I thought those photos of rows upon rows of green plants in an exotic setting were only reserved for rice fields in Southeast Asia or vineyards in Europe or Northern California. Then I went to Hangzhou. Little did I know, tea plantations look similar with rows of greenery, just a little shorter and bushier. I've been to vineyards in various places in the US, but never rice fields, and never a place as beautiful and relaxing as this.
Driving through the winding roads of lush, garden-like greenery set the scene.
As someone who doesn't really drink tea, I still enjoyed learning about how the tea was grown, how the leaves are hand-picked, and certain hot water pouring techniques.
Tea is very much a part of Chinese culture and learning more about it helps you understand more about China.
After the demonstration we walked around and took photos of the surroundings.
We stopped into their store to get some tea, but the salespeople were very pushy. We found that common in many stores in China though, perhaps it was because the gift shop was a "tourist" shop or maybe it's just the culture of shopping. I didn't do enough shopping in China to really understand this, though.
Overall, it was an interesting experience and something I'd definitely recommend to people visiting Hangzhou.
Location: Longjing Imperial Tea Garden