Hangzhou (杭州; ɦaŋ-tsei in Wu, Hángzhōu in Mandarin) is in Zhejiang Province, China. It is one of the most important tourist cities in China, famous for its natural beauty and historical and cultural heritage.
Heaven has paradise, Earth has Suzhou and Hangzhou
Hangzhou is the political, economic and cultural center of Zhejiang province. It is a prosperous and highly developed city that gets many migrants from poorer provinces coming to seek work. It's annoyingly humid in summertime, which is from early June to early September.
Famed for its natural scenery, Hangzhou and its West Lake (西湖; Xīhú) have been immortalized by countless poets and artists. The city was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 until the Mongol invasion of 1276. The city's population is estimated to have been as high as one million in those days, making it the largest city in the world at the time. Even Marco Polo claimed to have passed through, calling it beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world. The West Lake Cultural Landscape has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2011.
With the gradual silting up of its harbor, much of the city's trade and industry passed north to nearby Shanghai, but the city still has a bustling population of 8.7 million and ranks as one of China's most popular tourist attractions.
The local language in Hangzhou is Wu Chinese (generally known these days as Shanghainese, although each city has a different variation). It is spoken over quite a broad area including most of East China. Wu is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin (standard Chinese) or any other Chinese dialect. However, as anywhere in China, most locals are bilingual in the local dialect and Mandarin and, like other prosperous coastal cities, Hangzhou has many migrants from other provinces who speak Mandarin but not the local dialect. If you speak Mandarin you will be able to talk to almost anyone in Hangzhou except a few elderly or rural folk.
English is not widely spoken, though the more expensive hotels will likely have staff who speak at least basic English. Be sure to have the names of your destinations written in Chinese to show taxi drivers so they can take you to where you want to go. Carry a business card for your hotel so you can always get back there.
- 1 Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH IATA). serves domestic and international flights. There are frequent services to Beijing, Hong Kong and other Chinese cities. The only European destination is Amsterdam with KLM. HGH also has flights from airports in the United States, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. There are a few cities in other parts of East Asia and South East Asia with direct connections. Hangzhou airport charges lower landing fees than nearby Shanghai, so a few budget airlines fly there.
The airport is about 30 km east of the city centre, taking 30 to 60 minutes by taxi. A taxi to/from the airport from the city centre is around ¥90; on the way back, you should ask if the driver is willing to take you that far before just jumping in the car with all your bags. No additional fee is payable for travel to/from the airport, the normal metered fare applies.
A shuttle service (¥20) to/from the Xiaoshan Bus ticket office on Tiyuchang Road next to the KFC just west of Wulin Square. The shuttle bus also stops at the main railway station en route. Buses run every 30 minutes during the daytime and take about an hour; join the queue for your ticket at the booth just outside the exit before boarding the bus.
Buses from the airport run
- 07:30 — 09:30: every 30 minutes
- 09:30 — 17:00: every 15 minutes
- 17:00 — 21:00: every 20 minutes
- After 21:00: every 30 minutes
The times refer to waiting time from the first passenger boarding the bus. After all the seats are taken, the bus takes off within 30, 20 or 15 minutes. The Shangri-La Hotel also has a shuttle service to/from the airport for ¥50.
The main international hub for the region is Pudong International Airport in Shanghai; there are direct buses to Hangzhou which take a couple of hours, or one could take the go into downtown Shanghai and catch a train. Buses leave from the 2nd floor parking lot across from Gate 15 of Pudong Airport, departing every 90 minutes during 10:30-19:00, costing ¥100. These buses arrive at the Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Sports Center (football stadium), 3 km to the west of the city centre. The reverse trip from Hangzhou to Pudong Airport is also possible; the buses leave from the Yellow Dragon Sport Center as well as Hangzhou Xiaoshan Bus ticket office on Tiyuchang Road next to the KFC just west of Wulin Square.
Shanghai's other airport, Hongqiao, serves mainly domestic flights and is located right next to Hongqiao Railway Station which has high speed trains to Hangzhou.
The high speed (CRH) train from Shanghai's Hongqiao Station to 1 Hangzhou East Station is 50 minutes non-stop (¥73) and is frequent. There are also trains from Guangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, and everywhere in between. There is a main 2 Hangzhou Station (locally known as Chengzhan) at the end of the line as well, reopened after a period of renovation although it lacks the facilities of Hangzhou East, as well as serving fewer trains.
Hangzhou has four bus stations (N, E - "Jiubao" on Shengjia Rd, W, and S). Usually, the direction of your destination corresponds to the bus station's name, e.g. if you are going to Shanghai, you will want the East Bus Station. If you are going to Huangshan, buses leave from the West Bus Station; Nanjing is served by a frequent service from the North Station, and so on. Wuzhen (90 mins by bus, frequent morning departures) is now serviced by Jiubao Bus station, no longer the defunct Genshan Xilu bus station. It costs ¥50 and 45 mins to get to Jiubao bus stn from the eastern shore of West Lake by taxi. Bus K12 then bus K101 can also make the trip, allow 90 min to arrive at the Jiubao bus stn, and another 90 min to get to Wūzhen.
From Shanghai: Buses depart from the north bus station (Hengfen Lu), the PuDong bus station (Bailianjing, PuDong Nan Lu), and from Xujiahui Bus Station, tickets cost ¥58. These buses arrive at the north bus station of Hangzhou.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport : direct long distance bus from the Airport to Hangzhou on Tiyuchang Rd, avoiding transfer via Shanghai. From Arrivals in the Airport, follow the clearly marked signs to the Long Distance Coach Terminal (well after the Maglev Terminal) and take the elevator down one level to the concourse. Hourly departures, on the hour in the evenings. Last departure is 21:00. Take cash for fare.
To Shanghai Pudong International Airport: There are buses between Yellow Dragon Stadium and Pudong Airport (direct) and Wulinmen Ticket Office and Pudong Airport (with a stop en route at Hongqiao). Tickets can be purchased at the area with all the buses in front of the Yellow Dragon Stadium or at the Wulinmen Ticket office near the KFC on Tiyuchang Rd. (¥100, 2.5 hour journey)
To Hongqiao Airport (direct),: Wulinmen Ticket Office near the KFC on Tiyuchang Rd (¥100).
