Saturday, January 14, 2023
Hangzhou Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Hangzhou

travel guide

Hangzhou, traditionally romanized as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in eastern China. It is located near the mouth of Hangzhou Bay, which connects Shanghai and Ningbo. Hangzhou rose to prominence as the southern terminal of the Grand Canal and has been one of China’s most known and rich towns for most of the past millennium, thanks in part to its stunning natural environment. The city’s most well-known attraction is West Lake.

Hangzhou is a sub-provincial city that serves as the hub of the Hangzhou metropolitan region, China’s fourth-largest. During the 2010 Chinese census, the metropolitan area had a population of 21.102 million people spread over an area of 34,585 km2 (13,353 sq mi). In 2015, the recorded population of Hangzhou prefecture was 9,018,000 people.

Hangzhou was awarded the 2022 Asian Games in September 2015. It will be the third Chinese city to hold the Asian Games, after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010. President Xi Jinping stated on November 16, 2015, that Hangzhou will host the eleventh G-20 meeting on September 4–5, 2016.

Hangzhou is well-known for its ancient artifacts as well as its natural beauty. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in China, as well as one of the most picturesque. Despite numerous recent urban developments, Hangzhou has retained its historical and cultural legacy. Tourism is still a key part of the Hangzhou economy today. West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Hangzhou’s most popular attractions. The West Lake Cultural Landscape encompasses 3,323 hectares (8,210 acres) and contains some of Hangzhou’s most significant historic and picturesque sites. A gorgeous region next to the lake features ancient pagodas, cultural monuments, and the natural beauty of the lake and hills, notably Phoenix Mountain. The lake is crossed by two causeways.

The Hangzhou Tourism Commission launched the ‘Modern Marco Polo’ campaign on Facebook in March 2013. Over the following year, approximately 26,000 people from all over the world applied to be Hangzhou’s first international tourist ambassador. On May 20, 2014, Liam Bates was declared as the victorious winner during a press conference in Hangzhou. The 26-year-old was awarded a €40,000 contract and is the only foreigner ever assigned to such an official position by the Chinese government.

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Hangzhou | Introduction

Hangzhou – Info Card

POPULATION : • Sub-provincial city 9,018,000
• Urban 7,081,700
• Metro 21,267,000 Hangzhou Metropolitan Area (including Hangzhou, Shaoxing, Jiaxing, Huzhou)
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE :  China Standard (UTC+8)
LANGUAGE : Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)
RELIGION : Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%; note: officially atheist
AREA : • Sub-provincial city 16,840.76 km2 (6,502.25 sq mi)
• Urban 3,317.9 km2 (1,281.0 sq mi)
• Metro 34,585 km2 (13,353 sq mi)
ELEVATION :
COORDINATES :  30°15′N 120°10′E
SEX RATIO :  Male: 51.83
 Female: 48.17
ETHNIC : Han Chinese 91.5%, Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uyghur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, and other nationalities 8.5%
AREA CODE :  571
POSTAL CODE :  310000
DIALING CODE :  +86 571
WEBSITE :  Official Website

Climate of Hangzhou

Hangzhou has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons, with lengthy, extremely hot, humid summers and cool, gloomy, and drier winters (with occasional snow). The average yearly temperature is 17.0 degrees Celsius (62.6 degrees Fahrenheit), with monthly daily averages ranging from 4.6 degrees Celsius (40.3 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 28.9 degrees Celsius (84.0 degrees Fahrenheit) in July. The city gets an average yearly rainfall of 1,438.0 mm (56.6 in) and is impacted by the Asian monsoon plum showers in June. Hangzhou experiences typhoon storms in the late summer (August to September), however they seldom hit the city directly. They often make landfall around Zhejiang’s southern coast, bringing high winds and heavy rainfall. Since 1951, extremes have varied from 9.6 °C (15 °F) on 6 February 1969 to 41.6 °C (107 °F) on 9 August 2013; unofficial measurements have reached 10.5 °C (13 °F) on 29 December 1912 and 24 January 1916, and 42.1 °C (108 °F) on 10 August 1930. The city gets 1,709.4 hours of sunlight per year, with monthly percent potential sunshine ranging from 30% in March to 51% in August.

Geography of Hangzhou

Hangzhou is situated in northwestern Zhejiang province, near the southern end of China’s Grand Canal, which stretches from Shanghai to Beijing, in the Yangtze River Delta’s south-central region. Its administrative territory (sub-provincial city) stretches west to Anhui province’s hilly areas and east to the coastal plain near Hangzhou Bay. The city core is centered on the eastern and northern shores of West Lake, just north of the Qiantang River.

Economy of Hangzhou

Hangzhou’s economy has grown quickly since its opening in 1992. It is an industrial city with a wide range of industries including light manufacturing, agriculture, and textiles. It is regarded as a vital industrial base and logistical center for coastal China.

Hangzhou’s GDP in 2001 was RMB 156.8 billion, ranking second only to Guangzhou among all provincial capitals. Since then, the city’s GDP has more than quadrupled, rising from RMB 156.8 billion in 2001 to RMB 701.1 billion in 2011, with GDP per capita rising from US$3,025 to US$12,447.

Medicine, information technology, heavy equipment, automotive components, home electrical appliances, electronics, communications, fine chemicals, chemical fiber, and food processing are just a few of the new sectors that have sprung up in the city.

Talk

The local language in Hangzhou is Wu Chinese (now generally known as Shanghainese, although each city has a different variant). It is spoken in a fairly large area covering most of eastern China. Wu cannot be understood with either Mandarin (standard Chinese) or other Chinese dialects. However, like everywhere else in China, most people are bilingual, that is, they speak both the local dialect and Mandarin, and like other prosperous coastal cities, Hangzhou has many immigrants from other provinces who speak Mandarin but not the local dialect. If you speak Mandarin, you can talk to almost everyone in Hangzhou, except for a few elderly people or people from the countryside.

English is not widely spoken, although the more expensive hotels probably have staff who speak at least some English. Have the names of your destinations in Chinese handy to show to cab drivers so they can take you where you want to go. Carry a business card of your hotel so that you can return to it at any time.

Maps

Buy maps near the train or bus station, from street vendors or stalls, when you arrive. The price is often indicated on the cards themselves, in case you were wondering how much you should pay (less than ¥10). Cards bought on the street are usually written in simplified Chinese and without pinyin. You can find pinyin cards in foreign language bookstores and newsstands near the western lake. The main foreign language bookstore on Yan An Road has a reasonable selection of maps and travel books.

Recently, there is a tourist office stand near Wulin Square subway station, where you can get a city map in two languages. If you walk past Hangzhou Tower and head south until you reach Shuguang Road, you should see an olive green booth. Very little English is spoken, but if you can ask for a map (dìtú), they will gladly help you.

How To Travel To Hangzhou

Get In - By plane

Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport offers domestic and international flights. There are regular connections to Beijing, Hong Kong and other Chinese cities. The only European destination is Amsterdam with KLM. There are a few cities in other parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia with direct connections.

Hangzhou airport has lower landing fees than nearby Shanghai, which is why some low-cost airlines fly there.

AIRPORT TRANSFERS

The airport is located about 30 km east of the city center. The cab ride takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour. A cab from downtown to the airport costs about ¥90; on the way back, you should ask the driver if he is willing to drive you that far before jumping in the car with all your luggage. There is no extra charge for the trip to/from the airport, the normal rate applies.

A shuttle service (¥20) to/from the Xiaoshan bus ticket office on Tiyuchang Road, next to the KFC west of Wulin Square. The shuttle bus also stops at the central station on the way. Buses run every 30 minutes during the day and take about an hour; wait in line at the ticket booth before boarding the bus to get your ticket.

Buses leave from the airport

  • 07:30 – 09:30 : every 30 minutes
  • 09:30 – 17:00 : every 15 minutes
  • 17:00 – 21:00 : every 20 minutes
  • After 9:00 pm: every 30 minutes

The times refer to the waiting time from the moment the first passenger boards the bus. If all seats are occupied, the bus leaves within 30, 20 or 15 minutes. Shangri-La Hotel also offers a shuttle service to/from the airport for ¥50.

SHANGHAI AIRPORT

The main international hub for the region is Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport. There are direct bus connections to Hangzhou, which take a few hours, or you can go to downtown Shanghai by train and take a train. Buses leave from the 2nd floor parking lot in front of Gate 15 of Pudong Airport every 90 minutes between 10:30am and 7pm; the fare is ¥100. These buses stop at Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Sports Center (soccer stadium), 3 km west of the city center. The reverse trip from Hangzhou to Pudong Airport is also possible; buses leave from the Yellow Dragon Sports Center and the Hangzhou Xiaoshan Bus ticket office on Tiyuchang Road, next to the KFC, west of Wulin Square.

Shanghai’s other airport, Hongqiao, is mainly used for domestic flights and is located right next to Hongqiao Station, from where high-speed trains to Hangzhou depart.

Get In - By train

The high-speed train (HST) from Shanghai Hongqiao Station to Hangzhou East Station takes 50 minutes non-stop (¥78) and runs frequently. There are also trains from Guangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu and everywhere in between. There is also a central station in Hangzhou at the end of the line, which recently reopened after being renovated, although it is not as well equipped as Hangzhou East and serves fewer trains.

