A snowy day, we went on to a trip to Camphor Tree Valley. Located in a small village called Li Jia Keng on Siming Mountain in Ningbo, Li Jia Keng means Family Li’s Pit. Everyone’s last name here is Li and most people here live to 80 years old and some even hit 120 years, so being 60 is considered young. It is also one of the most famous historical and cultural villages because it has a large number of ancient buildings from Ming and Qing dynasties. Surrounded by water, mountains, and beautiful scenery, it has a history of nearly 500 years.
To get there, it takes 3 hours driving. Enter your destination on Gaode map gps, and after one hour on the high way and 30 minutes on the national way, there is still one more hour of driving on the mountain road, but the scene just gets better and better. The snow covered the entire mountain, and the bamboo forest was crushed bent by the snow, so take a deep breath, and inhale the fresh mountain air.
As the day got darker, we finally arrived hungry and tired. The hotel lobby was furnished with the Southeast Asian style furniture. The owner of Camphor Tree Valley is the same owner of The Hidden House in Tonglu, and he designed these two places by himself. We couldn’t help noticing the bright red 1967 Volkswagen Kombi Microbus. This fantastic design is inspired by the Beatles’ classic record “Magical Mystery Tour”. We sat around the fire while we were checking in, and the waiter sliced some potatoes to put on the fire. It was really some kind of delicacy made even more so because we were starving, sprinkled with some pepper. It was warm and crispy.
Rooms and suites are mainly in the style of comfort and conciseness, pure wood furniture with light color. Each room has floor heating.
The nature has its way to welcome us here, during this weekend, mother nature has shown us the way to live a life in these parts.
The restaurant looked like the living room of any family in the village. Since it’s on the mountain, everything we ate that night all came from the slopes. The bamboo, vegetables, eggs, chicken, mushrooms, and the fish came from the river and the creeks next to the hotel, and a lot of ingredients were home made by the local people and cooked in the family style. The chicken soup was so tasty, the colour was yellow, and because we hadn’t had a soup like that for years, nothing fancy, just the chicken itself made all the difference. We were served with rice wine and gaoliang liquor. Gaoliang wine is a sorghum-based liquor, and they were all made by the owner’s mother.
On our next day, lunch was home-made dumplings. It’s so home-made in fact that we had to make our own, but it was a lot of fun. The filling was mixed vegetables and meat, dipped in the local chili sauce with vinegar, and it’s especially yummy after hiking. If you come here for a family trip, this could be something very cool for your child to try.
After a few rounds of drinking and eating, the night continued outside by the bonfire party. The hotel prepared the fireworks, and all of us were as happy as a little child. To the accompaniment of the music, we stood around the fire, we drank, we danced, and we certainly had a ton of fun.
At a romantic starry night, in the hot spring pool which was filled with the mountain water, we drank wine, gave ourselves to nature, experienced a special hot spring party, and it made us relaxed, our bodies happy, and our minds relaxed.
The next day, the housekeeper took us for a hiking trip, and we were lucky enough to see the snow scene that was all over the mountains and plains. It was like being in the fairyland. It took us more than an hour to reach the top of the mountain after we cleared the fallen barricade, we passed through the bent bamboo, when we reached the destination, and everything was worthy. We met the farmers who just dug some bamboo shoots, and were on their way home to make a nice soup. We saw some old men sat outside of their house and chatting the day away as they stood aloof from worldly success. Their roosters and hens were wandering around looking for the worms to eat. Their size was so much bigger than the ones in the city. Obviously, living in the mountain gave them so much freedom and space.
There are also valley adventures available, discovering the valley and creeks with their housekeeper is a lot of fun, and we have to remind you that you might be surprised by their surprising afternoon tea picnic by the stream.
When the weather gets warmer, it’s great fun to take your child to kayak with you, but don’t fear the wind or the waves. Just cross your limit, take the challenge, solve the problem together, and build the strong connection between you and your child.