The overnight boat service between Hangzhou and Suzhou/Wuxi has been discontinued. You can still take a ferry along the Hangzhou-Beijing Grand Canal to the north of Hangzhou proper (see "water taxi" section below).
The easiest way around Hangzhou is the metro system, with 3 lines and 78 stations operational, covering 82 km as of June 2018. (Seven additional lines are under construction.)
Hangzhou has an extensive bus network. Bus schedules, routes, and on-board announcements are all in Chinese.
There are a number of bus types. As of 2012, these include:
- Routes without a letter prefix generally have no air conditioning (though there are some exceptions, like route 900) and should be avoided May–September. They are heated during winter. These generally cost ¥1-2.
- Routes with a "K" prefix are air-conditioned May–September, and heated December–February. These cost ¥2-3, except when both the air-con and heat are off, during which time the fare is halved.
- Routes with a "Y" prefix are designated tourist buses, and will take you to or from a tourist destination for ¥3-5.
- Routes with a "B" prefix are part of the new Bus Rapid Transit system. These are articulated buses that stop at dedicated BRT stations, which allow you to transfer to other "B" routes without paying an additional fare. The fare of ¥4 is paid on entering the station. These buses are roomier than the usual municipal buses, but are not much more rapid.
- Night routes (which have blue signs and are numbered K2xx) are ¥2.5. Most start running at 21:00 and end around 06:00.
For those arriving in Hangzhou by train, note that bus K7 goes from the Hangzhou Rail Station to the West Lake for ¥1.
Fares can be paid in cash (coins or bills, no change given), by using a dedicated bus card, or by tapping the same card used to rent bikes (see below). The fare will be displayed on the bus stop and on the farebox.
You are expected to board via the front doors and leave through the rear (with the exception of the B routes). Buses have very little empty space even when they are not full (which is not common), so do not plan on bringing baby strollers or other cumbersome items. Be prepared at all times for fast turns and sudden braking. The suspension usually is not up to modern standards, and the driving can be aggressive.
Hangzhou has a large number of taxis which allow for quick and convenient travel within the city proper. Most of the city's taxis are turquoise-green in colour, and easily identifiable by the word Taxi printed in both English and Chinese on the vehicles. Taxis for hire are marked by the green (or sometimes yellow-orange) light-up signs above the dashboard on each car.
Hangzhou taxi drivers almost always use the meter as required by law. Hangzhou taxis are notoriously expensive compared to other Chinese cities. Trips start at ¥11 and are priced by the kilometre, with surcharges for idling time and trips over 10 km. It's advisable to take a receipt each time use you a taxi, should you wish to contact the taxi company or driver at a later time to dispute a fare, recover a lost article, etc. Avoid the taxi touts at the train station and major tourist attractions, and instead use the designated taxi queue or flag one off the street.
Hardly any of the city's taxi drivers speak English or any other foreign language, and it's important that you be able to point out your destination on a map, present the driver with the name of the destination (in written Chinese), or properly pronounce the name of the destination in Chinese.
Hangzhou taxis are not allowed to carry more than four passengers, although you may be able to convince or bribe a driver to allow you to "hide" an extra passenger on the back seat. This can be worth the trouble or expense if it saves your group from needing to take two taxis. It's also not unusual, especially at late or slow hours for the taxi driver to collect multiple customers to make the journey more profitable. This will normally be explained in Chinese. This is uncommon at normal hours, however.
Like all public transport, taxis are difficult to come by during the tourist weeks (Chinese New Year, May Golden Week, and October National Week); also, available taxis at 07:30-08:45 and 16:30-19:00, and every time it rains, are difficult to find, as they are always full or in the middle of a shift change. A taxi with an imminent shift change - which usually occurs about 15:00-17:00 - will be showing a plate in the windscreen (Chinese characters of course) and will only take you if your route coincides with theirs. Being familiar with areas that taxis frequent or places where taxi passengers are likely to be dropped off will aid you in finding a ride. Try not to get upset when your hailing position is gazumped by a new arrival 20 metres before you on the road. The only rule is: it is the quick and the dead.
Taxi drivers will also negotiate for long distance trips, or full-day/half-day hiring. A trip to Pudong airport in Shanghai will be ¥600-1,000 depending on time of day or night.
In outer centres of Hangzhou, small five seater vans are usually available at bus terminals for onward transfers. These operate quite independently and the normal taxi rules do not apply. They will take you anywhere at a negotiated price.
By water busEdit
Ferry down the Grand Canal takes 30 minutes but only makes 5 trips per day, the first at 07:30 and the last at 18:00. It starts at Wulin Gate/West Lake Culture Plaza and ends at Gongchen Bridge, with one stop at Xinyifang Grand Canal Culture Plaza. The boats stop first at Xinyifang, then to the newly developed Canal Culture Square, where you can see the Canal Museum, see if there are any events in the square, and check out the new Xiaohe Street- a series of "historical" alleys with shops and restaurants similar to Hangzhou's Hefang Street; the area's renovation was completed in 2008. Cost is ¥3.
While really worth taking the trip, Hangzhou now has plans to connect a series of canals and streams throughout the city with the Grand Canal, West Lake, Yuhang River, and Qiantang River, making for increased water transport and a Venetian feel when completed.
There are also passenger boats running along the Grand Canal from near the Qiantang River
Getting to the islands on West Lake, you get to choose between tourist trap Dragon or "Gaily-painted" pleasure boats (¥45 and ¥35). There are also medium-sized power boats (¥25), or for ¥160 you can hire a driver to paddle you around for about an hour. The boats are available in Hubin #X (1, 3, 6) parks and other obviously marked areas all over the lake.
- See also: Cycling in China
While traffic in Hangzhou may seem chaotic to some foreigners, the city is comparatively bike-friendly. All but small side roads have dedicated bike lanes, often divided from motor traffic by barricades or medians.