Get In - By bus

Hangzhou has four bus stations (N, E – “Jiubao” on Shengjia Road, W and S). Normally, the direction of your destination corresponds to the name of the bus station, for example, if you want to go to Shanghai, you should go to the East bus station. If you want to go to Huangshan, the buses leave from the West bus station; Nanjing is often served by the North bus station, etc. Wuzhen (90 minutes bus ride, frequent departures in the morning) is now served by Jiubao bus station, not by the disused Genshan-Xilu bus station. The trip from the east side of the western lake to Jiubao bus station costs ¥50 and takes 45 minutes by cab. The K12 bus and then the K101 bus can also make the trip. The trip to Jiubao Bus Station takes 90 minutes and the trip to Wūzhen another 90 minutes.

From Shanghai: Buses leave from the Northern Bus Station (Hengfen Lu), PuDong Bus Station (Bailianjing, PuDong Nan Lu) and Xujiahui Bus Station, tickets cost ¥58. These buses arrive at Hangzhou North Bus Station.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport: Direct long-distance bus from the airport to Hangzhou at Tiyuchang Road, avoiding the transfer via Shanghai. Upon arrival at the airport, follow the clearly marked signs to the long-distance bus terminal (just past the magnetic levitation train terminal) and go down one floor to the station lobby by elevator. Departures every hour, in the evening at every full hour. The last departure is at 9:00 p.m. Bring cash for the price of the ticket.

To Shanghai Pudong International Airport: there are buses from Yellow Dragon Stadium to Pudong Airport (direct) and from Wulinmen Ticket Office to Pudong Airport (with a stop at Hongqiao). Tickets can be purchased at the bus stop in front of Yellow Dragon Stadium or at the Wulinmen ticket office near KFC on Tiyuchang Rd. (¥100, 2.5 hours ride)

To Hongqiao airport (direct): Wulinmen Ticket Office near KFC on Tiyuchang Rd (¥100).

Get In - By boat

The night boat service between Hangzhou and Suzhou/Wuxi has been suspended. You can still take a ferry on the Hangzhou-Beijing Grand Canal north of Hangzhou.

How To Get Around In Hangzhou

Get Around - By bus

Hangzhou has an extensive bus system, and the schedules, routes and announcements on the buses are all in Chinese. Cabs in Hangzhou are notoriously expensive compared to other Chinese cities, and the public bus system will save you money.

There are several types of buses:

  • Lines without an alphabetical prefix are generally not air-conditioned (although there are some exceptions, such as line 900) and should be avoided from May to September. In winter, they are heated. They usually cost ¥1-2.
  • Lines with a “K” prefix are air-conditioned from May to September and heated from December to February. They cost ¥2-3, unless air conditioning and heating are turned off, in which case the fare is halved.
  • Routes with the prefix “Y” are marked as tourist buses and take you to or from a tourist destination for ¥3-5.
  • The lines with the prefix “B” are part of the new Bus Rapid Transit system. These are articulated buses that stop at special BRT stations where you can connect with other “B” lines without paying extra. The fare of ¥4 is paid when entering the station. These buses are more spacious than the usual city buses, but not much faster.
  • Night lines (with blue signs and the number K2xx) cost ¥2.5. Most of them start at 21:00 and end around 06:00.

For those who arrive by train in Hangzhou, there is the K7 bus that goes from Hangzhou station to West Lake for ¥1.

The fare can be paid in cash (coins or banknotes, no change), with a special bus card or with the same card used for bicycle rental. The fare is displayed at the stop and on the ticket machine.

You are expected to board through the front doors and disembark through the back doors (except for the B lines). Buses have very little room, even if they are not full (which is not often), so do not take strollers or other bulky items. Be prepared at all times to make quick turns and brake hard. The suspension is generally not up to modern standards and the ride can be aggressive.

Get Around - By taxi

Hangzhou has a large number of cabs that provide a quick and comfortable way to get around the city. Most of the city’s cabs are turquoise green in color and are easily recognizable by the word “cab” written on the vehicles in both English and Chinese. Hired cabs can be recognized by the green (or sometimes yellow and orange) lighted signs above the dashboard on each vehicle.

Hangzhou cab drivers almost always use the taximeter, as required by law. Rides start at ¥11 and are charged by the kilometer, with surcharges for downtime and trips longer than 10 km. It is advisable to take a receipt with you on every cab ride, in case you want to contact the cab company or driver later to dispute the fare, recover a lost item, etc. Avoid cab ticket vendors at the train station and major tourist attractions and instead,, take a seat in the taxi queue or host a cab on the street.

Almost none of the cab drivers in the city speak English or any other foreign language, and it is important that you are able to mark your destination on a map, give the driver the name of your destination (in Chinese characters), or pronounce your destination name correctly in Chinese.

Hangzhou cabs are not allowed to carry more than four passengers, but you may be able to convince or bribe a driver to let you “hide” an extra passenger in the back. This can be worth the effort and cost if it saves your group from taking two cabs. It is also not uncommon for the cab driver to take more than one customer to make the ride more profitable, especially at late or slow hours. This is usually explained in Chinese. Normally, however, this practice is unusual.

Cabs, like all public transportation, are hard to find during tourist weeks (Chinese New Year, Golden Week in May, and National Week in October); moreover, cabs available at 7:30am-08:45am and 4:30pm-7pm as well as on any rainy day are hard to find because they are always full or in the middle of a shift change. A cab with an imminent shift change – usually between 3pm and 5pm – will display a sign on its windshield (in Chinese characters of course) and will only take you if your route matches the cab’s. If you know the areas where cabs travel or where they drop off passengers, it will be easier for you to find a ride-share. Try not to get upset if a newcomer passes you 20 meters ahead of you on the street. The only rule is that there are the fast ones and the dead ones.

Cab drivers also negotiate long-distance trips or day/half-day rentals. A trip to Shanghai’s Pudong Airport costs between ¥600 and ¥1,000, depending on the time of day or night.

In the outlying areas of Hangzhou, small five-seat vans are usually available at bus terminals for further transportation. These run completely independently and normal cab rules do not apply. They will take you anywhere you want at a negotiated price.

Get Around - By Metro

The easiest way to explore Hangzhou is the recently built subway system, for which a total of 8 lines with a length of over 200 km are planned. Line 1 was opened in late 2012. Line 2 is expected to be completed in early 2015.

Get Around - By “water Bus”

The Grand Canal ferry takes 30 minutes, but only leaves 5 times a day, the first at 7:30am and the last at 6pm. It starts at Wulin Gate/West Lake Culture Plaza and ends at Gongchen Bridge, with a stop at Xinyifang Grand Canal Culture Plaza. The boats first stop at Xinyifang, then head to the new Canal Culture Square, where you can visit the Canal Museum, see if there are any events in the square, and visit the new Xiaohe Street – a series of “historic” alleys with stores and restaurants that resemble Hefang Street in Hangzhou; the renovation of the area was completed in 2008. The cost is ¥3.

Hangzhou plans to connect a series of canals and streams throughout the city to the Grand Canal, Western Lake, Yuhang River and Qiantang River to improve water transportation and create a Venetian atmosphere.

There are also passenger boats sailing on the Grand Canal near the Qiantang River.

To get to the islands of the western lake, you can choose between the Dragon tourist trap and the “Gaily painted” tour boats (¥45 and ¥35). There are also medium-sized motor boats (¥25), or for ¥160, you can hire a driver who will take you around for about an hour. Boats are available at Hubin Park #X (1, 3, 6) and at other clearly marked places all over the lake.

Get Around - By Bike

Although Hangzhou’s traffic may seem chaotic to some foreigners, the city is comparatively bicycle-friendly. With the exception of small side streets, all have dedicated bike lanes, often separated from car traffic by barriers or center strips.

The city’s extensive public bicycle system is a cheap and convenient way to explore the city. These fire engine red public bicycles are ubiquitous on Hangzhou’s streets and the rental stations that distribute them are generously distributed throughout the city center and around the Western Lake, stretching out to the suburbs and down to the river near the Six Harmonies Pagoda.

In order to use the bikes, you need to buy a value card at one of the 5 locations, e.g. 20 Longxiang Qiao in front of the Agricultural Bank of China. If you have trouble finding the location, go to the Hyatt and ask for directions; they will show you the right street. In addition, each bike station will provide you with free tourist maps, including a bike map showing all the bike stations in the city. To get a value card (also called an IC card), you need to show an ID (e.g. passport) and pay ¥300, of which ¥200 is a deposit and the remaining ¥100 covers the rental fee. The bikes can then be borrowed by presenting the card against one of the automatic bike racks in which the bikes are placed. A beep and the sound of the rack unlocking indicate that the bike can be removed. Any of the bike racks throughout the city can be used if you wish to visit an attraction or purchase a new bike. The bike is free for the first hour, costs ¥1 per hour for the next two hours and ¥3 per hour thereafter. For example, if you rent a bike for six hours and return to the main bike rental center, you get ¥289 back from the deposit, which covers the value of ¥11 for the bike.

IC cards or bike rental cards can also be used on local buses (9% discount on public buses). Several people can use the same card for their bus ride. Simply swipe the card as many times as the number of people boarding the bus.

