WITH the official opening yesterday of the Jinshan Railway that directly links the suburban district with downtown Shanghai, scenic Jinshan District in the city's southwest by Hangzhou Bay is gearing up to welcome visitors during the National Day holiday golden week.
Jinshan Tourism Festival began last week and will run until the end of the holiday. It is also part of the Shanghai International Tourism Festival.
The three-week event includes a wide variety of programs and shows displaying the unique water town landscape, culture and folk arts of the old parts of the district, as well as showcasing local delicacies.
Jinshanzui Village located by Hangzhou Bay is Shanghai's earliest but also last working fishing village.
A seafood festival that started in July is now in full swing as the autumn arrives with a bounty of fresh produce from the sea.
In October, sea eels and sauries swimming in the Yangtze River are the best seasonal dish. From November through to the end of the year, it's time for blue crabs.
Seafood lovers can gorge on just-netted crabs, clams, white shrimps, little yellow croakers and seaweed.
After a hearty seafood meal, tourists can visit a local fisherman's house, preserved as it was 100 years ago. Tiptoeing on the creaky old wooden floors, visitors can see the vintage fittings and furniture, such as the clay oven, beautifully-carved king-sized bed and old-fashioned hardwood ba xian zhuo - a square table for eight people.
Nearby is an exhibition hall that showcases an array of old fishing equipment, including a mini-dam built with 100-year-old bricks, fishing nets, bamboo shuttles and looms to knit nets, various kinds of knives and fishing rods. A highlight is an old fishing boat, assembled from parts of different old boats.
In addition, a music and fireworks festival will be held on Jinshan City Beach in the evenings during the National Day holiday, decorating the velvet night sky of the Hangzhou Bay.
By car: Take the G50 or S4 highway. Take G15 (toward Ningbo). Get off at Tingwei Road and then drive south to Huhang Road. The beach is at the end of the road.
By bus: Take Metro Line 1 to Jinjiang Park; walk a minute, then take Bus Line Shimei (from the Meilong Bus Station to the Shihua Bus Station); then take Bus Line Xiwei to Jinshanzui; walk three minutes to the beach.
By train: With the Jinshan Railway now open, visitors have one more option for getting to Jinshan. Get on the train at the Shanghai South Railway Station and get off at Jinshanwei Station, where you can rent a bike and cycle for about five minutes to the beach.
During the golden holiday, the town will launch a barbecue festival, which runs from tomorrow to October 6.
Visitors can enjoy various barbecues but also take part in a wide range of fun games, such as playing ping pong on an old clay oven, golf in the fields, "angry pigs" racing and a beer drinking contest, as well as a competition to be the quickest squeezing the most juice from tian lu zhe, a local crop similar to sugar cane.
The town's central stage will present live shows from tomorrow through to October 7. Artists from the Shanghai Opera will give performances, including Yue (Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province) Opera, Hu (Shanghai) Opera and Dujiaoxi (a kind of Shanghai local comedy) on October 2, 4 and 6.
Local Langxia comedy "The Wedding of Yao's Family" will be staged on October 1, 3, 5 and 7. Audience members are encouraged to take a role as a guest performer alongside the actors.
After the National Day holiday, performances will continue and be given free every weekend.
Visitors also have the chance to learn how to make Langxia local snacks such as lianxiang cake and meimao dumplings, which get their name from their eyebrow shape. Tourists can try village games such as herding ducks, racing while carrying soy sauce in a shallow bowl and throwing sickles, among others.
Local farmers are happy to teach their city students how to model dough, try some fancy footwork in a local dance which involves a long stick with a bell at one end and express their artistic side in the famed Jinshan farmers' painting style.
And if you reckon you've got what it takes for the catwalk, there's a fashion show featuring local homespun clothes.
The scenic town is well known for its fruits and vegetables. Autumn is the season for kiwi fruit and red persimmon. Visitors can even sample a special pear, which looks like a pear but tastes like a crisp apple.
While peaches are not an autumn fruit, thanks to the efforts of the local agriculture experts, they are harvested in Langxia. The white-skinned peach is especially sweet.
Langxia Town is also famous for its home-style bistros opened by local farmers. Dishes on offer evoke childhood memories for many Shanghai people - favorites on offer include braised pork in thick soy sauce, fried vegetable rice cooked in a clay oven and additive-free lianxiang cake.
As a further enticement to visitors, all scenic spots in Langxiang Town are offering half-price admission during the holiday.
