Ninghai hikes and hot springs

Many travel companies offer weekend getaways from Shanghai, but they often involve a very intense itinerary, with overnight trains and a rushed sightseeing tour. However one advertised trip to Ninghai appealed to me with a combination of hiking and hot springs!

I left on Friday night after work and joined the tour group on a mini bus from Shanghai to Ninghai, a four hour journey. Of the 14 people on the tour, only two were men and one was the tour guide!

We got in quite late to the guesthouse and immediately crashed into bed, ready to wake up bright and early for our hike the next morning. We headed to the Ninghai trail which extends for about 100km through mountains – however we would only tackle a 12km stretch. Unfortunately the day started off quite foggy and cool, with a few drops of rain as we started trudging uphill. It was a fairly steep climb for the first hour until we reach the peak which supposedly had an excellent panoramic view. If only we could have seen it!

Thankfully after lunch, it cleared up and it was a much easier walk gradually downhill through different areas of trees, farmland, and tea plantations.

Tea plants

After our day of hiking, we had a well deserved rest at the guesthouse and an amazing array of seafood dishes for dinner. This was followed by an epic karaoke session back at the guesthouse (I purely observed!).

The next day we packed up and headed to a spa resort nearby to spend a thoroughly relaxing day exploring the many different types of hot springs on offer. Some had rose petals, others were infused with tea and there was even a foot spa with fish that nibbled off the dead skin. My feet being as ticklish as they are, I couldn’t handle more than about 15 seconds of the experience! Fish torture aside, it was a delightful day and a nice way to unwind and chat with the members of the tour group.

After spending the day in nice warm water, everyone was fairly sleepy on the bus ride home. It was a great weekend escape, and we were back in Shanghai by dinnertime!

More photos on Flickr here

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