Be sure to choose a bike with air in the front and rear wheels, working brakes and a reasonable seat height. However, none of the bikes were designed for people of normal height. So if you have long legs, you may skin your knees on the handlebars. During rush hour, bicycles are also actively used by local residents. Therefore, most bike racks will be full and it will not be easy to find a station with empty racks to return your bike.

Bikes are returned by placing them back into an empty bike rack and tapping the card against the top of the rack. A new beep, a steady green light and the sound of the bike rack lock indicate that the bike has been successfully accepted. Make sure the lock on the rack accepts your bike; if it does not, the bike will not be registered in the system and you will lose both the bike rental and the deposit money and will not be refunded. The system opens at 6:00 am and bikes that have not been returned by 9:00 pm must be returned to the Longxiang Qiao site (open 24 hours a day) – so please pay attention to the time if you are traveling at night. After 10 days of purchase, the card can be returned for an 89% refund.

It is perfectly acceptable to rent bikes and return them within an hour, then immediately rent another bike, so you don’t have to pay anything.

Maps

Buy maps near the train or bus station, from street vendors or stalls, when you arrive. The price is often indicated on the cards themselves, in case you were wondering how much you should pay (less than ¥10). Cards bought on the street are usually written in simplified Chinese and without pinyin. You can find pinyin cards in foreign language bookstores and newsstands near the western lake. The main foreign language bookstore on Yan An Road has a reasonable selection of maps and travel books.

Recently, there is a tourist office stand near Wulin Square subway station, where you can get a city map in two languages. If you walk past Hangzhou Tower and head south until you reach Shuguang Road, you should see an olive green booth. Very little English is spoken, but if you can ask for a map (dìtú), they will gladly help you.

Districts & Neighbourhoods In Hangzhou

Hangzhou’s sub-provincial city is made up of 9 districts, 2 county-level cities, and 2 counties. The six core urban districts cover 683 km2 (264 sq mi) and have a population of 3,560,400 people. The three suburban districts cover 4,193 km2 (1,619 sq mi) and have a population of 3,399,300 people.

Subdivision Chinese Pinyin Population (2010) Area (km2) Density
City Proper
Shangcheng District 上城区 Shàngchéng Qū 344,594 18.30 18,830.27
Xiacheng District 下城区 Xiàchéng Qū 526,096 31.46 16,722.70
Jianggan District 江干区 Jiānggàn Qū 998,783 210.22 4,751.13
Gongshu District 拱墅区 Gǒngshù Qū 551,874 87.49 6,307.85
Xihu District 西湖区 Xīhú Qū 820,017 308.70 2,656.36
Binjiang District 滨江区 Bīnjiāng Qū 319,027 72.02 4,429.70
Suburban
Xiaoshan District 萧山区 Xiāoshān Qū 1,511,290 1,420.22 1,064.12
Yuhang District 余杭区 Yúháng Qū 1,170,290 1,223.56 956.46
Fuyang District 富阳区 Fùyáng Qū 717,694 1,831.20 391.93
County
Tonglu County 桐庐县 Tónglú Xiàn 406,450 1,825.00 222.71
Chun’an County 淳安县 Chún’ān Xiàn 336,843 4,427.00 76.09
County-level cities
Jiande 建德市 Jiàndé Shì 430,750 2,321.00 185.59
Lin’an 临安市 Lín’ān Shì 566,665 3,126.80 181.23

Prices In Hangzhou

Tourist (Backpacker) – 31 $ per day. Estimated cost per 1 day including:meals in cheap restaurant, public transport, cheap hotel.

Tourist (regular) – 88 $ per day. Estimated cost per 1 day including:mid-range meals and drinks,transportation, hotel.

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk 1 liter $2.96
Tomatoes 1 kg $1.82
Cheese 0.5 kg $
Apples 1 kg $2.85
Oranges 1 kg $2.05
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $0.98
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $15.00
Coca-Cola 2 liters $1.08
Bread 1 piece $
Water 1.5 l $0.50

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $24.00
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $65.00
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $4.60
Water 0.33 l $0.28
Cappuccino 1 cup $3.30
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $1.85
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $0.79
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $0.45
Coctail drink 1 drink $7.00

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema 2 tickets $26.00
Gym 1 month $30.00
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut $11.00
Theatar 2 tickets $40.00
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. $0.08
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack $2.70

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics 1 pack $
Tampons 32 pieces $
Deodorant 50 ml. $7.00
Shampoo 400 ml. $5.30
Toilet paper 4 rolls $1.60
Toothpaste 1 tube $2.20

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 1 $
Dress summer (Zara, H&M) 1 $60.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas) 1 $98.00
Leather shoes 1 $80.00

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline 1 liter $0.90
Taxi Start $1.70
Taxi 1 km $0.40
Local Transport 1 ticket $0.30

Sights & Landmarks In Hangzhou

West Lake (西湖 Xī Hú)

The most famous site in Hangzhou. Technically, there are 10 western lake scenes and 10 new scenes, but they are overrated and often seasonal (snowfall on the broken bridge, etc.). Rather than checklisting and going back and forth to find them, just spend a clear day walking around the lake and dike paths, take a ferry to the islands, and you will probably see most of the sites anyway. The “Western Lake” itself can be divided into countless smaller sites, from Mr. Guo’s villa to “Orioles Singing in the Willows”.

The “West Lake Scenic Area” itself is very large. This section only deals with areas in the immediate vicinity of the lake. Other areas will be covered in later sections.

  • Boat trip. There are many providers of boat trips on the lake. The official tour operator sells tickets for insured boat trips at the official sales booths, with clear prices covering all parts of the lake. There are many private gondola tours with different insurance coverage, offers and prices.
  • Broken Bridge (断桥). The most elegant and romantic place in the scenic area of Hangzhou West Lake. The classic view of the West Lake from the Broken Bridge is fascinating, and the legend of the White Snake adds much more charm to the culture and history of this old bridge.
  • Lesser Yingzhou Isle (Three Ponds that reflect the moon). Built in the early 1600s, it is the largest island on the lake. During the full moon, candles are lit in the pagodas, and by the light of the candles, it looks like you can see the moonlight (if you are romantic enough to see it), hence the name.
  • Mid-Lake Pavilion – built in 1552, this is the oldest island in Hangzhou. On the stone arch dating back to the Qing Dynasty is a Chinese inscription in which the Qing Emperor wrote “Chong Er” or “Endless Love”.
  • Lord Ruan’s Mound – This is a hill created by dredging the lake 200 years ago. However, it is not just a mound of earth. At night (in the summer), there is entertainment in the garden on the island.
  • Hubin Parks 1, 3, 6 and probably the numbers in between are the parks between Hubin Road and West Lake. These parks were developed relatively recently, as the West Lake tunnel, which runs under the lake, was built in early 2004. They are great for sitting around for a while, buying an ice cream or a newspaper, and most importantly, renting a boat at the many piers in each park.
  • Su’s causeway. This dyke is nearly 3 km long and dates back to 1189 and is planted with willows and peach trees. It is a long north-south dike that starts at the Shangri-La on Beishan Road and continues to Nanshan Road.
  • Bai Road. This road starts at the eastern end of Beishan Road, leads to Solitary Hill and shortens the distances between Hubin Road and Shangri La.
  • Solidary Hill and Zhongshan Park. Where the Loud Wai Lou restaurant is located, there is the only natural island in the lake. At least three imperial palaces were built here. Besides an expensive restaurant, this popular area is also home to the Xiling Seal-Engravers’ Society and its seals, calligraphy, master engravers and relics.
  • Yang Road. It is more than 3 km long and is a road west of Su Road. It starts at the intersection of Beishan Road and Shuguang Road (which becomes Yang Causeway south of this intersection) and follows a north-south direction. Yang Causeway includes Quyuan Garden (also called Qu Garden or Qu Yard), which is the most popular place to see tons of lotus flowers (in late spring and summer). The water area west of the tip of the Yang Causeway is the Maojiabu Scenic Area, where orchids blend into the watery landscape. Another curiosity of the Yang Causeway is Mr. Guo’s villa, built in 1907 and considered one of the most “classic” gardens in Hangzhou. At the southern end of the embankment, just before Nanshan Road, there is a pond for fish watching.
  • Monument of King Qian (Qian Wáng Cí). Five kings of the Wuyue kingdom are buried in this memorial located at the southern end of the lake on the road to Nanshan.
  • Zhejiang Museum (浙江省博物馆). www.zhejiangmuseum.com/en/index.jsp – The largest comprehensive museum in Zhejiang province collects many rarely seen treasures created in Zhejiang, especially celadon porcelains. It showcases the elite culture of traditional China in the Jiangnan region. The headquarters is located on 25GuShan Road, on the north side of the West Lake Scenic Area.
  • Zhejiang West Lake Gallery (浙江西湖美术馆)-is a tourist attraction located near the classic site of Ping Hu Qiu Yue. Zhejiang West Lake Gallery is a famous art education and exhibition center in Zhejiang province.
  • Wushan Square (吴山广场 Wu Shan Guang Chang) and Wushan Hill are important centers in Hangzhou. On a clear day, there is an excellent view from above, and behind the pagoda, there are hiking trails around the hills. The pagoda itself has been modernized with an elevator and a beautiful open-air tea house, but the original bell is still intact and in use. From here, it is also easy to get to the Hefang Jie shopping street at the foot of the hill, where there are many small pedestrian streets and stores. The Western Lake itself is also nearby.
  • Huqingyutang Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum (胡庆余堂中医博物馆) is the only thematic museum of traditional Chinese medicine in China. Huqingyutang is also a traditionally famous medicine store, which preserves the culture of traditional medicine of ancient China. It was founded by Hu Xueyan, a representative of Huizhou merchants.
  • The ten sites of the West Lake (西湖十景) are the most famous sites in Hangzhou, around which thousands of visitors dutifully walk every year. Sudichunxiao(苏堤春晓), the first of the ten sites of the West Lake, is a source of income that crosses the West Lake from the south of the West Lake and the north of the West Lake. Quyuanfenghe(曲院风荷), it is located in the west of the West Lake, just before Yuemiao(岳庙), there are many stores there. Pinghuqiouyue(平湖秋月), it looks like a painting and the city is in the painting and the people are in the painting, anyone who has been there will praise it. Duanqiaocanxue(断桥残雪), the name comes from the snow, when it snows, the hole in the bridge is broken just like the bridge. There is also a famous story that happened in Duanqiaocanxue, the Baishezhuan(白蛇传). Liulangwenying(柳浪闻莺), a big park in Qingbomen(清波门), when you enter the Liulangwenying, you can hear the sound of birds, that’s why it is called Liulangwenying. Huagangguanyu(花港观鱼), its famous points are fish, flowers and harbors. Leifengxizhao(雷峰夕照), if it were night, Leifeng tower will have a light. Shuangfengchayun(双峰插云), the combination of the highest mountain in the north and the highest mountain in the south, which are really high, as if you can see through the clouds. Nanpingwanzhong(南屏晚钟), is the handleless cup in a temple on a mountain, we can easily hear the bell sound in the night. Santanyingyue (三潭映月), the largest island in the whole western lake, is really beautiful and much visited. Here are the ten tourist attractions of the West Lake.
  • Qianjiang New Town is located in Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou City, southeast, north of the Qian Tang River, about 4.5 km from the beautiful West Lake area. Citizens can visit a wide variety of sites, such as the east of the Qian Tang River, the south of the Renaissance, the west Qiutao Road, the north of the Shanxi Road and the Gen Qian Tang River Bridge. There are two periods that cover the area from west to east on the Hangzhou-Ningbo high-speed, harmonious Hong Kong, north to Gen Shandong Road, south of Qian Tang River.Qianjiang new city is twice as wide as the Huangpu River and Qian Tang River. Therefore, the layout of the new district’s land use, the large scope, large scale, high point, shows the modern city with skyscrapers as the basic functions. In the architectural style, will be promoted to Hong Kong, Manhattan and New York as, in the construction of the “high”, “light” and “density” three aspects to achieve the world-class level. Not only the perfect embodiment of Hangzhou as an international metropolis style, to respect the western lake “three-sided Yunshan city side” the historical pattern.
  • The English Corner (西湖十景) by the Western Lake is a special place where you can talk with different people in different languages. Here you can talk about anything, there is no difference between people and people, and the people who communicate here share their own experiences, their own anecdotes and their own perspectives on a given topic. It is simply a place where people can relax and communicate, and where they can learn about each other’s cultures.
  • Dancing fountains (directly in front of the Hyatt Hotel on the west side of the lake). Every 30 minutes starting at 7pm. Very well designed choreography.