Making use of the city's extensive public bike system can be a cheap and convenient way to experience the city. There are many different brands seen throughout Hangzhou, such as HelloBike (red-white or blue-white, by Alipay), the orange Mobike, or yellow Ofobike. These are cheaper at ¥1-2 per ride (up to 2 hours).
The HelloBikes can be paid for with Alipay, and also have a ¥12/month plan for longer term users. Quality is hit or miss, but if you are lucky, you can find one in good working order. Blue and white ones are usually better than red and white ones.
There is also a better maintained brand of bikes that you will see at dark green colored stations. These fire-engine-red public bikes are ubiquitous on the street of Hangzhou, and the rental stations that dispense them are generously spread across the core of the city and around West Lake, stretching all the way up to the suburbs and down to the river near the Six Harmonies Pagoda. The one disadvantage to these bikes is that you must park them at a station and walk the rest of the way.
To use the bikes, you'll need to purchase a stored value card at one of 5 sites, for example 20 Longxiang Qiao across from the Agricultural Bank of China. If you have trouble finding it, go to the Hyatt and ask for directions; they will point you down the correct street. Also, each bike station gives out free tourist maps including a bike map that shows all the bike stations around the city. To obtain a value card (also known as an IC card), you must present ID (such as a passport) and pay ¥300, of which ¥200 is a deposit with the remaining ¥100 to cover rental fees. Bikes may then be rented by tapping the card against one of the automated bike racks holding the bikes. A beep and the audible sound of the rack unlocking will indicate that the bike can be removed. You can use any of the available bike racks scattered about the city, if you wish to visit an attraction or get a new bike. The bike is free for the first hour, ¥1 an hour for the two hours after that, and ¥3 an hour thereafter. For example, if you rent a bike for six hours when you return to the main bicycle "hub", you'll receive ¥289 of this deposit back, which covers the ¥11 worth of bike riding.
IC Cards or the bike rental cards can also be used on local buses (9% discount on public buses). Multiple people may use the same card for their bus fare - just swipe the card once for each person getting on the bus.
Be careful to choose a bike with air in the front and back wheels, working brakes and appropriate seat height. However none of the bikes were designed for reasonably tall people, so if you have long legs you may end up chaffing your knees on the handlebars. During rush hour, local residents also actively use the bikes. Therefore, most bike stalls will be full and you might not easily find a station with empty racks to return your bike.
Bikes are returned by reinserting them into an empty bike rack and tapping one's card against the top of the rack. Another beep, a solid green light, and the sound of the rack locking will indicate when the bike has been received successfully. Make sure the bike rack lock receives your bike; it is doesn't, the bike won't be registered returned in the system, and you will lose both your bike rental and deposit money and get no refund. The system opens for business at 06:00, and bikes not returned by 21:00 each night must be taken back to the Longxiang Qiao location (open 24/7) - so keep an eye on the clock during evening rides. After ten days from purchase of the card, it may be returned for an 89% refund.
It is perfectly acceptable to rent bikes and return them within the hour and then immediately rent another bike so you never have to pay anything.
Plan ahead if staying out late. You will sometimes find that bikes are hard to find around tourist hotspots such as West Lake after 10-11pm, as most patrons have already ridden them home.
You can buy maps from street vendors or stalls near the Train Station or Bus Station. Price is often marked on the maps themselves (usually under ¥10). Street-bought maps are usually written in simplified Chinese with no pinyin. You can find pinyin maps at foreign language bookstores and magazine stalls near the West Lake. The main foreign language bookstore in Yan An Road has a reasonable selection of maps as well as travel books.
There is a tourist information booth near Wulin Square Metro station (line 1) where you can pick up a bilingual tourist map. Walking south past Hangzhou Tower until you hit Shuguang Road, you should see an olive green booth. Very little English is spoken, but if you ask for a map (dìtú) they will be happy to help.
West Lake (西湖 Xī Hú)Edit
- 1 West Lake (The east side of the lake is easily accessed by Metro - Longxiangqiao station (line 1) or Fengqilu station (lines 1,2).). Hangzhou's most famous scenic sight. It is traditional to see the 10 Scenes of the West Lake and 10 New Scenes, and thousands of the visitors dutifully do so every year. However, these particular sites are overrated, and often seasonal (Snowfall Over Broken Bridge, etc.). Rather than make a checklist and walking back and forth looking for them, simply spend a clear day wandering the circumference of the lake and the causeways, take a ferry to the islands, and you will probably cover most of the sites anyway. The lake is quite large - the walk around it is about 12km long.
- The Ten Scenes of the West Lake (西湖十景) include:
- 2 Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring (苏堤春晓, Sudichunxiao). Almost 3 km long, the Su causeway dates from the year 1189 and has a bunch of willows and peach trees. It is long north-south causeway that starts by the Shangri-La on Beishan Road and goes all the way down to Nanshan Road.
- 3 Curved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer (曲院风荷, Quyuanfenghe). At the west of West Lake, just in front of the Yuemiao(岳庙), in it there are a lot of shops.
- 4 Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn (平湖秋月, Pinghuqiouyue). A traditional place to see the full moon reflected in the water.
- 5 Snow over the Broken Bridge (断桥残雪, Duanqiaocanxue). The Broken Bridge is the most elegant and romantic site in West Lake. When it is snowing, the hole of the bridge just like the bridge is broken. The classic view of West Lake seen from the Broken Bridge is quite fascinating, and the Legend of the White Snake (a famous Chinese legend which takes place here) also brings this ancient bridge much more charm of culture and history.
- 6 Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset (雷峰夕照, Leifengxizhao). The pagoda (see below for full description) is lit up at night. It is best viewed from across the lake, for example from the spot indicated here.
- 7 Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds (双峰插云, Shuangfengchayun). The view of the highest mountains north and south of the lake, which can rise above the clouds.
- 8 Orioles Singing in the Willows (柳浪闻莺, Liulangwenying). A large park at Qingbomen(清波门), when orioles can be heard singing.
