I had a cart to myself.  (It is 2 person per car).  I was in the very last car. Here is the ENTIRE RIDE filmed with my GoPro.  Thank God I didn't drop the camera.


Disney Castle
After that, we were headed to another ride in the direction of Tron.  Here is a video of us walking towards the castle.


Once Upon a Time Adventure
At the base of the castle, we saw this attraction called 'Once Upon a Time Adventure'.  Since the waiting time wasn't that long, we decided to check it out. According to the website, we are to step through the Magic Mirror portal and enter an enchanted dimension of wonder: Snow White’s fairy-tale world.



Asian Cinderella Singing in Mandarin
It ended up being a walk-through of the Cinderella story, completely in mandarin of course.  Didn't take very long.  What struck me was an Asian (Yellow-Skinned, Chinese) Cinderella singing to a well in Mandarin.  That was cool.  What was she singing?  Based on my limited mandarin, she was asking to meet her Prince Charming.



Edited by Boringchap
Link to post
Share on other sites


Road trip in China.  Shanghai to 台州.

3L V6 with plug in hybrid. Powerful, smooth, comfortable. Friend car. 






Edited by Tohto
  • Praise 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 3/25/2024 at 2:57 PM, Tohto said:

梅花, sakura don't know which is which. 

I thot those were tao hua? Any luck with China meimei in China...or 没花? 😁

Edited by mersaylee
  • Haha! 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 3/25/2024 at 2:57 PM, Tohto said:

梅花, sakura don't know which is which. 

Sakura is 樱花。I think 

Link to post
Share on other sites

On 3/25/2024 at 4:49 PM, Beregond said:

Sakura is 樱花。I think 


  • Praise 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...