Temples, pagodas and churches

  • Baochu Pagoda (保俶塔 Bǎochù Tǎ). A stone pagoda on the Gemstone Hill (宝石山), just off Beishan Road. You can’t go up to the pagoda, but the view and environment of Baoshi Hill is beautiful.
  • Baopu Taoist Temple (抱朴道院 Baopu Daoyuan). It is the only Taoist temple in eastern China, also located on the Gemstone Hill on the north side of the West Lake Scenic Area. It is a large architectural complex composed of different thematic halls. Every year, many Taoist festivals are held here and the temple is also very popular with tourists.
  • Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (圣母无原罪主教座堂 Shengmu Wuyuanzui Zhujiaozuotang) or simply “Catholic Church” (天主堂 Tianzhutang) located at Zhongshan North Rd. 415, near the Tianshuiqiao (天水桥) bus stop. A mass in English is celebrated there every Saturday night.
  • Chongyi Church (崇一堂 Chóngyī táng) is one of the largest Protestant churches in China. Its name, translated into English, means “worship of the one and only true God.” It was inaugurated in 2005 and can accommodate up to 7000 visitors. It welcomes many international visitors and guest preachers like Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham.
  • Confucius Temple – is a mixture of Confucius monument and stelae forest. Hangzhou Confucius Temple is the center of Hangzhou citizens to remember Confucius and the place where the corresponding ceremonies are held. It is located near Wushan Square and has classical gardens.
  • Jade Emperor Hill (皇山公园 Yuhuang Shan Gong Yuan). This is one of the least visited places in Hangzhou, although it is quite central. The main temple at the top of the hill was renovated in August 2008, but it still has a great view of the city and the lake and a restaurant next to it. Another temple is located halfway up the hill. It offers a peaceful retreat and a nice walk, as well as the opportunity to visit one of the few Taoist sites in the area (most other temples in the area are Buddhist). It is located just south of Leifeng Pagoda. The main entrance is not far from the silk museum. If you still participate in the “10 Scenes of the Western Lake” treasure hunt, the one that applies to the top of this hill is “Clouds fly over the Jade Emperor Mountain”.
  • Jingci Temple (净慈寺 Jìngcí Sì). Built in 954, Jingci Temple on Nanshan Road has a huge 10-ton bell inside. The bell on Nanping Road is rung 108 times to mark the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Moreover, it is rung much less often each evening. Jingci Temple is the scene of the legend of the miraculous fountain, which can be seen in the temple grounds.
  • Leifeng Pagoda (雷峰塔). Of the pagoda originally built in 977 on the southeastern shore of the lake, only the crumbling foundations remain, which can be seen from the outside in the glass case that houses them (Pagoda Remains Memorial Museum on the first floor of the pagoda). With escalators, elevators, and an entirely new pagoda sitting on its foundation, there’s not much to see in the pagoda itself; it was last rebuilt in 2000. However, the view of the city skyline is one of the best from here, and some of the small seating areas at the edge of the pagoda offer a nice breeze and a beautiful view of the monument. One of the 10 scenes on the Western Lake is the “Leifeng Pagoda at Dusk”, but it is best viewed from a distance (over the lake) shortly after sunset. Remember that the entrance to Leifeng Pagoda is very expensive (¥40/person, October 2008) and that it is not original, but only reconstructed. You can still take pictures in front of the pagoda.
  • Lingyin Temple (灵隐寺 Língyǐn Sì). This temple located west of the Western Lake is an active Buddhist temple at the foot of a hill and means “heart of the soul retreat”. Nearby, it is possible to take a chairlift to the top of the hill where there is another temple (the ascent is also possible by a simple staircase below the chairlift). This is one of the three oldest and most famous temples in China. Next to it, in the section “The Peak that Flies Away”, hundreds of stone Buddhist statues are carved into the rock.
  • Six Harmonies Pagoda (六和塔 Liùhé Tǎ). Down by the Qiantang River, about a 15 minute cab ride from the lake with light traffic, but it’s a beautiful road that you drive down through all the tunnels and tea fields. In addition to the pagoda itself, which is probably the most striking of all the temples and pagodas in Hangzhou, there is an adjacent park with hundreds of realistic reproductions of the world’s most famous pagodas, complete with mini-trees in front of the pagoda models.
  • The Three Temples of Tianzhu Hill (天竺三寺) – consisting of Fajing Temple, Faxi Temple and Fajing Temple – are located on Tianzhu Hill and are very close to Lingyin Temple, another famous Buddhist temple in Hangzhou. Locals usually prefer to go there for praying or meditating rather than Lingyin Temple, because the place is much quieter than Lingyin Temple, which is always crowded with tourists.
  • Summit that flew from afar (飞来峰 Fēiláifēng). Culminating at 209 meters, it is a purely limestone mountain that stands out clearly from the surrounding sandstone mountains. Large stones scattered at the top are said to resemble animals such as a flying dragon, a running elephant, a crouching tiger and a fleeing monkey. On the other side of the summit, a pavilion called Cui Wei was erected to immortalize the national hero Yue Fei. This man made an important contribution to the war against the Jin tribe during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). In 1942, the pavilion was extensively restored and then destroyed several times. The current pavilion has kept its old face with fresh colors.
  • Yue-Wang Temple (岳王庙 King Yue Temple). It is a very popular temple located on the northwestern shore of the Western Lake. It was originally built in 1221 in memory of General Yue Fei, who lost his life due to political persecution.
  • Fenghuang Temple (凤凰清真寺). One of the oldest mosques in China, the current building at the intersection of Xihu Avenue (西湖大道) and Zhongshan Central Road (中山中路) dates back 700 years to the Yuan Dynasty.