- 9 Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond (花港观鱼, Huagangguanyu). Its famous points are fishes, flowers and ponds.
- 10 Three Pools Mirroring the Moon (Lesser Yingzhou Isle, 三潭映月. Santanyingyue). Built in the early 1600s, this is the largest island on the lake. When there is a full moon, candles inside the pagodas are lit, and in the candle light it appears as though you see the moonlight (if you are romantic enough to see it), hence the name.
- 11 Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill (南屏晚钟, Nanpingwanzhong). A powerful bell in a temple on a mountain, rung at dusk. One does not need to visit the bell, it can be heard across the lake.
- Boat Ride. There are numerous providers of boat rides on the lake. The official tour operator sells tickets from official ticket stalls for boat trips covered by insurance, with clear pricing and which covers all parts of the lake. There are lots of private gondola rides with varying insurance coverage, range and prices.
- 12 Mid-Lake Pavilion (Huxin Pavilion). Built in 1552, it is the oldest island in Hangzhou. There is a Chinese inscription on the Qing Dynasty-era stone arch in which the Qing Emperor wrote "Chong Er", or "Endless Love".
- 13 Lord Ruan's Mound. An island made by piling dirt dredged from the lake 200 years ago. At night (summer), entertainment activities take place in the garden on the island.
- 14 Hubin Parks. Hubin Parks 1, 3, 6, and probably the numbers in between, are the parks between Hubin Road and the West Lake. Relatively newly designed as the West Lake Tunnel that goes underneath was being built in early 2004, these parks are good to sit for a bit, buy ice cream or a newspaper, and most importantly hire a boat from the cluster of boat docks at each park.
- 15 Bai Causeway. Starting at the eastern end of Beishan Road, this cause way leads to Solitary Hill and cuts off the distances between, say, Hubin Road and the Shangri La.
- 16 Guo's Villa (郭庄 Guo Zhuang). One of the best traditional private gardens in Hangzhou. It is one of the garden masterpieces of Jiangnan (the lower region of the Yangtze River) thanks to its incomparable surroundings and the smartly managed garden space. The garden develops as you enter further into it with regular switches between tight, closed spaces and sudden, open ones. The key feature, or spirit, is water. Cleverly juxtaposing shade and light, curved and straight, yin and yang, the garden of Guo Zhuang is a wonderful embodiment of the Chinese wisdom of Tao and the Way of Nature. The teahouse, Liang Yi Xuan (两宜轩 Belvedere of Both Good) sits in a prime viewing spot within the garden between two superb water "yards", one large and the other small. While there are plenty of "old villas" in China to visit—and many are similar—this one is also on the shore of the West Lake. The ¥10 entry fee keeps many people away, and you can have some tea (¥40) on the lakeside pavilions of the villa while avoiding the tourists.
- 17 Solidary Hill And Zhongshan Park. Where Loud Wai Lou restaurant is located, this is the only natural island on the lake. At least three emperors constructed palaces are here. Besides an expensive restaurant, the popular area is the home of the Xiling Seal-Engravers' Society, and the seals, calligraphy, engraving-masters, and relics that go along with it.
- 18 Yang Causeway. This is more than 3 km long and one road west of the Su Causeway. It starts at the intersection of Beishan and Shuguang Road (which becomes Yang Causeway once you are south of this intersection); the causeway runs north-south. Yang Causeway includes Quyuan Garden (aka Qu Garden aka Qu Courtyard), which is the most popular spot to see tons of lotus blossoms (late spring > summer). The water area to the west of the top of Yang Causeway is Maojiabu Scenic area, with orchids blended into the water scenery. Another tourist spot on Yang Causeway is Mr. Guo's Villa, which was built in 1907 and is considered one of the most "classical" gardens in Hangzhou. At the southern end of the causeway, just before Nanshan Road, is a fish-viewing pond.
- 19 King Qian's Memorial (Qian Wáng Cí). Five kings of the Wuyue Kingdom are buried here in this memorial on the south end of the lake off Nanshan Road.
- 20 [dead link] Zhejiang Museum (浙江省博物馆), 25 GuShan Road (On the north side of West Lake Scenic Area). The largest comprehensive museum in Zhejiang province. Contains many rarely-seen treasures from Zhejiang, especially the celadon porcelains. It shows the elite culture of traditional China in Jiangnan region.
- Zhejiang West Lake Gallery (浙江西湖美术馆). A famous art education and exhibition center in Zhejiang province, near the classic site of Ping Hu Qiu Yue.
- The English Corner (西湖十景). alongside the West lake is a special place for people to talk with different people in different languages. Everything could be something to talk about here, there is no difference between people and people, and people that are communicating here share their own experience, own anecdote, and own perspectives toward a specific topic. This is just somewhere for people to recreate and communicate, as well as getting known about the mutual cultures.
- 21 Dancing fountains (Just in front of the Hyatt Hotel on the west side of the lake). Every 30min starting at 19:00. Very well designed choreography.
Temples, pagodas and churchesEdit
- 22 Baochu Pagoda (保俶塔 Bǎochù Tǎ). A stone pagoda located on Gem Hill (宝石山), just off Beishan road. You cannot climb the pagoda, but the view and surrounding Baoshi Hill are awesome.
- 23 Baopu Taoist Temple (抱朴道院 Baopu Daoyuan). The only Taoist temple in eastern China, also located on the Gem Hill, on the north side of West Lake Scenic Area. It is a large architectural complex comprised of different themed halls. Every year, many Taoist festivals are held here, and the temple is also very popular with tourists.
- Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, (圣母无原罪主教座堂 Shengmu Wuyuanzui Zhujiaozuotang) or simply "Catholic Church" (天主堂 Tianzhutang) located at 415 Zhongshan North Rd., near Tianshuiqiao (天水桥) bus-stop. It regularly holds holy mass in English every Saturday evening.
- Chongyi Church, (崇一堂 Chóngyī táng) is one of the largest Protestant churches in China. The name, translated into English, means "Worship the one and only true God." It was dedicated in 2005 and can accommodate up to 7000 attenders, welcoming many international visitors and guest preachers including Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham.
