Four Seasons of Moganshan

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Living and working away from our home country gives us a unique opportunity to see and experience new places. With our limited time we thought it would be wise to try and visit a new and different place every chance we get. But when you find a place that etches a place in your heart you have no choice but to return, and return again, and again. For us, while living in Shanghai, that place is Moganshan.

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Moganshan or 莫干山 which translates to Mount Mogan is in the Deqing county of Shanghai’s neighbouring province, Zhejiang. Endless hills, resplendent with bamboo, is just 200 kms from Shanghai. We first ‘discovered’ this gem in 2017, desperate for a city break and a walk in nature, armed with extensive online research and hungry for fresh air.

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It was my online searches that led me to Moganshan Solvang Village, a guesthouse in the Dazaowu village in the Moganshan area. The guesthouse is the last as you make your way higher up into the mountains and is tranquility at its finest. Our first visit was during Autumn and the guesthouse itself, the management and staff brought all the warmth and light while rain gently poured outside.

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We arrived quite late at night, using the speed train from Shanghai to Deqing and then a car, arranged by the guesthouse, from the station. The driver, a local from the nearest village, is well experienced on the windy roads and we reached safely and comfortably. We enjoyed tea and freshly prepared springrolls and spent some time chatting to the manager, Yan, before retiring to our luxurious, yet homely room. There’s just something so arresting about going to sleep in quiet and darkness and waking up to an astonishing natural display:

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The sights and sounds and smells of the city are a distant memory when you’re surrounded by lush greens and wilderness.

There isn’t much to do except walk, hike, bike and enjoy the surrounds.


We were told during our visit that it’s harvest season and the workers were preparing the bamboo.

We were told during our visit that it’s harvest season and the workers were preparing the bamboo.

Our time there passed in a breath. During the train journey back to Shanghai we were already dreaming about a return.

And so we did! This time, in winter.

Shanghai is icy cold during the winter months and we braced ourselves for frigid and frosty temperatures in the mountains. Little did we know we’d be in for a snowy delight.

We arrived, again, late at night after the train and car ride. The air was crisp but we welcomed the freshness. And with the guesthouse’s fireplace crackling we had no complaints. A little while after lunch, we noticed the bits of fluff falling from the sky. Could it be? Growing up in South Africa and living in Shanghai we’re not experts and had no way of anticipating the beauty we were about to behold.

The Bear was outside, catching small feather-like drops getting excited about the footprints he was able to mark.

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Exhilarating! And yet, it was only the beginning. We woke up with a new understanding and appreciation of the overused term: Winter Wonderland

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We weren’t the only people rejoicing that day. While snow is common in the northern parts of the country Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui rarely enjoy the powdery, fluff. In fact, some reported that this fall in the region was the first in a decade. The snow outside our room door was easily 15cm deep. What a privilege to have bared witness. And the reason we took the trip was to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Bliss! We didn’t imagine we’d be celebrating while building a snowman and having snowball fights.


Moganshan Solvang Village undeniably became a very special place for us. The management, Yan and Zoe and all of the staff, nay, family, at Solvang make every stay memorable. And when we do visit and meet other guests, it’s usually their third or fourth time as well.

We were fortunate to visit again for a Christmas break and again in the spring time and again were treated to natural beauty, forest and mountain walks and even a waterfall or three.

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And what would a family style guesthouse be if they didn’t let you bring your furriest family member along for the fun.


And he loved it as much as we did! We’re not able to use the speed train anymore but the guesthouse arranges a car to drive us from Shanghai. With the journey under 3 hours we’ll definitely return.

Do you have a favourite spot? Perhaps your family camps at the same sea-side resort every summer, or you and your friends do an annual trip to your favourite hiking trails or you celebrate your birthday in a place you love. Whatever it is or wherever it may be we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Until then,


5 thoughts on “Four Seasons of Moganshan”

  1. Thanks for sharing your travels and adventures with us. It will be great if you can share sort of maps as to where these little paradises are. Pics are amazing and commentary and stories creates an excitement to see more.

  2. Thank you for the feedback Jehiel, such a good note. We considered including a map the way we did in the Going Up and High 5ive posts but cut it at the last minute. Will be sure to put it back.

  3. What wonderful photos and reading! It looks lovely there. I hope I get the chance to visit Moganshan one day before you leave. Hoping not to lose hope! Keep the stories and photos coming, please.
    Huge fan of Wandering Feet

  4. Esther Blignaudt

    This place is beautiful. I would also want to go back again and again looking at the pictures here. I do love greenery. The place reminds me of Tsitsikama in the Wilderness where we spent a week with our 50th Wedding Anniversary.
    Moganshan is inviting me to come spend a few days when we visit you guys next time.
    Keep on wandering. Just lead the way.

  5. awwww these snowy pictures make me want to go there over Christmas time too. We actually decided last night that we need a break after lockdown, studies, moving and my surgery, and we will go to Solvang next week for a few days. I cannot wait! And the best part, of course, is that we can take Brian with us.

    Love from meandering hands x

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