Gardens, forests, nature

  • Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea fields (龙井茶园 Long Jing Cha Yuan). and other tea fields further west. They are best visited during the harvest period, usually from the first week of March until after the May holidays, when everyone is in the fields plucking tea and the tea you can buy is of the best quality (for tea bushes harvested later in the year, the leaves are damaged by rain). Access to the fields is free.
  • Guo Villa (郭庄 Guo Zhuang). This is one of the best preserved traditional private gardens in Hangzhou. Thanks to its incomparable surroundings and the judiciously laid out garden area, it is one of the horticultural masterpieces of Jiangnan (the lower Yangtze River region). The garden develops as you go deeper into it, with regular alternations between narrow, closed spaces and sudden open spaces. The main feature, or spirit, is water. Guo Zhuang’s garden is a magnificent embodiment of the Chinese wisdom of the Tao and the way of nature, skillfully juxtaposing light and shadow, curves and straight lines, yin and yang. The Liang Yi Xuan Tea House (两宜轩 Belvedere of Both Good) is located at a prime vantage point within the garden, between two beautiful “waterways,” one large and one small. Although there are many “ancient villas” to visit in China – and many are similar – this one is also on the shores of the Western Lake. The ¥10 entrance fee deters many people, and one can have tea (¥40) in the villa’s lakeside pavilions, avoiding the tourists.
  • Hangzhou Botanical Gardens (植物园 Zhi Wu Yuan). If you can’t make it to Suzhou, these gardens aren’t bad, especially in the spring and during the short period when the leaves change in the fall. There’s also a peacock farm, some beautiful ponds, and basically a wide range of plants and ecosystems to wander among. The redwood tree that Nixon offered during his visit has since died (2001). There is also a flower nursery nearby.
  • Xixi National Wetland Park. This wetland park, opened in May 2005, is located in the far west of the city, behind the West Bus Station. One of the easiest ways to get there is to take the bus from Huanglong Soccer Stadium. Even though it is a bit far away and the signs have the English translation “Xixi Swamp”, you should not miss this area, as there are not too many tourists at the moment and it is a good way to watch birds and other wildlife. The birds are particularly beautiful and varied.
  • Dreaming of the tiger spring (虎跑梦泉 Hǔpǎomèngquán). A spring as well as a landscape and historical purpose. The area includes wooded paths, streams, bamboo groves, tea houses, historical buildings as well as the spring itself and other sites. The entrance fee is 15 yen. It is possible to buy tea brewed with quality water from the Tiger Spring for about 20 yen a glass.
  • Hangzhou Zoo (杭州动物园 Hángzhōu Dòngwùyuán). It is home to pandas, among other things, and is just south of the lake. The treatment of animals here is poor. Except for a few animals kept in good cages (usually aquatic animals), conditions are terrible for pandas, most bears, and other larger animals such as elephants. Nevertheless, improvements have been made compared to a few years ago, and it is mostly the lack of support through major investments that seems to prevent further evolution towards a better zoo. The entrance fee includes a circus-like animal show with tigers, lions, bears and elephants, which is particularly entertaining for children (although a bit depressing for adults).
  • Zhongshan Park (中山公园 Sun Yat-sen Park). It was once the Western Lake, the temporary imperial palace of the Qing Dynasty. Currently, it is near the Zhejiang Museum and the Xiling Society of Seal Arts. The historical sites of the imperial palace are well protected and easily accessible.
  • Song Dynasty City (宋城 Song Cheng), a Song Dynasty-themed theme park located about 21 minutes from the city center. It offers a classic imperial experience to tourists from all over the world. It is located at 148 Zhijiang Road, opposite the banks of the Qiantang River.

On the north side of Baochu Hill, near the soccer stadium, is the Huanglong Cave (in “Scenes from the Western Lake”, this cave is called “Yellow Dragon Cave in Green Dress”).

  • Liyuan, (礼源). Liyuan is a famous village in Fuyang. It is the original place of paper making. The special local products of Liyuan are bamboo mao and bamboo shoots. Many people come here only to pick bamboo shoots. Besides, there is a famous mountain called Changpu Mountain. This mountain is not very big and high, but it is very beautiful. The bamboo with green leaves are constantly swaying in the wind, and the water is so clean that you can drink it without any problem. Although there are no big restaurants or hotels here, all the villagers are willing to offer a room to visitors. Thus, visitors do not have to worry about accommodation.

Liangzhu

Liangzhu is an area in the suburbs of Hangzhou that is home to a large archaeological site where an ancient city is being excavated. There is a museum nearby.

The Liangzhu culture flourished in the Lake Tai region in 3400-2250 BC, while further west, cities such as Thebes, Nineveh and Mohenjo-daro flourished before the emergence of the first dynasties of the Chinese empire. They are best known today for the high-quality jade artifacts they left behind. In some respects, they were quite advanced for their time, with extensive irrigation systems and a few cities, and their influence seems to have extended as far as Shanxi and Guangdong. Nevertheless, this was a Neolithic (late Stone Age) culture; it must have been the last of its kind in this region.

DNA studies show that the Liangzhu people belonged to the Austronesian ethnic group, which is more closely related to modern Filipinos, Malays, Indonesians and Polynesians than to modern Chinese. This region was probably one of the sources of the immigration of this group to the Pacific. Some historians even believe that this region was the ancestral home of the entire Austronesian group, but this theory is highly controversial.