- Confucius Temple— is a mixture of Confucius Memorial and Stele Forest. Hangzhou Confucius Temple is the center of Hangzhou citizens to memorize Confucius and site of holding related ceremonies. It is near to Wushan Square and featured of the classical gardens.
- 24 Jade Emperor Hill (皇山公园 Yuhuang Shan Gong Yuan). One of the least-visited sites in Hangzhou despite its somewhat central location. The main temple on top of the hill offers a wonderful view of the city and lake below, and has a restaurant next door. There is another temple partway up the hill. The area can provide a quiet escape and a nice hike, as well as the chance to visit one of the few Daoist sites in the area (most other local temples are Buddhist). It is located directly south of Leifeng Pagoda. The main entrance isn't far from the Silk Museum. If you are playing along with the "10 Scenes of the West Lake" scavenger hunt still, the one that applies to the top of this hill is "clouds flying over Jade Emperor Hill".
- 25 Jingci Temple (净慈寺 Jìngcí Sì). Just off Nanshan Road, built in 954, the Jingci Temple has a huge 10-ton bell inside. Located on Nanping Road, they ring the bell 108 times here to ring in Chinese New Year. It is also rung every evening for much fewer times. Jingci Temple is the site of the legend of the miraculous well, which can be seen on the grounds of the temple.
- 26 Leifeng Pagoda (雷峰塔). On the shores of the southeast side of the lake and built in the year 977, all that remains of the original pagoda is the crumbling foundation, viewable from outside the glass case that it is housed in (Pagoda Remains Memorial Museum at the bottom floor of the pagoda). With escalators, elevators, and a totally new pagoda places on top of the foundation, there is not much to see within the pagoda; it was most recently rebuilt in 2000. However, the view of the city skyline is one of the best from here, and some of the smaller seating areas around the perimeter of the pagoda have a nice breeze and view of the structure. One of the 10 Scenes of the West Lake is "Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow", but this is best viewed from a distance (across the lake) just after sunset. The entry fee for the Leifeng Pagoda ¥40/person (Mar 2018) and it's not original, just rebuilt. If you don't pay to go in, you can still take pictures in front of it.
- 27 Lingyin Temple (灵隐寺 Língyǐn Sì). Meaning "heart of the soul's retreat", this temple west of the West Lake is an active Buddhist temple at the bottom of a hill. Nearby you can take a chairlift to the top of the hill where there is another temple (walking up is also an easy set of stairs below the chairlift). This is one of the 3 oldest and most famous temples in China. There are hundreds of Buddhist stone statues carved into the cliffs in the "Peak Flying from Afar" section next door.
- 28 Six Harmonies Pagoda (六和塔 Liùhé Tǎ). Down by the Qiantang River, about a 15-minute cab ride from the lake in light traffic, but it is a pretty road to drive down through all the tunnels and tea fields. Besides the pagoda itself, which is arguably the most prominent of all the temples and pagodas in Hangzhou, there is an adjacent park with hundreds of realistic replicas of the world's most famous pagodas, complete with mini-sized trees in front of the pagoda models.
- Three Temples of Tianzhu Hill, (天竺三寺) — consists of Fajing Temple, Faxi Temple and Fajing Temple. They are are quite close to Lingyin Temple. Local people usually prefer to go here for praying or meditation instead of Lingyin Temple, because these temples are quite more tranquil than Lingyin Temple, which is always crowded by tourists.
- 29 Peak that flew from Afar (飞来峰 Fēiláifēng). 209 meters (about 700 feet) tall, is a pure limestone mountain that is very distinctive from the sandstone mountains around it. Large stones scattered along the peak are said to resemble animals like a flying dragon, a running elephant, a crouching tiger, and a fleeing monkey. On the other side of the peak, a pavilion named Cui Wei was erected to immortalize the national hero Yue Fei. This man contributed greatly in the war against Jin Tribe during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).The pavilion was destroyed many times before the large restoration of 1942. The current pavilion keeps its old face with fresh paint.
- 30 Yue-Wang Temple (岳王庙 King Yue's Temple). A popular temple on the north-west shore of West Lake. It was originally constructed in 1221 in memory of General Yue Fei, who lost his life due to political persecution.
- 31 Fenghuang Temple (凤凰清真寺). One of the oldest mosques in China, the current construction at the intersection of Xihu Avenue (西湖大道) and the Central Zhongshan Road (中山中路) dating back 700 years to the Yuan dynasty.
Gardens, forests, natureEdit
- 32 Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea Fields (龙井茶园 Long Jing Cha Yuan). Longjing and other tea fields further west are best visited during the harvest period, usually from the first week of March till after May Holiday, when everyone is out in the field picking tea and the tea that you can purchase is of the best quality (tea crops from later in the year have had their leaves damaged by the rain). Entrance to the fields is free of charge.
- 33 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 brief period when the leaves change in the fall. There is also a peacock farm, some nice ponds, and basically a wide range of plants and ecosystems to walk through. The redwood tree that Nixon donated during his visit has since died (in 2001). The flower nursery is also nearby.
- 34 Xixi National Wetlands Park. Opened in May 2005, this wetlands park is in the extreme west part of the city past the west bus station. One of the easiest ways to get there would be to take a bus from Huanglong Soccer Stadium. While it may be somewhat out of the way and the road signs have the English translation as an uninviting "Xixi Swamp", this area is not to be missed, as there are not many tourists, and it is a great way to see birds and other wildlife. The birds are especially beautiful and varied.
- 35 Dreaming of the Tiger Spring (虎跑梦泉 Hǔpǎomèngquán). A spring as well as a scenic and historic destination. The area includes wooded pathways, streams, bamboo groves, tea houses, historic structures, as well as the spring itself and other sights. Admission is ¥15. Tea brewed with the high-quality Tiger Spring water may be purchased for about ¥20 a glass.
