When you tire of the city and want to immerse yourself in a beautiful and quiet natural environment, Moganshan (莫干山) is a perfect choice. Just a few hours from Shanghai, it is serene and lush. Vast bamboo forests ripple across low mountains and you can lose yourself for a few days, forgetting the hustle and bustle of the city is not far away.
It's super easy to get to Moganshan. From Shanghai's Hongqiao train station, you catch a train to Deqing (德清). I always buy my tickets online in advance from CTrip (http://english.ctrip.com) and have them delivered to my workplace in Shanghai. That makes it easy to just show up at the train station, tickets in hand, with time for a coffee before getting in line to board.
The train to Deqing only takes about 90 minutes from Shanghai, and a train runs twice a day (once in the morning and once just after 6 pm).
For our weekend trips to Moganshan, we typically stay at a really lovely guest house nestled right into the bamboo forest and on the outskirts of a tiny village. The place is called Moganshan Solvang Village (莫干山索尔万村) and we found it online last fall. Since then, we've stayed twice and intend to stay again; the quiet location is just perfect for what we want. There are lovely hiking trails right outside your door, bike rentals to allow you to cycle through the countryside, villages and around a picturesque reservoir, and two deck areas where you can roll out a yoga mat. The food at Moganshan Solvang Village is also top-notch and the reclining deck chairs are perfect for reading and soaking up views of the forest. The web site for the hotel is here: http://www.mogansolvangvillage.com/. The owner's name is Sunny and he's very nice; he can arrange for a driver to meet you at the train station and drive you about an hour to the hotel.
After a few days in the forest, we always feel rejuvenated and reluctant to head back to the city. It's not long before we start contemplating dates for our next get-away.