Things To Do In Hangzhou

  • West Lake Impression (印象西湖). 7:30 pm (winter), a love story directed by Zhang Yimou’s golden trio and performed on the lake with impressive special effects. Each night there are two performances. Entertaining, but not mind-blowing, especially if you’ve seen some of the more recent “Impressions” shows. Admission prices start at ¥260, VIP and boat seats are even more expensive. The show lasts one hour and does not require any language skills. ¥260+.
  • Early morning bike tour. Start from the north side of the lake and ride west to Zhejiang University, then ride down Lingyin Road, past the botanical garden and into Longjing Village. Continue west and south through tea villages, bamboo forests and scenic valleys to the river, which you will cross on your way to the Six Harmonies Pagoda. Return to the southern end of the lake by taking the road right next to Six Harmonies, past the zoo and through the tunnels. Directly along the lake, biking is prohibited for about half of the way, so it’s best to walk if you want to see the lake.
  • Hangzhou Paradise Park, No. 92, Xianghu Road, Xiaoshan District (south bank of Qiantang River, twelve kilometers from West Lake. You can take bus No. K515 to get there). 10am to 5pm (Monday to Friday); 9:30am to 5pm (weekends). It is the largest travel and entertainment center in eastern China. Hangzhou Paradise Park covers an area of 800 mu (about 80,000 square meters) and is the theme entertainment area of the World Leisure Expo Garden. It includes Holland Village Theme Park, Marco Polo’s Tour Theme Park, Ecological Garden, Niton Hot Spring Holiday Village, Conference Center, Tennis Ball Club, Golf Club and Tiancheng Residential Holdings. The 108-meter high tourist tower, the highest in Asia, the roller coaster, the flying trapeze, the zip line, the raiding boat in the stream, the pirate ship, etc. offer thrill and entertainment. There are also exercises like bungee jumping, rock climbing and a space swing. RMB 80.
  • Walk around the lake. It will take you about five hours for a slow walk. The lake is not very big and there are two shortcuts (dike paths) across it. You can also rent small non-motorized boats (¥120/hour for a personal boat with driver or use the ferries) to go around the lake and to the two islands which offer some interesting sites.
  • Go hiking in the mountains. Hangzhou really has the most accessible and interesting hiking areas near every city. Buy a topographic map which will not be hard to find. Suggestion 1: Start by walking up to Baochu Pagoda from Beishan Road. The path passes in front of the pagoda and continues through a rocky climb and beautiful views to a series of stone paths that follow the mountain ridge. Keep walking and relax, you can’t get lost as this mountain is surrounded by main roads. Along the way you will find temples, shrines and caves, as well as a series of tea houses. Stay high if possible and you should emerge at the corner of Shuguang Rd and Beishan Rd in about two hours, with plenty of opportunities to explore further. You can walk or take the bus back (be brave, as long as the bus is heading downtown, it will take you somewhere). The fare is ¥1-3 and buses are frequent) or by cab. Suggestion 2: start at Wushan Square, the southern end of Yan’an Street, and walk through the park built south. Stay on the high ground and walk past the war memorial and the impressive stone carvings down the grand staircase to Wansongling Road. Cross the road, turn left, and after 100 yards enter the forest past a memorial garden. From here, the stone paths head inexorably south to Fenghuang Hill, then southwest to Yuhuang Hill, on top of which there is a large temple and a magnificent view of the Western Lake and the Qiantang River. Head west down to Hupao Road, but watch out for the rough track, and take a bus back to the Hangzhou Zoo bus stop. The trip takes about 4 hours. You will be geographically challenged at times, but you will soon get the hang of it and be better prepared to tackle the huge areas of mountains, forests and tea villages southwest of the lake. To complete the entire route from Xixi Street to Wushan Square, via North Peak, Shi Peak, Wuyun Mountain, Jiuxi, HZ Zoo, Yuhuang, and Fenghuang Mountain, takes a normal fitness group 10-12 hours, with intermediate stops. A slightly different hike is to Meijiawu, where you will spend the night in a guesthouse and return the next day by another route.
  • Visit the temples and pagodas. The most popular are Baochu Pagoda, a tower-shaped pagoda located on a hill on the north side of the lake. This hill is an excellent excursion destination with an excellent view of the lake and the city, several small temples of different religions and the Huanglong Cave on the north side of the hill. The Six Harmonies Pagoda, located on the river bank, is the largest and most imposing. A beautiful walk after the pagoda leads from the river bank behind the pagoda and into the Longjing tea fields near the tea museum. Lingyin Temple, on the west side of the lake, is also a large complex with surprisingly devout worshippers. This area also has many excellent hiking trails and a cable car to Beifeng Mountain (with another temple on top). Finally, the Leifeng Pagoda has been recently rebuilt and has escalators and elevators, while the remains of its foundation can be seen on the main level. Despite the lack of ancient Chinese beauty, the benches and pavilion-like structures surrounding the area are a pleasant place to sit in the open air, and there is also an excellent view in the opposite direction to the Baochu area.
  • Go for a run, too. The lakefront, with its gardens, parks, views and monuments, offers a beautiful setting for running. Join the “Even If It Rains” running group, made up of locals and Laowei, on Tuesdays at 7:30pm. The meeting place is Maya Bar (opposite the stadium, on Shuguang Road, at the traffic light in the bend of Shuguang Rd). Afterwards, there will be a social time. The local Hash House Harriers group is unfortunately disbanding. The Vasque Mountain Run of about 35 km through the mountains, tea fields and along the lake is held in October, and in November there are the Hangzhou Marathon, Half Marathon and smaller courses.
  • Spend the afternoon at a tea house. One of the highlights of a visit to Hangzhou is to go to Manjuelong Village (south of the lake on the hill), Longjin Village or Meijiawu Village (west or further west of the lake) for tea. These villages have been redeveloped in the last two or three years and, although it can get crowded on weekends, they are still great places to spend an afternoon watching the tea harvest. The teahouses all serve very local dishes – pickled vegetables, chicken broth, etc. – but often there is not much to eat. – But often there is no menu, the owner will suggest what you should eat. Make sure you know the price of the dishes before you go.
  • Purchasing – see the “Purchasing” section for more information.
  • The West Lake Golf Club, located near the Six Harmonies Pagoda and Songcheng, was designed by Jack Nicklaus.
  • Boat trips on the Hangzhou-Beijing Canal are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Ice skating. Hangzhou has an Olympic-sized commercial ice skating rink located in the MIXC shopping center in the new Central Business District, near the Qintang River. The World Ice Arena is open 365 days a year from 10:30am and closes at 10pm. On weekdays, unlimited skating is available for the entrance fee. Before 5:00 pm, the price is ¥50 and after 5:30 pm ¥60. On weekends, a 2-hour session costs ¥70. The price includes the rental of new Canadian skates, the use of lockers and all safety equipment (elbow pads, knee pads, wrist guards and helmets). Professional coaching is available at the school’s reservation desk. The Pro Shop offers a wide range of figure skating equipment and clothing as well as some new skating products. It is located on the 4th floor of the mall. The management and some of the general staff speak English and Chinese. The rink is prepared every two hours by a new Zamboni Model 552 electric machine. The environment is elegant and clean. Inside, there is a small café for snacks. The rink has a doctor on duty who can help with minor injuries. The entire rink’s cooling system is dramatically presented with cool blue lighting and real-time information can be viewed on an LCD screen.
  • Go to a bookstore. There are several bookstores in Hangzhou. Xinhua Bookstore, located on Jiefang Road, near JieBai Department Store, is the oldest. Boku Bookstore, located at the intersection of WenEr Road and HanCheng North Road. It is a paradise for book lovers. PageOne bookstore, located in MIXC shopping center, also has a fairly large selection of English books.
  • Visit the Moganshan Mountains in the north to recharge your batteries.
  • Car Tour. A recent addition to West Lake is the presence of annoying electric cars that drive in circles. For at least half of the trip, they take the same path as pedestrians and cyclists. While they politely announce to keep their distance, they also have a nice horn and don’t hesitate to use it. Since the addition of this tourist attraction, it is less fun to walk around the lake, but tourists are happy to be driven around – it doesn’t take that long, you get information about the tour over the loudspeaker, and it is also cheap. There are also options at ¥4 per stop, but most cars are full the whole way. The only advantage of this “attraction” is that they only run clockwise.¥40.

Food & Restaurants In Hangzhou

Hangzhou is one of the best places to eat in China, and the local cuisine is characterized by pork and seafood dishes rather than beef and lamb, typically found in the northern and western regions of China.

Typical Hangzhou specialties include leongpo rou, a piece of extremely fatty pork in syrupy sauce, and cuyu, a fish in vinegar sauce. There are also some typical local snacks, such as steamed buns, dried xiaoshan turnips and pickled vegetable noodles. In Wushan Square, there is a wide selection of dishes, the prices are reasonable and the quality is good.

If you don’t like Hangzhou cuisine, there are many excellent Sichuan, Shanxi and Xinjiang restaurants throughout the city. There are also a few western restaurants, but they are rather expensive.

Budget

If you are looking for a cheap restaurant, even near the lake, just go to an alley and get something to eat at a small restaurant or street stall. You should judge for yourself the hygiene of the food, but Hangzhou is quite civilized in this regard compared to other Chinese cities in general. These restaurants are all pretty similar.

If you like dumplings and have just walked down the north side of Baochu Hill (past the cave and seeing the soccer stadium), one option is to walk to Tianmushan Road via Shuguang Road and Hangda Road (0.5 blocks east and 1 block north). At the corner of Tianmushan and Hangda Road, there are two good dumpling restaurants with English menus (one is upstairs from the other). They offer many types of dumplings, some of them entirely vegetable. A portion costs between ¥6 and ¥18.

  • Zhōngshān nánlù (中山南路) This is one of the great street food strips in China. At night, it is a must see and taste. It starts at the Drum Tower, a short walk from the end of the old Gaoyin Street.
  • Zhīwèiguān Restaurant on Rénhé lù (仁和路) is well known among Hangzhou Chinese. It offers a wide variety of cheap and traditional dishes. English is not spoken, orders are taken with floor cards, and the atmosphere is lively and noisy.

Mid-range

For American junk food, Hangzhou has many KFCs, several McDonald’s and more and more Pizza Huts all over the city, especially near the lake. If you like Pizza Hut but don’t want to pay Pizza Hut prices, there is a much cheaper Pizza Hut “clone” at You Dian Road, at the corner of Hubin Road, right next to the lake.

Other good restaurants, less touristy than Lou Wai Lou, are located near the Western Lake, usually east of Hubin Road, in the Yan’an Road area.

For Xinjiang, you should try the Jade Dragon Xinjiang Special Restaurant (龙翠阁新疆特色餐厅) at the Handnice Hotel (originally the Tiandu Hotel on Zhongshan Bei Road), on the east side of the Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Sports Stadium. Some say that the Xinjiang Restaurant on the 5th floor of Sanrui Tower (三瑞大厦) on Qingchun Road is better and more authentic, and that many Xinjiang people eat at the Xinjiang Pamir Muslim Restaurant (新疆帕米尔餐厅) in the eastern part of the city.

  • Chuan Wei Guan – For hot pot, this citywide chain (5 restaurants throughout the city) is the most appropriate, and this hot pot place also has some good Sichuan dishes.
  • Grandma’s Kitchen (外婆家) has expanded to nearly 20 locations in Hangzhou, all of which are filled to the brim with customers. There is a comprehensive illustrated map and great prices. Not all sites offer the same selection or prices. One of the best is located on Ma Cheng street, between Tian Mu Shan and Wen San streets, near the Boku bookstore. Another one is near the lake. Unfortunately, Grandma’s Kitchen suffers a bit from its own popularity, so long lines are unavoidable and service is irregular (forgotten dishes and such). It’s best to call ahead and try to reserve a table to avoid a long wait.
  • Tianlutang Tea House (天祿堂) is located in Xixi Wetlands Park. It offers a wide variety of local dishes. It is necessary to make reservations in advance.
  • Zhang Sheng Ji (张生记), 33 East Qingchun Road. Isolated, but also huge and now has branches all over China.
  • Green Tea (绿茶), 83 Longjing Lu, opposite the back door of Zhejiang Bingguan. 0571-8788 8022. Just around the corner from the Tea Museum is one of Hangzhou’s most popular Chinese restaurants. It’s a hit with young visitors, but the food is worth it. And there’s something inexplicably charming about sitting over water lily leaves on wooden platforms on a hot summer day and biting into the delicious frozen desserts.
  • Kuiyuan Museum (奎元馆), Kuiyuan Museum is one of the best local noodle restaurants in Hangzhou. Famous for its long history, Kuiyuan Restaurant has become a local brand and an icon of Hangzhou. For more than 100 years, Kuiyuan Restaurant has been offering its customers a wide variety of noodle dishes. Despite the simplicity of the ingredients, Yangchun noodles have long been considered the tastiest dish for both Hangzhou residents and tourists. If you visit Hangzhou and want to taste the local cuisine, a visit to this restaurant is a good choice to consider.