- 36 Hangzhou Zoo (杭州动物园 Hángzhōu Dòngwùyuán). It has pandas and more and is located just south of the lake. Animals treatment here is poor. Besides a few animals which have good cages (mostly water-animals) it has terrible conditions for the panda, most bears and other larger animals like the elephants. Still, they made improvements compared to a few years ago, and it seems it's mostly the missing support of larger investments that seems to hinder further development in a better zoo. The entrance fee includes a circus-style animal show with tigers, lions, bears and elephants that is particularly entertaining for children (if a little depressing for adults).
- 37 Zhongshan Park (中山公园 Sun Yat-sen Park). It used to be the West Lake Temporary Imperial Palace of Qing Dynasty. It is close to Zhejiang Museum and Xiling Society of Seal Arts. The historic sites of the imperial palace are well protected and available easily.
- 38 Wushan Square (吴山广场 Wu Shan Guang Chang). Wushan Square and Wushan Hill are major town centres in Hangzhou. The view from the top is excellent on a clear day, and there are also trails around the hills from behind the pagoda. The pagoda itself has been modernized with an elevator and nice open-air tea house at the top, but the original bell is still intact and in use. This area also features easy access to Hefang Jie shopping street at the base of the hill, full of small pedestrian streets and shopping stalls. It is also extremely close to the West Lake.
- 39 Song Dynasty Town (宋城, Song Cheng). A Song dynasty-themed leisure park, approximately 21 minutes from city center. It offers a classic imperial experience for tourists all over the world. Located at 148 Zhijiang Road, across the bank of Qiantang River.
- Huanglong Cave (Yellow Dragon Cave Dressed in Green). On the northern side of Baochu hill near the soccer stadium. This is one of the "New Ten Scenes of The West Lake".
- Liyuan (礼源). A famous village in Fuyang. It is the original place for paper making. The special local products of Liyuan are mao bamboo and bamboo shoot. Many people came here just want to dig some bamboo shoot. Also, there has a famous mountain named Changpu mountain. This mountain does not very huge or high but it is extremely beautiful. The bamboo with green leaves never stop swing among the wind and the water is really clean that can be drunk straightly. Although in this place, there are no big restaurants or hotels, all the villagers are willing to offer a room for visitors. So that visitors do not worry about the residence.
- 40 Huqingyutang Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum (胡庆余堂中医博物馆). The only themed museum with traditional Chinese medicine in China. Huqingyutang is also a traditionally famous medicine store keeping the traditional medicine culture of ancient China. It was created by Hu Xueyan, a representative of Huizhou merchants.
- 41 Qianjiang new city (On the north shore of the Qiantang River. Metro 4 Citizen Center). Hangzhou's new business district, including many high rise buildings and some great modern architecture.
- 42 Tianducheng. A neighborhood built in Parisian style, including a 108 m replica of Eiffel Tower, fountains and landscaping.
Liangzhu is a suburb of Hangzhou with a major archaeological site where an ancient city is being excavated. The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2019.
The Liangzhu Culture flourished thoughout the region around Lake Tai 3400-2250 BCE, about the same time as cities such as Thebes, Nineveh and Mohenjo-daro further West, and before the first dynasties of the Chinese Empire. They are now known mainly by the high-quality jade artifacts they left behind. In some ways they were quite advanced for the period, with extensive irrigation and some cities, and their influence seems to have extended as far as Shanxi and Guangdong. However, they were still a Neolithic (late Stone Age) culture; they were to be the last such culture in this region.
DNA studies show that these people were of the Austronesian ethnic group, more closely related to today's Filipinos, Malays, Indonesians and Polynesians than to modern Chinese. This region was probably one of the sources for that group's migration into the Pacific.
- 1 Impression West Lake (印象西湖). 19:30 (Winter), 19:45 (Summer). Directed by the golden trio including Zhang Yimou, a love story performed with impressive special effects on the lake. There are two performances every night. Entertaining but not breathtaking, especially if you see some of the newer 'Impressions' shows. Starts from ¥260 with VIP and boat seats at even higher prices. Show lasts an hour and does not need language knowledge. From ¥260.
- Early morning bike ride. Start on the north side of the lake, and head west towards Zhejiang University, then down Lingyin Road past the Botanical Gardens and into Longjing Village. Keep heading West and south through the tea villages, bamboo forest, and scenic valleys to the river and cut over towards Six Harmonies Pagoda. Go back to the south end of the lake via the road right next to Six Harmonies, past the zoo, through the tunnels. Cycling is banned directly alongside the lake for about half of the way, so walking may be better if you want to see the lake.
- Hangzhou Paradise Park, No.92, Xianghu Road, Xiaoshan District (South bank of Qiantang River, twelve kilometers away from West Lake. You can take the No. K515 bus to get there). M-F 10AM–5PM, Sa Su 9:30AM–5PM. The largest travel and leisure holiday resort in Eastern China, covering an area of 80,000 m². It is the themed recreation area of World Leisure Expo Garden. Includes the Theme Park of Holland Village, the Theme Park of Marco Polo's Tour, Ecological Garden, Niton Hot Spring Holiday Village, Conference Center, Tennis Ball Club, Golf Club, Tiancheng Residential Holdings. Here, you can feel excitement and fun of the 108 meters high Sightseeing Tower which is the highest in Asia, the roller coaster, flying trapeze, ropeway, looting boat in rip current, pirate ship, etc. There are also exercises like bungee jumping, rock climbing and a space swing. ¥80.
- Walk around the lake. It will take you about 5 hours of slow walking. The lake is not very big and there are two shortcuts (causeways) through it. You can also hire small non-motor powered boats (¥120/hour for personal boat with driver, or use the ferry services) to take you around the lake and to the two islands, which feature some interesting sites.
- Go hiking in the mountains. Hangzhou has the most accessible and interesting hiking environments within walking distance of any city. Purchase a topographic map, not difficult to find. Some suggested hikes:
- Start with the climb up to the Baochu Pagoda from Beishan Road. The trail passes the pagoda and continues on with a rock scramble and great views to a series of stone paths that follow the ridge. Keep going and relax, you can't get lost because this mountain is surrounded by main roads. There are temples, shrines and caves along the way with a sprinkling of tea houses. Stay with the high ground where you can and you should come out near the corner of Shuguang Rd and Beishan Rd in an easy 2 hours, with plenty of opportunities for side explorations. You can walk back or return by bus (be brave, as long as the bus is going inbound it will take you somewhere central. The fare will be ¥1-3 and services are frequent) or cab.
