With Sharon as my very capable guide, I was able to fulfill my longtime goal of visiting the source of Lung Ching or Dragonwell tea. She and her driver provided me with exceptional service as we toured the gardens around West Lake, boated across the lake, visited the tea information center, the National Tea Museum and the legendary Dragon Well. The day began at 9:30 and I was delivered back to my hotel at 4:30. I highly recommend this experience for anyone who has an interest in Chinese tea.
Thank you Nancy for the tour, it was super worthwhile and a great day out. For 2 people it was good value for money, we didn't feel rushed or pressured at any point, we took our time. Nancy was very friendly, considerate of small details and very confident English speaker.
The museum was a highlight for me, i can spend many hours in a museum - that could have been improved with some tea tastings.
lunch was delicious - please always suggest some popular local dishes so guests don't have to work their way through an all-chinese menu with no background knowledge of local specialities. But let's be honest - the food here is so good that you're unlikely to get something poor even when choosing at random!
tasting and buying longjin tea was good - but a bit salesy. It's probably just a personal or cultural difference, but i prefer to not have to decide on the spot if i'm going to buy something expensive, i prefer to sit and think about it privately and then decide.
April - March is the time of year to pick tea in Hangzhou, so that wasn't included in our trip. Which is ok for me, i've done that before and after an hour the novelty wears off ahahaha but it would be have been nice to still take a walk through the tea fields.
A lot of my comments here are in hindsight, but on the day we were perfectly comfortable and very relaxed from the trip around West Lake, and driving through the beautiful countryside and full of lunch. I came home feeling like i didn't miss out on anything.
Thank you to Bonnie for a wonderful tour! She made the entire experience fantastic because she knows so much about Hangzhou and the history of the area and tea!. The Tea Museum was wonderful, the tea plantation was beautiful, and our meal was really delicious. We had a private tour and did the West Lake boat ride last, and it was a great way to end our day.