Splurge

Chinese

  • “Mingjia seafood workshops(名家海鲜工坊)” is a famous seafood restaurant in Hangzhou, built in 2008. It is located at the intersection of Tianmushan Road and Huanghushan Road, near Huanglong Stadium. For a modern restaurant, the layout is very comfortable. It has 20 boxes, and each of them can invite the family or the chef to a meal. Seafood is its special feature, as a restaurant with the largest seafood entrees, the amount of food it offers is guaranteed. The different seafood makes this restaurant can have a strong advantage to compete with any restaurant. This restaurant belongs to MIngren Mingjia Food Limited Company, which is one of the biggest restaurants in Hangzhou. So the degree of fame is protected by such a big company.
  • Lou Wai Lou (楼外楼) (located directly by the lake on an island across Beishan Road) is Hangzhou’s most famous restaurant, it has been in existence for over 150 years and was visited by President Nixon during his first trip to China. Lou Wai Lou also has a second establishment called “Shan Wai Shan”, located right next to the botanical garden. “One of the specialties of this restaurant is sweet and sour fish from the western lake, and another must-try dish is mendicant chicken, wrapped in fresh lotus leaves and cooked over a fire. The chicken meat is soft and tender and falls off the bones easily. The restaurant is full every night, so reservations are highly recommended. edit
  • Oriental Favorites Restaurant (彩云轩), Beishan Road (just past the Broken Bridge). A good substitute for Lou Wai Lou, with an equally good view and slightly lower (but still expensive) prices.
  • Hubin28, Hyatt Hotel, 28 Hubin Road. One of the best Chinese restaurants in Hangzhou. Hubin 28 serves good food from all over China in a restaurant designed with a mix of modern decoration and traditional furniture. It has received good reviews in many Hong Kong food magazines. A dinner costs over ¥200 per person.
  • Ming Ren Ming Jia(名人名家)is located on WenEr Road, it is a new restaurant in Hangzhou that has developed rapidly. It caters to people of different levels, not only ordinary people can have delicious lunch there, but also satisfy some people’s vanity. It has many kinds of food, the characteristic of this restaurant is the queue and a variety of Chinese food.There is also a bookstore called Bo Ku bookstore near Ming Ren Ming Jia.

Japanese

There are many Japanese restaurants, many of which offer the “all-you-can-eat-and-drink” package for 120 to 200 renminbi. This is a good deal, considering that sake and plum wine are included, and a good way to start a weekend evening.

  • Fu Gang, Tiyuchang Road (near Wulin Square). The most famous Japanese restaurant in Hangzhou, although it does not offer an all-you-can-eat menu. There is however a sushi train and menus, and the sushi is fresh and delicious.
  • Mu Zhi Lan, Nanshan Rd (next to Bernini Coffee Shop) is one of the best, especially in terms of location. The all-you-can-eat deal costs about 180 yen, but the seating and view are excellent, as is the food.
  • Honglin Teppanyaki, 2/F Modern International Plaza, Yugu Road and Tianmushan Road. This new teppanyaki restaurant is clean and spacious, with large tables around the hotplates where 10 to 20 people can sit at the same time. It has everything for the price of one, including sake and beer. However, the “butter” used is quite suspect and you are in a hurry to eat everything on your plate. If you take something from the all-you-can-eat menu and you don’t like it, you’ll have a hard time getting rid of it. The staff does not speak English.

South-East Asian

  • Banana Leaf, Changsheng Rd (2 crossings north of the Hyatt on the east side of the lake). Southeast Asian specialties. Reservations are recommended on weekends. Despite the pleasant atmosphere and good quality of food, many customers find the food unconventional.
  • Curry Bistro, Wangtang Rd (south of Wenyi Road, near Wumei shopping center) is a small family restaurant specializing in Hong Kong and Thai dishes.
  • Y&Y Cafe, 322 Wen San Xi Lu (almost in front of the entrance of Dang Gui Apartments) is a small establishment that serves Asian food at reasonable prices.

Western

  • The Vineyard, Zhongtian Mansion, 173 Yugu Road, +86 0571 8763 2388. With a menu created by chef Rueben Marley, the Vineyard is the only expat establishment in Hangzhou to serve authentic American pub food, such as Philly Cheese steak sandwiches, bacon melt burgers and New York-style pizzas.
  • L’Amour French Restaurant. 87 Shu Guang Lu (right of Youtou bar), +86 57186592191. is a French brasserie that serves exclusively homemade dishes in a Shanghai-Belle-époque style atmosphere. Closed every Thursday.
  • Café at the Hyatt, Hyatt Hotel, 28 Hubin Road. Opened in January 2005, it is considered one of Hangzhou’s best upscale buffet offerings. For about 148 yen for lunch and 198 yen for dinner, the choice is vast.
  • Provence, 1 Baishaquan Rd. A restaurant in Hangzhou serving fresh French and Mediterranean dishes. Good selection of wines, spirits and cocktails. All-day brunch on weekends.
  • Angelo’s, on Lane #2 off Baochu Road (across from the 88 Club, NW). An Italian restaurant and bar with a New York vibe that offers pizza, pasta, burgers and more.
  • Caribbean BBQ, Yan’an Road (near Wushan Square). It’s not very authentic, but it’s a buffet restaurant that will probably leave you with a full stomach at least.
  • Peppino, Shangri-La Hotel. American style Italian restaurant – pizzas cooked in an authentic stone oven, steaks, pasta.
  • L96 Guangxian Cafe, Pingfeng Road, (east of Zhongshan Zhong Rd), is a small restaurant with a modern atmosphere that serves well-prepared Italian food and homemade ice cream.

Indian

  • Haveli, 77 Nanshan Rd. Indoor and outdoor dining. Expensive and small dishes.
  • Indian cuisine, 63 Nanshan Rd. All-you-can-drink buffet on Saturday and Sunday nights. ¥98, excellent service and delicious food. Serves pretty good masala dosas.

Coffee & Drinks in Hangzhou

The drink of choice in Hangzhou is tea, as the local Longjing (龙井, also called Lung Ching, literally “dragon fountain”) is the most famous green tea in China. Longjing is divided into seven classes, the top two of which are Superior (旗枪 qiqiang) and Special (雀舌 queshe), with the others numbered 1-5. The prices of the best varieties are extremely high. In 2005, 100 grams of Emperor Qian Long’s personal trees from the Qing Dynasty sold for more than 17,000 U.S. dollars, but a few cups at a local tea house should cost no more than a few dozen yuan. There is a wholesale market in Zhuangtang, but most of the tea comes from trees outside the “special” fields of Hangzhou. Prices range from ¥15 to ¥1000/500g, depending on a lot of variables.

Traditionally, Longjing tea is best served with spring water from Hupao (虎跑, “Tiger Run”), which is located next to the Western Lake. You may have to buy the tea from a tea store in Hupao instead of bringing it yourself. A cup costs about ¥20, but you will receive a thermos of hot water in exchange. Don’t forget to mix the leaves with bottled water, as the wastewater from construction projects brings other chemicals than water into the rivers.

Cafés

Hangzhou’s cafes are generally of a Hangzhou standard and do not always resemble a Western cafe. Establishments like Liangan and UBC serve Western food, quite inedible to a Western palate. The coffee is expensive and is usually prepared over a candle, more for curiosity than for the quality of the coffee. A few “international” style cafes are mentioned here.

  • Costa Coffee at West Lake Tiandi serves coffee drinks, sandwiches and pastries in a pleasant atmosphere and with free WLAN. Try to grab one of the incredibly comfortable couches.
  • Linglong Town, located on Nanshan Road, west of most bars. It serves great smoothies, excellent for hot days. The restaurant also offers many kinds of tea and tasty Taiwanese dishes.
  • Jamaica Coffee in West Lake Tiandi is owned by a Spanish company and offers quality coffee and tea as well as some snacks.
  • Fotoyard, Nanshan Rd and Qianwangci, is run by a group of photographers who know how to photograph better than they know how to run a cafe, but the pizza is good, and the coffee Illy. Weather permitting, it’s an outdoor cafe and in the spring, it’s very pleasant.
  • Starbucks, Wulin Square / Hangzhou Tower / Hangda Rd / Yanan Rd / West Lake Tiandi / Hyatt Hotel / Hu Shu Nan Rd / Hu Bin Rd / and others.
  • Chamate, Wulin Square / Yellow Dragon Stadium / West Lake Tiandi (south), is a Taiwanese version of Starbucks, where tea is the drink of choice instead of coffee. It’s a great place to enjoy a wide selection of green and oolong teas from the extensive illustrated menu. Each tea is served in its own distinctive teapot, accompanied by plenty of hot (mineral) water. If tea is not enough for you, you can also enjoy the “Shaved Ice Red Bean” dessert, “Stinky Tofu” and Wi-Fi access.

