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Heavenly Hangzhou

If Hangzhou were a woman, she would be unstoppable. She’s been a muse for countless artists and poets, and she’s got real depth, too. In fact, Hangzhou is so beautiful that it’s a little hard to take her all in at times. It’s easy to see how Marco Polo, the first Westerner to visit this part of China, fell head-over-heels in love, praising her as the most beautiful city in the world.

The West Lake is a definite must-see, as it forms the basis for many Chinese garden designs that still exist today. Take a boat ride and lose yourself in the Lesser Yingzhou Isle before you’re found again inside one of Hangzhou’s famous temples. Six Harmonies Pagoda, Lingyin Temple, Leifeng Pagoda… take your pick!

It’s fair to say that if you ever get bored of the picturesque beauty of Hangzhou, you may as well hang up your travelling boots – as there’s nothing more that can impress you.

Hangzhou’s Top 10

10. Su Causeway Why do bridges make everyone get all romantic? If love doesn’t make you squeamish, hold hands and watch as the bridges light up each night.

5. Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea Fields Visit in March and May to see locals picking tea.

9. Tiger Running Dream Spring (Hupaomeng Quan) One of the best parks in Hangzhou is filled with teahouses, pretty trees and pavilions.

4. Six Harmonies Pagoda Bordering tea fields and a beautiful park, this is the most prominent temple in town.

8. Solitary Island (Gu Shan) The largest island lake and a great place just to wander and explore.

3. Three Pools Mirroring the Moon Possibly the best name of any attraction anywhere. You’ll have to see it to believe it.

7. Lingyin Temple Make sure you check out the Buddhist statues.

2. Jade Spring: Lies inside the Hangzhou Botanical Garden and comes with an added mystery surrounding its background.

6. Wushan Square The best views in the city come complete with trials and treks to keep you busy.

1. West Lake One of the most beautiful sights around.

Hangzhou History

  • Leifeng Pagoda – A truly magical site, the crumbling foundation is all that remains of the original building, which was erected in the year 977.
  • Lingyin Temple – This active Buddhist temple is one of the three most ancient temples in China.
  • Lesser Yingzhou Isle – Built in the early 1600s, this is the largest island on West Lake.
  • King Qian's Memorial – Burial site of five kings of the Wuyue Kingdom.
  • Jade Emperor Hill – This historical site offers tourists the rare chance to view a Daoist temple.

Hangzhou Art & Culture

  • Zhejiang Museum – Take the opportunity to delve deeper into Hangzhou’s culture, history and local arts.
  • China Tea Museum – This unique museum offers a look into the traditions of tea drinking in China.
  • Huqinyutang Medicine Museum – The perfectly preserved architecture of this building is home to fascinating exhibits
  • China Academy of Art – This is the most prestigious university of Fine Art in China.
  • Song Dynasty Town – This magnificent location boasts rapturous song and dance performances.

Hangzhou Shopping

  • Hangzhou China Silk Town – This is the best place to find silk and related products at a bargain price.
  • MIXC Mall – This new shopping haven is home to famous brands such as Armani and Ferragamo.
  • Yan'an Road and Wulin Road – These roads are home to a large concentration of stores and boutiques.
  • Night Market – Just off Yan'an Road, travellers will find an evening market that is filled to the brim with Mao memorabilia, luggage, handicrafts and jewellery.
  • Longjing Village and Tea Fields – This is the best place to purchase Dragon Well tea.

Gay & Lesbian Hangzhou

  • Hangzhou Private Gay Tour – Purple Dragon offers private tours specially tailored to the LGBT community.
  • Jundu Bar – This crowded gay bar offers the same spine-tingling excitement of a raucous frat or sorority party.
  • East Palace League – This is a massage parlour offering professional oil and deep-tissue massages.
  • Xin Ding Ling Sauna – This sauna is one of the best in the area.
  • Ramada Plaza Hangzhou – This is one of the best gay-friendly hotels in the region.

