My Photographs: Top 5 Ling Shang Restaurant Village – Yongjia County, China.

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Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. Having spent the afternoon hiking around the wonderful Yongjia Shu Yuan National Park, I had naturally built up quite an appetite. I could have just gone to a local hole-in-the-wall and filled up on cheerful cheapness. But then I’d have been missing out on this wondrous four hundred year old restaurant village, seemingly engraved into the side of a mountain overlooking a babbling brook.

Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. The village is located deep in the heart of rural Zhejiang province and is not easy to reach via public transport. Ideally you’ll need your own set of wheels and some serious GPS assistance, but in the end all your efforts will be worth it. Home to around fifty families, this huddled collection of traditional homes is framed by gorgeous green mountains. And the air is invigoratingly fresh, with many in Zhejiang province referring to it as “the natural oxygen bar”.

Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. All the families here own either a restaurant, teahouse or guesthouse, so you can just wander the streets and choose a place that catches your eye. This woman runs a spice and herb market directly outside her restaurant. Of course she tried to cajole me inside, but I was holding out for a joint with balcony views.

Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. The village is particularly famed for its goat and lamb dishes. A whole lamb like this one goes for around 400RMB (£45/€50/$60). The smell was incredible and for a second I was actually tempted, but couldn’t justify such an ostentatious splurge.

Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. In the end I settled down in a corner restaurant with a large balcony terrace. Dinner was great too, a proper feast with fried stir-fried eggplant, herb Omelette and mixed rice noodles augmented by chunks of juicy pork. Damn good!

My Photographs: Top 5 Shu Yuan National Park – Yongjia County, China.

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Yongjia Shu Yuan National Park, November 2017. With winter finally starting to hit the southeast of China, I instinctively felt my annual hibernation period calling me after a busy few months of travel. Resolving to squeeze in one final trip before scuttling off to my man cave; I headed off to Yongjia County, a rural region in Zhejiang Province just fifteen kilometers north of the monster city Wenzhou. My first stop was this pretty national park, named after a famous Song Dynasty school.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Nanpuxi Scenic Park – Taishun County, China.

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Nanpuxi Scenic Park, November 2017. I’d started to get a little concerned that we weren’t even going to find the park. The GPS was going crazy as we tackled turn after hairpin turn on the narrow mountain road. But we needn’t have worried, because in the end the road simply stopped altogether right at the edge of the park. The trail begins outside this amazing structure, which is actually just someone’s home. An old couple sat on opposite ends of the massive porch; he sittin’ doin’ nothin, she peeling potatoes.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Nanpuxi Reservoir – Taishun County, China.

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Nanpuxi Reservoir, November 2017. “Wow!” I exclaimed suddenly, as our little smart car turned a corner onto a narrow stone bridge. We’d been driving through the heart of Taishun County on the way to Nanpuxi Scenic Park when this majestic reservoir came into view. Needless to say we got out to have a look!

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My Photographs: Top 5 Wenxing Bridge – Taishun County, China.

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Wenxing Bridge, November 2017. The last of the six bridges I saw during my adventures around Taishun County was perhaps my favorite of them all! Located deep in the arse end of nowhere on the edge of Xiaochun Village, my travel buddy and I had inadvertently stumbled upon both Wenchong and Wenhong bridges while in the process of tracking it down. But then we finally found it, perched above Yu Stream, surrounded by gorgeous autumnal farmland.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Wenchong Bridge – Taishun County, China.

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Wenchong Bridge, November 2017. There are said to be around seven hundred covered wooden bridges scattered around Taishun County. But not all of them are as ancient or stunningly beautiful as Xi Dong and Beijian bridges. We were driving from Sixi Town to Xiaochun Village looking for the highly recommended Wenxing Bridge when we stumbled upon this modest structure, visible from the main road.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Bao Family Ancestral Hall – Taishun County, China.

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Bao Family Ancestral Hall, November 2017. “There should be a temple or something down here!” said Amy, her finger running across the little map we’d picked up from the hotel. We’d just finished checking out Nanyang Bridge on the outskirts of Sixi Town and hadn’t realized there was something else of note nearby. Hidden away from the main road down a wild country trail, we initially thought it was closed when we saw the padlocked gate.  

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