Shopping In Hangzhou

  • Hangzhou China Silk Town on Tiyuchang Road. You can also buy silk in other places in the city, but most of the time it is only the fabric. The store is open from 08:00 to 17:00 and is located near the Zhejiang International Hotel. Assiduous shopping!
  • Night market (夜市) on Yan’an Road, near Pinghai Road (near Wushan) every night. You’ll find Mao souvenirs, jewelry, paper fans, pipes, luggage, handicrafts and other things found in most Chinese cities. Pirated DVDs and counterfeit handbags are also offered for sale. In the silk market, many of these screen printed paintings/embroideries are also available. Negotiate diligently – many stalls sell the same thing, so be prepared to go. Be careful when buying “antiques” as they are likely new, and beads. Often the process of growing pearls is very short, and the “pearl” is actually a plastic bead with only a thin cultured skin.
  • Electronic markets(电子产品市场) – In the west-east direction, northwest of Hangzhou, on Wensan Road, several covered, multi-story electronic shopping malls offer all kinds of electronic devices, including desktop computers, laptops, computer software (licensed and unlicensed), cell phones, MP3 players, and hundreds of peripherals and storage media. Pirated DVDs and computer games are also offered, and if you’re obviously a foreigner, the salespeople will shout “DVD! DVD!” to encourage you to rummage through their offerings.
  • Bird and Flower Markets – Several in the city, Gucui Rd and Wener West Rd to the west, another in Jichang Rd to the north, the most interesting is next to Wushan Square in the city center. This market is spread over 3 or 4 floors and is full of pets and plants. There are also sections selling traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), with dried snakes and seahorses, giant dried mushrooms and other strange things.
  • Tea – Dragon Well/Longjing tea is famous throughout China and is worth buying if you like green tea. If, after Hangzhou, you are staying with a Chinese host somewhere in China, a small case (or two) of premium Longjing tea would be an excellent gift; keep in mind, however, that it usually costs about ¥300 per case (more at tourist stands). Longjing Village and Hangzhou Tea Fields (southwest of West Lake) is the area where Longjing tea is grown. Besides the fact that a visit is worthwhile, if only for the charm of the landscape, one can also buy tea there – fresh, if desired, from the pluckers’ bags. Tea is sold in many places in the city, for example by informal vendors and small stores that can be easily identified by the boxes inside or the names of the stores such as “西湖龙井茶” (West Lake Dragon Well Tea), as well as grocery stores and supermarket chains. Because of the fame of Longjing tea, there are also counterfeit and inferior varieties. If you are inexperienced in buying tea, buy from a reputable store or seek advice from a knowledgeable local.
  • Clothing – There are literally hundreds of clothing and shoe stores in Hangzhou. The largest concentration of them is in Yan’an Rd and especially in Wulin Rd, so that a straight line of clothing stores pile up on top of each other between Wushan Square and Wulin Square. Another popular clothing store is “Song Mu Chang” (松木场), north of the lake on Shuguang Road. In all these stores, you have to haggle and you can often find a lot of counterfeit clothes. In department stores (for example in Hangzhou Tower between Yan’an and Nanshan streets), you will find authentic merchandise. If you really want to buy clothes, you will find cheaper stores scattered all over the city, as you move away from the lake.
  • Landscape paintings – There are several places in the city where you can buy Chinese landscape paintings, including near Wushan Square and on the south/east side of the lake.
  • Carrefour has a supermarket in the downtown area, east of West Lake (on South Yan’an Lu). In addition to its large selection of food products, it has a larger selection of Western foods like cheese and bread than most other grocery stores in the city. This means that there is only one aisle of Western brands and foods. Don’t expect a huge selection. This is also a good place to buy Western spirits. French gin costs only ¥55 per liter, Captain Morgan rum costs about ¥75 and Cointreau costs ¥135. Why these prices are only about half the price before tax escapes this writer.
  • Trust-Mart (好又多) is a supermarket chain that Western visitors may know as similar to Wal-Mart. Located in the shopping center near the Yellow Dragon Sports Stadium, north of the West Lake and Baochu Pagoda, Trust-Mart has a large food department with fresh meat, seafood, and produce, as well as the usual selection of pre-packaged food products.
  • Bikes of all price ranges and quality are available in bike stores scattered throughout Hangzhou. With the exception of the big chain stores, haggling is the order of the day and you usually get what you pay for (the cheaper bikes quickly start to rust and break). The covered electric bike market at the corner of Wener and Xueyuan Lu has a huge selection of electric bikes/scooters and batteries, and Trust-Mart (see above) also has a reasonable selection of bikes and a small selection of electric bikes/scooters. Any bike, no matter how valuable, will be stolen if left unattended and unsecured. Buy at least one lock (two for scooters and expensive bikes) to protect your purchase. For scooters, a locking frame may also be necessary to protect the battery from theft. A bike club in Hangzhou.
  • The new MIXC shopping mall, located on the Qintang River in the new Central Business District, offers a huge selection of luxury brands like LV, Armani, Ferragamo and others, but also the best market of imported food products from Hangzhou. “Ole” is located on the B2 level of the mall, and you should be prepared to spend a lot of money. The movie complex on levels 3, 4 and 5 has 12 movie theaters, including the largest of the two IMAX theaters in the city. The 4th floor also houses an Olympic-sized skating arena, open daily from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm. Admission prices range from ¥50 for unlimited ice time on normal weekdays (¥60 after 5:30 p.m.) to ¥70 for 2-hour sessions on weekends and holidays. The price includes the rental of new Canadian skates, the use of a free locker and all safety equipment (elbow pads, wrist guards, knee pads and helmets). The rink is modern, clean and has a well-trained and friendly staff. The skating school is inexpensive and entirely geared towards beginners. The 30m x 60m rink is prepared every two hours with a Zamboni machine.

“IN TIME Shopping Center”: The intimate shopping center is located in the center of Hangzhou, on Yanan Road. The intimate mall has been praised by the public for its prices and services. The second floor is the cosmetic sales floor. The second to sixth floors are all clothing stores. The second floor is dedicated to the sale of fashionable brands.

Nightlife In Hangzhou

As far as bars go, Nanshan Road should keep all visitors busy all night. Shuguang Road, an up-and-coming neighborhood, has several old and new bars that are a bit less hectic than those on Nanshan Road, including Maya Bar, the sold-out You To, the rock music bar Travellers and many others. Shuguang Road stretches from the northwest corner of the lake to the north. Huanglong Football Stadium is full of dance and performance bars all around the building.

Bars

  • JZ Club, 6 Liuying Rd (Nanshan Road). One of Hangzhou’s most sophisticated bars, with live jazz performances every night and a selection of beers, cocktails and wines.
  • Cool Bar” (on West Lake Ave near Wushan Square). Has Budweiser for only ¥5/bottle
  • Maya Bar, located at 94 Baishaquan Rd and Shuguang Rd, is a popular bar for expats, offering large portions of drinks and a simple bar menu.
  • 1944′Shuguang Rd. Good atmosphere with cheap beer and quiet live music.
  • You To, 85 Shuguang Rd. On the left of the French restaurant L’Amour. One of the most popular bars in Hangzhou, run by a man who has already made several bars popular. You To is very lively every day with local drinkers. Loud live music, lively atmosphere and cheerful and friendly staff.
  • 7 Club, Shuguang Road (behind the flower shop in front of the Yellow Dragon Hotel). A small local establishment popular with expatriates and foreign students. The atmosphere is generally quiet and the place specializes in hard-to-find imported bottled beers.
  • Shamrock Irish Pub, Jiefang Rd and Jianguo Rd. More of a sports bar, but without TV. Good pub food on the menu and live music during the week.
  • Casablanca (on the Westlake). A good place, centrally located, where you can feel at home.
  • Reggae Bar (Xueyuan Road, just north of Wensan Road). An old favorite in Hangzhou. A big, cheerful bar with lots of reggae music and a strong Jamaican motif. Draft beer costs ¥22.
  • Tree Bar (near KFC in Beigan Yi Yuan. ). A small establishment that is the main meeting point for foreigners living in the Xiaoshan area, famous for its cheap beer and outdoor seating.

Nightclubs

Hangzhou has several large, popular clubs, which generally cater to an undemanding house audience, although they often host famous DJs. Later in the night, tables are hard to come by and reservations are usually not possible. A tip for service may help you get a table. It may take some time to get your drinks. Therefore, if you order a bottle of liquor and a mixer for the table, you will reduce the wait time for drinks. Clubs are generally safe, but bouncers are inefficient, so avoid trouble.

  • SOS, Huanglong Road and Tianmushan Road. SOS is the big boy of Hangzhou and it is really huge, with modern sound and light, and it is always full. SOS has fewer regulars and more clubbers from outside.
  • G+, in the Wahaha building on Qingchun Road. The most sophisticated of the big clubs, which caters to the slightly more affluent 20-30 year olds.
  • Coco, Wangtang Road and Wensan West Road. Smaller club on the west side, which attracts many expatriates. The music is rather alternative for Hangzhou and there are usually foreign DJs.
  • Grape Crystal Bottle,If you are thirsty, there are many places to get some drinks.In the shelves of the supermarket, put a lot of a great collection of beautiful things, do not count the drink, apple juice, orange juice, black tea ice, green tea … … A name that can not hide the greed. Crystal Grape bottle is thin and large, about 20 centimeters high, there is a bottle with a green plastic paper pattern, at the top has a small grape, opening the mouth, seems to occur in satisfied with itself, and seemed to tell me what.

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