10.05.2008 - 10.05.2008 -17 °C
I had heard of the Orchid Pavilion, which is in Shaoxing, but had been unable to find out where it was, or how I would get there. Eventually I found a student, S, who was able to take me. She did some research to find out how to get there, as she had never been before. We caught a bus in to the city centre from the college – and made our way to a bus stop near the City Square, on Shengli Lu (Shengli Road) to catch Bus No 3, or 303 to Lanting.
The bus travels through very interesting scenery – old China and new developments reveal themselves along the journey which costs 3 Yuan.
The journey takes about 25 minutes, and if you tell the bus driver/conductor that you want to go to Lanting/Orchid Pavilion they will tell you. You will find that many passengers on the bus are keen to help Westerners too.
The entry fee is 40 Yuan per person, and you will find the Ticket office easy to find. There is Chinese and English information throughout the park – giving explanation of the historic value of this magnificent place. There are several small concessions to purchase items of calligraphy – and you can watch artists at work.
The site commemorates an event in the year 353 when 42 people met to write poetry and enjoy life. It is said that they drank wine, and sitting along the little creek, and as their cups of wine floated in the water of the creek, the men sat on stones and created poetry which was written in calligraphy.
Apparently if a cup of wine came near one of the men, he was required to pick up the cup, drink the wine and create a poem. It is said that 26 of the men created 37 poems at that time.
The park itself is beautiful with temples, a river, several pavilions, beautiful bamboo groves, the Calligraphy Museum, several ponds, including the Goose Pond where a small flock of white geese guard their territory.
The park is well signposted, and many tourists visit. On the way out, a beautiful old village with shops beg the visitor to purchase souvenirs or food.
Allow 3 – 4 hours to see this park.
Bus No 3, or 303 travels back to Shaoxing on a regular basis from the bus stop opposite the entry.