- Start at Wushan Square, at the southern end of Yan'an Rd, and walk south through the developed park land. Stay high, and pass the war memorial, stunning stone sculptures, down the large stairway to Wansongling Rd. Cross the road, turn left and 100 metres later enter the forest past a memorial garden. From here the stone paths lead inexorably south to Fenghuang Hill and then southwest finally to Yuhuang Hill, the summit of which contains a large temple complex and boasts marvelous views over West lake and the Qiantang River. Descend to the west, but beware the tricky circular road, to Hupao Road and take a bus back from the Hangzhou zoo bus stop. It will take a slow 4 hours. You will at times be geographically challenged, but soon you will get the drift of it, and be better prepared to tackle the huge mountain, forest and tea village areas to the south west of the lake. The complete circuit from Xixi Rd to Wushan Square via Northern Peak, Shi Peak, Wuyun Hill, Jiuxi, HZ Zoo, Yuhuang, Fenghuang Hill will take a party of regular fitness, with stops, 10–12 hours. Then for a hike with a difference, hike out to Meijiawu and stay at a guest house, returning the following day via a different route.
- Visit the temples and pagodas. The most popular ones are Baochu pagoda, which is the tower-like one on a hill on the north side of the lake. This hill is a great hike, with excellent views of the lake and city, several smaller temples of a variety of religions, and Huanglong Cave on the northern slope of the hill. 6 Harmonies Pagoda, located on the river, is the largest and most imposing. A fun hike after the pagoda leads from the shores of the river, 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 a surprisingly devout crowd of worshipers. This area also has many excellent hikes, as well as a cable car to the top of Beifeng Hill (with another temple at the top). Finally, Leifeng Pagoda has been rebuilt and has escalators and elevators, while all that remains of the foundation is on display on the main level. Despite its lack of ancient Chinese beauty, the benches and gazebo-like structures surrounding the area make for a nice place to sit in the breeze, and it also has an excellent view looking in the opposite direction as the Baochu area.
- Go for a Run. The lakeside surrounds of gardens, parks, views and items of interest make a great backdrop to a run. Join the "Even If It Rains" running group of locals and laowei at 19:30 on Tuesday nights from the Maya Bar (across the road from the stadium in Shuguang Rd, at the traffic lights where Shuguang Rd. bends). Socialise after; it's a welcoming group. The local chapter of the Hash House Harriers is sadly in remission. The Vasque mountain race of approx 35 km through the mountains, tea fields and lakeside is held around October and in November is held the Hangzhou marathon, half marathon and lesser distances.
- Spend an afternoon at a tea house. A highlight of visiting Hangzhou is getting out to Manjuelong Village, (South of the lake on top of the hill) Longjin Village or Meijiawu Village, (west and further west of the Lake, respectively) to drink your tea. These villages have had a make-over and while can be busy at weekends they are still great places to while away an afternoon watching the tea being picked. The tea houses all serve very local food - pickled vegetables, chicken broth etc. - but often there is no menu; rather the owner will suggest what you should eat. Make sure you get a price for the dishes before you tuck in.
- Shopping -- see the "Buy" section for more info.
- The West Lake Golf Club near Six Harmonies Pagoda and Songcheng was designed by Jack Nicklaus.
- Boating along the Hangzhou-Beijing Canal is becoming more popular.
- 2 World Ice Arena. Open 365 days a year from 10:30 to 22:00. A full Olympic size commercial ice skating rink located in the MIXC mall, new Central Business District near the Qintang River. Weekdays have unlimited skating time for the entry price. Before 17:00, price is ¥50 and after 17:30 is ¥60. Weekends are ¥70 for 2 hour sessions. All prices include the new Canadian rental skate, use of locker, and all safety gear (elbow, knee, wrist and helmets). Professional coaching is available at the school reservations desk. Pro shop has an extensive line of figure skating equipment and apparel as well some novelty items related to skating. Located on the 4th floor of the mall. Management and some general staff speak English and Chinese. Ice is resurfaced every 2 hours by a new electric model 552 Zamboni machine. The surroundings are elegant and clean. There is a small cafe inside for snacks. The rink keeps a doctor on duty at all times to assist with minor injuries. The rink's entire refrigeration system is dramatically displayed with cool blue lighting and real time information can be viewed on an LCD screen.
- Go to a book shop. Hangzhou has several book shops, Xinhua bookstore on Jiefang road near the JieBai department store is the oldest bookshop. Boku bookstore at the intersection of WenEr road and HanCheng north road. It's a book lovers paradise. The PageOne bookstore in the MIXC mall also has a fairly sizable selection of English books.
- Car Tour. Annoying electric cars that go full circle. For at least half the way around they will be on the same route as pedestrians and cyclists. They might politely announce you should step away but they also have a nice horn equipped and are not shy to use it. Basically ever since this tourist attraction was added walking around the lake is less fun but the tourists enjoy being carted around - it takes less time, you get tour info on the loudspeakers and it also is reasonably priced. There are also ¥4 per station options, but most carts are full going all the way around. The only saving grace of this 'attraction' is that they only go around clockwise. ¥40.
- 3 Zhejiang University (浙江大学). Courses in Chinese language and culture are ¥18,000 a year, ¥9,000 a term, or ¥800 a week and are taught mostly in Chinese (with occasional English).
- 4 Zhejiang Library (浙江图书馆) (To the south of the Huanglong stadium). One of the oldest public library of China.The area of the library is near 47,000 m². It was established in 1900, which is named Hangzhou library, and changed the name to Zhejiang library in the 1909. It has about 3,900,000 volumes which include English, Japanese, Russian, German, and French.
Private Chinese language schools like Hutong School offer a range of Mandarin courses that can be tailored to suit your needs. It's possible to take business Chinese, HSK preparation, or intensive courses.