Hangzhou Outdoor

  • Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea Fields – The best time to visit these fields is from the first week of March till May, during the harvest season.
  • Hangzhou Botanical Gardens – These gardens are home to beautiful floral specimens.
  • Dreaming of the Tiger Spring – Enjoy the delights of this natural spring, with several historic structures.
  • Xixi National Wetlands Park – This is a great place to experience local wildlife.
  • Guo's Villa – Don’t miss out on this traditional private garden.

Hangzhou Sport

  • Enjoy a scenic morning bike ride starting from the north side of the lake.
  • Go on an exhilarating mountain hike along the winding stone paths.
  • Take the opportunity to show off your skills at the Olympic-sized ice-skating rink in the MIXC Mall.
  • Learn tai chi chuan from one of the local instructors.
  • Join the "Even If It Rains" local group of runners for a fantastic workout.

Hangzhou Events

West Lake Lotus Flower Festival is a traditional celebration that takes place in July or August.

September washes up the Qiantang Tide Watching Festival.

The Chinese calendar dictates that the Hangzhou Lantern Festival is held on the 15th day of the first lunar month.

Pop your top button in preparation for the Food Festival held in October or November

When To Go

Hangzhou is beautiful all year round, but summertime is when the trees really show their stuff. However, the temperatures are quite hot at this time of year, averaging 30°C (86°F).

Hangzhou’s winters are never absolutely freezing – in a literal sense, at any rate. Even in January the average temperature is around 3°C (37°F).

Spring and autumn are the most pleasant seasons if you don’t like temperature extremes.

Getting Around

If you can’t speak Chinese, make sure you catch a bus with a ‘Y’ before the number. These are tourist buses and the easiest way to see all the sights.

Taxis are another good option and, unlike in a lot of cities, the drivers actually use the meters. However, they generally can’t speak English, so you’ll need to point on a map or learn a little of the local lingo.

It’s easy, cheap and fun to hire a bike. You even get a lock included, so you can leave your wheels in the knowledge they’ll still be there when you get back!

General Information

Hangzhou consistently lives up to a reputation as one of the most scenic destinations in China. As a city with a very real and authentic history that dates back over 1,000 years, the Yellow River Delta capital of Zhejiang Province is a welcome break from the wave of super-urban Special Economic Zones that have sprung up out of nowhere across China over the last three decades. As such, Hangzhou has a veritable treasure trove of sites to explore.

It begins with picturesque West Lake, whose natural beauty is predominantly to blame for Hangzhou's status as a looker. A vast network of shrines, temples and historic landmarks line the circumference of the lake, which underwent a recent restoration and cosmetic facelift in order to better serve the metro populace of 6.4 million, not to mention a new generation of visitors to the city. With sites that date back over a millenium, a lively urban scene and nearby tea plantations to explore, Hangzhou has a lot of charm to dish out.

Attractions & Activities

Attractions

  • Lingyin Temple
  • Jingci Temple
  • Xixi National Wetland Park
  • Hangzhou Zoo
  • Baochu Pagoda
  • Activities

  • Hangzhou Food Festival
  • West Lake Carnival
  • Hangzhou Silk Cultural Festival
  • Hangzhou Lantern Festival
  • Longjing Tea Plantations
  • Restaurant & Nightlife

    Restaurants

  • Haveli
  • Zhi Wei Guan
  • Shang Palace
  • Tianwaitian
  • Shan Wai Shan
  • Nightlife

  • G Plus
  • Paradise Rock
  • Kana's Bar
  • Absolute House
  • Shamrock Irish Pub
  • Climate

    Humid and subtropical Hangzhou experiences humid summers and mild, cool winters. Occasional typhoon rainstorms do strike the city between June and September.

