In the early part of the nineteenth century, Mogan Shan (Mògàn Shān, 莫干山) became a popular and exclusive retreat for the Shanghai elite. Today the bamboo clad slopes rising from Zhejiang plain are regaining their reputation as an escape from the noise of traffic and jackhammers and strenuous pace of the Shanghai lifestyle.
Part of the Tianmu Mountains, Mogan Shan is 60 km (37 mi) from Hangzhou and 200 km (124 mi) away from Shanghai (roughly a 3 hours drive). The village is now home to over 40 guesthouses, villas and hotels. Mogan Shan is an ideal place to catch some much-needed fresh air during weekend away from the city. The key is to book good accommodation in advance and to pack proper supplies for your stay—enough for late summer evening barbecues and wine.
Mazes of paths cross the slopes where you might stumble upon old, deserted villas. In the past several years, abandoned 1920s-30s villas have been restored into visitor accommodations and the place has generally started to pick up. But don't expect hopping nightlife—the best you're likely to get is a bit of karaoke. At the same time, the place is not so popular as to be overrun with tacky hotels and you can still bargain for a hotel room for RMB 180. Few foreign tourists come out this way. Just to note: you'll have to pay RMB 80 for a pass to get into the Mogan Shan Scenic Area. If you leave Mogan Shan and come back by the road on any day after the day you bought the ticket, expect to have to purchase a new ticket unless you can convince the guys on the gate to let you in. Be sure to bring your ticket with you wherever you go on the mountain and if you leave and intend to return the same day.