In this blog post, I will share with you 3 more places that I went during this media trip to Wuxi, kindly sponsored by Tigerair. Of such, this concludes the 4 places in Wuxi that I have been. My previous entry about my visit to the Mount Lingshan Scenic Spot while I was in Wuxi, China, can be read by clicking [THIS LINK].
** WHERE TO GO IN WUXI, CHINA **
(1) Mount Lingshan Scenic Spot
As mentioned, you can view it in my previous post, where it has been documented with photos and information. Click [HERE] to read.
(2) Taihu Yuantouzhu Scenic Park (太湖鼋头渚风景区)
Wuxi has been long regarded as the “Pearl of Lake Taihu”, and it is named so as this is where one can enjoy the most mesmerizing view of Lake Taihu (second largest freshwater lake in China) among the several provinces that surround it.
Map of cities around Lake Taihu
Source: Google Map
The best viewpoint that you can get of Lake Taihu in Wuxi is at the Yuantouzhu Scenic Park. The land of this small peninsular/island is surrounded by clear water on three sides amidst the green hills. It is also known as “Turtle Head Isle” as the island looks like the head of a giant Asian softshell turtle stretching out of the water.
Check out the map below to get an idea of the turtle-shaped island
Established as a park in 1916, the Yuantouzhu Scenic Park celebrates its 100th birthday this year. But before that, Yuantouzhu was well-admired by the emperors, ministers, scholars, poets, painters and generals who had set foot on its ground.
The lyrics to a Japanese song (1986) which describes the charm and beauty of Wuxi is carved at the back of this stone, in the photo below. The famed poet and songwriter fell in love with the picturesque Wuxi and wrote a song. Title of the song in Chinese is "无锡旅情". Go search it on Youtube. :)
The park is known for its poetic atmosphere due to the presence of the lake and mountains surrounding it. The wondrous beauty of Mother Nature’s works can be admired here throughout the year – From the tens of thousands of blooming cherry blossom trees during spring to the frosted and snow-covered tree branches and leaves during winter. Our guide mentioned that almost every dynasty would have had its famous poets praising the island’s remarkable beauty in their poems.
Looking towards Lake Taihu
Pavilion by the Lake Taihu
An ancient building converted to a modern-day teahouse.
Visitors can have tea right in the middle of the tranquil park.
Have a Cherry Blossom Experience at Yuantouzhu Scenic Park
Cross the Ever-Spring Bridge, just by the scenic Lake Taihu bank.
It has been much debated that Wuxi gardens are all designed to emphasise on the natural beauty landscape, unlike the Chinese gardens in Suzhou which were mainly to create an artificial environment from the real world. And indeed, from the way that the pavilions, buildings, pagodas, small temples, bridges and small ponds in this peninsular were designed and built, it was apparent of the purpose behind the design.
A historic building with a small pond infront
Spotted a young girl playing the Chinese flute
This used to be someone's house many centuries ago.
Now this is a teahouse / restaurant.
Approached a stranger to take this shot of me.
-Modern me in an old setting-
Mythical animal (Dragon head, turtle body)
Reminds me of Singapore's very own Merlion (Lion head, mermaid/fish body)
Naturally-shaped limestone rock due to the long surging of water, and features pores and holes in them. This type of stone is very popular in Chinese classical gardens.
Sea-eroded rocks with 'bullet-hole' surfaces
Visitors posing for photos on the eroded large rocks
A tourist posing for the camera on a stone rock perched between two towering rock pillars.
(Reminds me of the Kjeragbolten Boulder in Norway, that I would love to take a photo on it one day!)
A restored historic Chinese fishing junk boat with seven masts
Once used as fishing boats, these seven-masted junk boats
are now displayed for tourism purpose.
These boats will be kept before night falls.
are now displayed for tourism purpose.
These boats will be kept before night falls.
A tourist taking photo of the fishing boat,
right in front of the port gate.
If you are for it, there are ferries and speedboat
services to the nearby isles.
To finish walking the whole area, you will probably need half a day to do so. For myself, our guide brought us to walk the west coast of the island, which overlooks the Lake Taihu into nothingness beyond. We were there for about 2 hours. Last entry to the park is just before dusk. However, one can stay in the park even at night. But why would you, when it would be pitch black. Head on to one of the old towns of Wuxi and experience dining and shopping in the city instead! ;)
(3) Wuxi Studios
For a more modern touch to your travel trip, visit the Wuxi Studios, which houses a special effects studio, wax museum, real film-making studio sets and houses a restaurant as well. I got to sit on a flying dragon who transported me around the vallet (it's a green screen actually), take photos with celebrities, walking around the filming set of a famous China drama and movie, and eat in a restaurant serving local cuisines for lunch, famished after walking around Wuxi Studios
Self-portrait at Wuxi Studios entrance
Not sure if it was because it was a Monday or that it was early (10am), but there were not many people even til noon time.
So you won't need to worry that there will be people getting into frame when you are taking your photos.
Our tour guide getting tickets for us.
Charlie Chaplin and Me!
My first destination at the Wuxi Studios was to check out the special effects studio. Here, I got to watch a video of how the movie 'Titanic' was filmed using special effects. There was a mini mock-up of the ship which further detailed the whole setup. As mentioned above, I rode on a flying dragon but it was actually done on a green screen. I saw my group walked through a magical forest with flowing waterfalls (it was all a green screen setup).