    • Winter (December to February) 2-11°C
    • Spring (March to April) 7-20°C
    • Summer (May to September) 17-33°C
    • Fall (October to November) 9-23°C


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    Hotels in Hangzhou

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    From US$46

    1 Orange Hotel Moganshan Hangzhou

    3 stars
    5.0 / 5 1 reviews

    No. 252 Moganshan Road Map

    Free Broadband Internet Access to Alll Guests

    Orange Hotel Moganshan Hangzhou offers quality accommodation and friendly service for travellers visiting Hangzhou. It is surrounded by tourist attractions such as Xinyi Avenue Commercial Street... More

    A great hotel.
    The room was perfect and the front desk staff very helpful (after having a laugh as to whether we understood each other). The only negative is that it is a fair distance from the lake and although...
    1 Dec 2013
    From US$37

    2 Hangzhou Bokai Westlake Hotel

    3 stars
    3.5 / 5 4 reviews

    No.32 Qingnian Rd, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou Map

    With comfortable accommodations positioned close to West Lake and major points of interest, Hangzhou Bokai Westlake Hotel creates an ideal starting point for travellers in this eastern China city.... More

    Good value for money
    We rented a double room with computer. The room had a comfortable bed and a nice bathroom with shower that worked well. The size of the room was not big, but quite ok for two persons and the...
    20 Dec 2014
    From US$92

    3 Crystal Orange Hotel Hangzhou

    4 stars
    4.6 / 5 15 reviews

    No. 122 Qingbo Street, Nanshan Road Map

    Free Broadband Internet Access to All Guests

    The Crystal Orange Hotel Hangzhou welcomes you with its peaceful accommodation and unmatched services, providing an ideal destination in Hangzhou. GeneralYou can go cycling around the West Lake to... More

    From US$106

    4 Oakwood Residence Hangzhou

    5 stars
    5.0 / 5 2 reviews

    No 28 Jiao gong Road Map

    Book 7 Days In Advance & Save 35%

    Featuring a luxurious haven set near key commercial centres, business hubs and tourist areas, Oakwood Residence Hangzhou makes an ideal base for tourists staying exploring this part of China. While... More

    it was close to perfect.
    when I was arrived, there was not available single room which I reserved, so they made upgrade immediately. room was quite a big and clean. the room had almost everything and water, one can of...
    27 Apr 2015
    From US$187

    5 Hyatt Regency Hangzhou

    5 stars
    5.0 / 5 1 reviews

    28 Hu Bin Rd Map

    Includes full breakfast & late check-out

    Looking over the iconic West Lake, Hyatt Regency Hangzhou offers professional service and quality amenities. This property is located close to Impression West Lake and Thousands Year's Feeling of... More

    From US$125

    6 InterContinental HANGZHOU

    5 stars
    5.0 / 5

    Jiefang East Road No 2,Zhejiang Map

    With luxurious accommodations and top-notch facilities, InterContinental Hotel Hangzhou offers corporate and leisure travellers a suitable base while visiting Hangzhou. Visitors can learn of the... More

    7 GreenTree Alliance Hangzhou West Lake Qingchun Road Hotel

    3 stars
    Not yet reviewed

    No. 10, Xinhua Road Map

    Greentree Alliance Hangzhou West Lake Qingchun Road Hotel is a cosy hotel that offers comfortable spaces located two kilometres from Hangzhou city centre and various local attractions. In this... More

    From US$68

    8 Huachen International Hotel Hangzhou

    4 stars
    5.0 / 5 1 reviews

    No 25 Pinghai Road Map

    Book 7 Days in Advance & Save 10%

    The Hua Chen International Hotel Hangzhou is a charming and friendly hotel that offers unsurpassed service and comfortable accommodation to make your stay a memorable one. GeneralThis hotel... More

    From US$81

    9 BEST WESTERN Hangzhou Meiyuan Hotel

    4 stars
    3.7 / 5

    511 Mo Gan Shan Road Map

    Boasting a central location, this BEST WESTERN Meiyuan Hotel Hangzhoul is a perfect venue for both business and leisure travellers. GeneralThe fully equipped function room is an ideal place to... More

    From US$120

    10 Tea Boutique Hotel Hangzhou

    4 stars
    4.0 / 5

    124 Shuguang Road Map

    FREE Fruit Basket & Chinese Kung Fu Tea Set

    Ideally situated along the West area in Hangzhou, Tea Boutique Hotel Hangzhou is a recommendable place for leisure travellers. A high key building, this hotel smartly combined Western and Eastern... More

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