Pack up your gear and take a sojourn to the picturesque mountain for 48 hours as Shanghai Daily provides a detailed plan.
Catch a morning high-speed train from Shanghai to Deqing County in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province. Two direct trains commute daily. If you find the departure times inconvenient, simply take a train to Hangzhou, as there are many every day and it takes only 15 minutes to get to Deqing from Hangzhou.
Stop by Tongguan Mountain for lunch before heading all the way to the summer retreat of Mogan Mountain. Home to rich copper mines some 2,000 years ago, the homey mountain used to be called Wukang. That may ring a bell, as the phoenix tree-lined Shanghai alley where the bustling Ferguson Lane nestles is named after the mountain and the town at its foot. Local produce such as bamboo shoots, chicken and lamb dominate the menu at Tongguan Manor in town. Check out its celadon workshop after a hearty meal. Deqing has a profound history of celadon making — widely deemed as the very beginning of celadon ware in China — that can be dated to around 1560 BC. Try your hands making a celadon ware with the help of local craftsmen.
Embrace the boundless sea of green at Mogan Mountain. With an average temperature of around 24 degrees Celsius in July and August, the mountain has always been the favorite summer haunt for Shanghainese. Covered with lush bamboo and crystalline mountain springs and falls, Mogan rose to fame because of the swordsmith couple — Gan Jiang and his wife, Mo Ye. They were said to forge the two legendary fraternal swords, named Gan Jiang and Mo Ye after the couple, some 2,500 years ago at the mountain, which boasts abundant copper. Gan Jiang died under the smaller sword he forged when he presented it to the king, who ordered the killing to make sure he owned the one and only invincible sword in the world. The larger sword was hidden in the mountain with Mo Ye, pregnant with their son who later managed to wreak vengeance.
To memorialize the couple, the locals named the mountain Mogan. Today, the water pool and grindstone said to cool and sharpen the swords remains. Follow the sound until you spot the signature staircase waterfall. Don’t be fooled and think the blooming lotuses are the only attraction at Dicui Pool, where a huge Chinese character ´ä (cui, jade green), about 10 meters high, is inscribed into the cliff. The trick is in the calm water, where the engraved word miraculously appears in a kind of embossed reflection.
A big draw of Mogan Mountain is its various villas that almost make the mountain an open-space museum featuring contemporary architecture. European merchants and American missionaries stamped the hideaway with an exotic vibe, such as Gothic buildings with typical spires and villas resembling the art nouveau buildings prevailing in Riga, Latvia. Though many are deserted, more than 200 are still intact. In the Wulingcun area stands the villa where Chiang Kai-shek and Soong May-ling spent their honeymoon in 1927. The Empress Hotel, where Mao Zedong and other military generals once stayed, is still open to the public. Hideout villas once owned by Du Yuesheng and Zhang Xiaolin, notorious mob kingpins in old-time Shanghai, are now resort hotels.
Rest your feet at The Lodge on Yinshan Street and enjoy a cup of coffee. An Englishman opened the lodge overlooking the street in 2005, and it attracts throngs of travelers and backpackers for a break or a casual chat. The 300-meter Yinshan Street has sort of a downtown feel, lined with stores, restaurants, cafés, banks, a post office and church. Once described as “the fair on heaven” by Chinese poet Guo Moruo, the street has always been the trade and entertainment hub for the locals. Though some of the mountain caves were flattened to give way for a parking lot, the street still has an atmosphere reminiscent of the old days.