Walking up two flights of stairs, brought me to the PinLa Star Wax Model Producing Pavilion. Despite living in Singapore and London, and travelled to HK umpteen times (for work and personal), I have never stepped into the Madame Tussauds wax museum before. So you could imagine the amount of fun I had while I was here!
There are several showrooms and you start from the entrance and follow the continuous passage ways that had all the wax figures being displayed, until you reach the other end of the hall. First showroom displayed prominent political figures. If it was not for the US flag, I wouldn't have been able to figure out that it was the current US President - Barack Obama.
Allow me to digress abit --- Barack Obama will be ending his two-term presidency in less than a year. One can only know the great changes he has done over this period of time as America's 44th President. Oh, and the only black President in US history so far. This is probably the closest I can get to him while he's still serving as the US President. :p
Barack Obama and Me. #WinningShot
Two of my favorite stars...
Lady Zaza loves Lady Gaga...
A self-portrait shot with the recently-retired Kobe Bryant.
When I saw the display of Kobe, I knew that I had to be in the same court and him, striking a pose for a photo opportunity. (If only if it's real, right?) Kobe Bryant, also known as the Black Mamba, played his 20th and final season in April 2016. He scored 60 points in his last game. He does live to his nickname indeed!
So after 'playing a game' with Kobe Bryant (in my imagination), I stopped by tea with Holly, in the Breakfast at Tiffany's movie set. [As mentioned in
my Instagram] : Just after she placed her teacup down which she took a sip from, Holly rested both of her elbows on the table, looked into my eyes and said, "You can't give your heart to a wild thing, Feliza. The more you do, the stronger they get, until they are strong enough to run into the woods or fly into a tree". Holly, as acted by Audrey Hepburn, was portrayed as a lady with elegance and great dressing style. But do you know that Holly was like the American version of a geisha? That's why it's "$50 for the powder room". It was not possible that a $50 tip was for the attendant since a monthly home rental would have cost about $100 in those days.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Have you watched the recently-released "Captain America: Civil War" movie already?
Anyway, guess which side I am on?
All in a day's work... Training with Donnie Yen for our roles in Ip Man, that's all.
Only the lucky few get to see my wingchun moves on video. LOL!!!
There were many other film, sports, music, political celebrities, from the Western and Asian region. Some of the figures seemed to be the younger version of them (like Jackie Chan and Chow Yut Fatt), if I were to put it in a nicer way. During my visit, I learnt that the technology that they used to make these wax figures is different from the one that world-famous Madame Tussuad team uses. Apparently at PinLa, the Chinese team uses 3D printing technology and polymeric powder material to make these wax figures, with the whole process taking about 2~3 months, and at a lower cost too. If you want your own wax figure, PinLa can create a mini version for about 3000~4000 RMB.
Next, it was to visit actual film sets at Wuxi Studios. One of the fastest-growing studio sets in China, many film-making companies rent the studio space to film. The 3 current sets on display which I visited were the actual sets done up for filming of some Chinese drama and movie shows. You may recognise some of the scenes. But it is interesting to know that many American movies were shot and produced at Wuxi Studios... Such as Captain America, Gone with the Bullets and Transformer 4.
The film set area
Exploring the movie set of 'The Monkey King 2' movie in 3D
The man-eating sand demon
A la Lara Croft in the "Tomb Raider" movie, asian style~
I had the chance to explore the set of the famous TV drama "The Empress of China (武媚娘传奇). This drama series was realllllly popular when it was aired on television. Fan Bing Bing acted as the Wu Mei Niang (武媚娘), the only Female emperor in Chinese history. Her character rose from being the Palace concubine to Empress and finally to Emperor. There was even an app to 'stamp' the red flower mark on one's forehead, as seen on her character.
Lunch at the restaurant in Wuxi Studios
(4) Nanchang Street
Wuxi is now one of the most advanced and prosperous city in China. High-rise modern skyscrapers are aplenty, paired with neon or electronic billboard screens. If you are looking to 'time travel' to the olden days of China. venture to the ancient Nanchang Street, which has retained its authentic design and building structure.
The 1.6km Nanchang Street sits by the bank of the Grand Canal, which is termed as the longest canal in the world... And yes, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Grand Canal goes through a few cities before connecting to the Yangtze River and Yellow River. Built more than 3000 years ago, the Grand Canal is China's frst man-made canal.
Take a boat ride along the Grand Canal, just like how the locals did in the olden days, whereby they travelled mainly via small boats through the narrow winding waterways. Alternatively, there is the horse carriage and tram rides that you can sit on as well. The best way to explore Nanchang Street is by walking, as what I did.
Several dessert stores, including one that is very much 100% Singapore-inspired!
Restaurants and retail stored lined along Nanchang Street
The interior of the Blan Bunny tea shop
Got myself a box of flower tea leaves!
BBQ food and duck blood soup
for supper back in the hotel room! :)
To conclude, the 4 places to visit in Wuxi are:
(1) Mount Lingshan Grand Buddha Scenic Spot
(2) Taihu Yuantouzhu Scenic Park
(3) Wuxi Studios
(4) Nanchang Street
This mark the end of my Wuxi travelogue of the media trip, courtesy of Tigerair. The next section will see me exploring a few places in the neighbouring Suzhou city. Since 28 April 2016, Tigerair has began its direct flight route from Singapore to Wuxi. Book your tickets at www.tigerair.com now.