Travel Reference
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A relaxing change from big city life
Head west on Xinzhen Jie, admiring the ancient architecture and town's signature bridges as
you go. Two blocks in, on an islet, is Gengle Hall 1 [map] (Gengle Tang), evidence of the
wealth that once flourished here. Ming Dynasty official Zhuxiang - who was also known as
Gengle - built this mansion retreat when he retired from government service. According to
local lore, he was so pleased with the result that he rarely left the 54 rooms and lovely gar-
dens, becoming something of a hermit. Today, you can walk through the three courtyards
and some of the 41 remaining rooms, but the real star here is the garden: a zigzag bridge
leads to a lovely pavilion, and outside the Sweet Osmanthus Hall the scent of the ancient
sweet osmanthus trees still drifts by. Buildings are arranged around a pretty lotus pond, sited
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