By car: Take G60 Highway onto G15. Get off at the exit for Jinshan New City. Turn left to Songwei Road S. Turn left to Caolang Road and the town is ahead.
By bus: Take Bus Line Lianlang (Lianhua Road to Langxia Town) at the Lianhua Road Station of Metro Line 1. It takes about 70 minutes to the town.
Donglin located in Zhujing Town this year became Shanghai's first Buddhist temple to receive a 4A national standard rating.
During the holiday, the temple will be illuminated by thousands of lights and lanterns on the rockeries, around the ponds, along the cobble paths and on each corridor. When seen from a distance at night, the temple itself appears to be shining and flickering, surrounded by a halo of serenity.
The 1,200-square-meter Guanyin Pavilion is said to be the biggest in Asia. Within it stands the golden, thousand-hand Guanyin, the bodhisattva associated with compassion. She is 27 meters high with a 2-meter-high lotus base, and arms reaching 5 meters almost to the ceiling. It is said to be the world's biggest indoor Guanyin statue.
The temple is also holding a week-long vegetarian food festival.
Address: 150 Donglin Street, Zhujing Town
Located in the southwestern tip of the city, the water town boasts a history of more than 1,500 years. Local farmers drink homemade yellow rice wine, wear homespun cloth, paint pictures on clay oven, make paper-cuttings to decorate windows and lanterns for festivals.
Various activities and games are scheduled for the National Holiday.
From October 1 to 6 at 10am and 2pm, adult visitors with a healthy constitution can take part in a yellow rice wine tasting contest. Participants are required to taste different kinds of rice wine and the winners will receive special gifts.
On the same dates at 10am on the town's central Wuyue Square, there will be a fruit eating competition. Contestants are required to peel, eat and carve various fruits within a limited time. The winners receive free admission to all of the town's scenic spots.
During the golden week, traditional Chinese weddings will be held in Fengjing. Newlyweds wearing elaborate red wedding gowns and robes will parade through the town, the groom on horseback and the bride in a carriage, and take a cruise on the town's rivers.
Visitors are encouraged to take part in the weddings and experience traditional Chinese wedding rituals such as bai tian di (formal bows by bride and groom to their parents in the old custom) and nao dong fang (horseplay by the couple's friends in the bridal room).
The matchmaker will distribute candies among visitors and the lucky one who catches the silk ball thrown by the bride will also receive a special gift.
In Fengjing, adults can also relive childhood memories through various games, including spinning tops, hoop rolling, paper-fold planes, rubber band skipping and hunt-the-thimble.
Known as the birthplace of the Jinshan farmers' painting, the painting village in Fengjing Old Town will display an array of paintings created by farmer artists from Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.
Farmer and painter Huai Mingfu recently finished a major piece. The painting "Golden Week in Jinshan," 18 meters long and 0.8 meters wide, depicts 1,095 human figures, 420 animals and numerous plants and buildings, which presents a prosperous Jinshan in bold bright colors.
Visitors to Fengjing can get a town passport. If they can collect all the stamps of the water town's 11 scenic spots - such as the former residence of the artist Cheng Shifa and the old East Region Fire Station, they receive a gift.
In addition, visitors can take a bite of authentic Jinshan snacks such as egg cake, flat-pan fried buns and shao mai - a kind of dumplings made of sticky rice and pork.
By car: Shanghai-Hangzhou Highway (A8 section). Get off at Fengjing Exit. Drive according to the board for two minutes, you will see the town's parking lot.
By bus: Take Metro Line 1 and get off at Jinjiang Park Station. Take the shuttle Bus Line Fengmei (Fengjing - Meilong) at the transit hub by the metro station. It takes about 45 minutes to the town.
In addition, there are frequent shuttle buses to Fengjing every day from Shanghai Stadium and Hongkou Football Stadium.
Lantern making has a 1,000-year-old history in Zhujing Town. The town is holding its first Handmade Lantern Festival on October 19 at Zijin Square, where visitors can enjoy a sea of lanterns in different shapes, sizes and colors that will light up the town's night sky.
In addition, the old town is hosting an art exhibition of traditional Chinese ink painting and calligraphy until October 12 at Jinshan Cultural Center, which showcases around 70 award-winning art pieces.
The most convenient way to get to the town is to take the Bus Line Lianzhu (Lianhua Road to Zhujing) at the Lianhua Road Station of Metro Line One. It takes about one hour.