“Give me one day, and I will return you a thousand years” is the slogan of the largest theme park - Song Dynasty Town or Songcheng Theme Park, located in Hangzhou - the beautiful capital city of Zhejiang province, China.
Before I share my wonderful experience in Songcheng, let me brief a little about the Song Dynasty (AD 960 - 1279) based on which this theme park was embellished. Song Dynasty is a golden era of Chinese history because of the booming economy and beaming culture during that period. If you search the major achievements of China during Song Dynasty, you will get to know that, the pre-modern economic revolution in China occurred in the era of Song.
Arial View of Song Theme Park
You should make at least a morning to evening plan for Song Dynasty Town because there are a good number of performances and activities which you surely do not want to miss. There are a lot of online sites which give the route plan to Song Dynasty Town. And trust me, the cost is no luxury but minimum. And the admission fee (including the show - The Romance of The Song Dynasty) is CNY 300 for adults but if you want to get a better viewing position to enjoy the show, you will have to pay CNY 480 which is worthy.
There is a big map in the entrance of the park to guide you. And also there are leaflets which have the full map and cursory of the park. Unfortunately, I did not have a whole day in my hand to experience the fullest, so I had to choose my paths cleverly to get the best of it. At first I crossed the Love Bridge which is standing to represent love, friendship and family good will. You can write your wishes for your loved ones in a small wooden board and tie into the bridge railings as a symbol of affection.
Bridge of Love
I was enjoying the beauty of Yangdang mountains from the Love Bridge, when suddenly I saw people gathering to enjoy the small play “Case of Chen Shimei”. Chen Shimei is a Chinese Opera character and also an apothegm of cruel and unfaithful man. The brilliant artists impersonated the cruelty of Chen Shimei, how he deceived his wife and child and sentenced them to death and how Bao Zheng who is remembered for his uprightness during the Song era finally brought justice for Chen Shimei’s wife by killing Chen Shimei.
Case of Chen Shimei
Just after finishing the play, I hurried up towards theater no 1 to finally witness the show for which I was actually anticipating - Romance of the Song Dynasty. This scenic show is considered one of the world’s three most famous shows, together with “O Show” in Las Vegas and the “Moulin Rouge” in Paris. I had a ticket of CNY 300 so it was my bad luck to watch the show from the gallery but not from the very front special moving sits which worth CNY 480 as I mentioned before. This show is mainly an ample act to represent the glorious history and mythological stories of the ancient Hangzhou city through their age old traditional dancing and acrobatics by dint of high technology (of course it’s China so spectacular technical stunts are must!). It was like a fantasy walk from the ancient times of Hangzhou to it’s modern time. I was mesmerized totally and couldn’t resist myself from clapping and wooing the whole time. It was just brilliant!
Romance of the Song Dynasty
It was 6 PM when the show ended. I started to look for some shopping place to buy souvenirs. You will get bunch of small shops around. I find the shops not so cheap so I kept my shopping very limited. My final destination was Dazhangshu Square where they made an artificial volcano mountain. I took a sit in the open wooden gallery to enjoy a show called “Guozhuang (Tibetan Bonfire Dance)“. The masterly performers showed some fireworks along with bonfire dance. Indeed another ingenious show!
Guozhuang (Tibetan Bonfire Dance)
I decided to end my trip here. On my way to the exit, I chose my path through the Wealthy Families Street, Urban Street and Culture Square. I was returning to my hotel with memory full of joy!
China is may be one of those countries where people would probably not consider to make a holiday tour. But once I visited Hangzhou, I felt I would definitely come here again. This city is being developed recently to attract the wanderlust people of the world. If you visit Hangzhou, Songcheng is a must in your checklist. Here is some cheat notes to make your trip plan easy-
Transportation Guide Online:
Opening Hour: **9 AM (7 Days) **Food: There are small food corners with local recipes. For Muslims who prefer Halal food, it is better to pack your food on your own as you may not get a Halal food shop inside. Other performances you must not miss: **Haunted House, Mysterious Street, Reproducing Area of **‘Along the River during the Qingming Festival’.
See you soon with my story at “Hengdian World Studios” - the largest film studio in the world, in Part 2. Zài jiàn!