- Hangzhou China Silk Town on Tiyuchang Road. You can also get silk at other places in the city, but most of it will just be the fabric. It is open from 08:00-17:00 and is near the Zhejiang International Hotel. Bargain hard!
- Night Market (夜市) off Yan'an Road near Pinghai Road (right near Wushan) every night. Here you can find Mao memorabilia, jewelery, paper fans, pipes, luggage, handicrafts and other items that most Chinese cities have. Pirated DVDs and counterfeit handbags are for sale as well. You can also find a lot of those silk-screen printed paintings/embroidery things that the silk market also has. Bargain very hard - Many stalls sell the same stuff, so be prepared to walk away. Be careful buying "antiques" because they are probably new, and pearls. Often the pearl culturing process has been very short, and in fact the "pearl" is a plastic marble with only the thinnest of cultured skin.
- Electronics Markets (电子产品市场 - Running west-east in north-west Hangzhou on Wensan Road are several indoor, multistory electronics shopping centers offering all manner of electronics including desktop computers, laptops, computer software (licensed and un-licensed), cellphones, mp3 players, and hundreds of peripherals and storage media. Pirated DVDs and computer games are offered as well, and if you are obviously a foreigner, vendors will shout "DVD! DVD!" at you to urge you to browse their selection.
- Bird and Flower Markets - Several in town, Gucui Rd and Wener West Rd in the west, another on Jichang Rd in north, the interesting one is next to Wushan Square, downtown. On 3 or 4 floors, this market is stuffed with pets and plants. Also sections selling Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with dried snake and seahorse, huge dried mushrooms and other strange things.
- Tea - Dragon Well/Longjing tea is famous throughout China and worth getting if you like green tea. If you are staying with a Chinese host somewhere else in China after Hangzhou, bringing them a small box (or two) of higher-end Longjing Tea would make a great gift; however, these usually cost around ¥300/box (more at tourist stands). The Longjing village and tea fields area of Hangzhou (southwest of West Lake) are where Longjing tea is grown. Besides being worth a visit for the scenic sights alone, tea can be purchased here as well - fresh from the harvesters' bags if so desired. Many places across the city also sell tea, such as informal vendors and small shops easily identifiable by the boxes displayed inside or store names 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, fake and low-grade varieties exist. If you have no experience buying tea, purchase from a reputable-looking establishment or ask the advise of a knowledgeable native.
- Clothes - Hangzhou has literally hundreds of clothes and shoes stores. The largest concentration of these are on Yan'an Rd and especially Wulin Rd, making a straight line of clothes shops stacked on top of each other between Wushan and Wulin Squares. Another popular clothing spot is "Song Mu Chang" (松木场) just north of the lake on Shuguang Road. All of these places require bargaining and often have a lot of fake ripoff clothes. For the real thing, try the department stores (i.e. Hangzhou Tower across between Yan'an and Nanshan Roads). You can certainly find cheaper clothes stores scattered throughout the city as you get farther from the lake if you really like to buy clothes.
- Landscape paintings - There are several places to buy Chinese landscape paintings in the city, especially near Wushan Square and around 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 its large selection of groceries, it carries a wider variety of Western foods such as cheeses and breads than most other grocery stores in the city. What this really means is a single aisle of Western brands and foods. Do not expect a large selection. This is also a good place to purchase western liquor. French Gin is as ltttle as ¥55 per litre, Captain Morgan rum about ¥75 and Cointreau ¥135. How these prices are about half of duty free escapes this contributor.
- Trust-Mart (好又多) is a superstore chain Westerners may recognize as being similar to Wal-Mart. It's in the shopping center near the Yellow Dragon Sports Stadium north of West Lake and the Baochu Pagoda area, and has a large grocery section that boasts fresh meats, seafood, and produce as well as the normal selection of packaged food.
- Bicycles of all prices and qualities are available from bike shops scattered across Hangzhou. Bargaining is necessary at all but large chain stores, and generally one gets what he or she pays for (the cheapest bikes will begin to rust and break quickly). The indoor Electric Bike Market near the corner of Wener and Xueyuan Lu offers a huge assortment of electric bikes/scooters and batteries, and Trust-Mart (see above) also has a reasonable selection of bicycles and a small selection of electric bikes/scooters. Any bike, regardless of the value, will be stolen if left unattended and unsecured. Be sure to buy at least one lock (two for expensive scooters and bikes) to protect your purchase. Scooters may also require a locking frame to guard the battery from theft. A cycling club based in Hangzhou.
- Mall the MIXC mall located next to the Qintang River in the new Central Business District has an enormous collection of high-end luxury brands including LV, Armani, Ferragamo and the like, but also has Hangzhou's best market for imported foods. "Ole" is located in the B2 level of the mall and be prepared to spend big. The cinema complex on the 3rd, 4th and 5th levels has 12 screens including the largest of the two IMAX theatre's in the city. Also on the 4th floor is a full Olympic size ice skating arena open daily from 10:30-22:00. Ticket prices range from ¥50 for unlimited skating time on regular weekdays (¥60 after 17:30) and ¥70 for 2 hour sessions on weekends and holiday. Price includes new Canadian rental skates, use of free locker and all safety gear (elbows, wrist and knee protectors and use of helmets). The rink is modern, clean and well trained and friendly professional staff. The skating school is reasonably priced and geared entirely for beginners. The 30m x 60m ice is resurfaced every 2 hours by a Zamboni machine.
- The In Time shopping mall at the center of Hangzhou, the Yanan road. The first floor is the cosmetics selling floor. From floor two to floor six are all clothes selling stores. Floor two sells fashionable brands.
Hangzhou is one of the premier places to eat in China, and its local cuisine features dishes that consist more of pork and seafood rather than beef and lamb, as those are typically found in the north and west regions of China.
Typical Hangzhou specialties include dongpo rou (东坡肉 dōngpō ròu), an extremely fatty chunk of pork in a syrupy sauce, and cùyú (醋鱼 cùyú), which is fish with a vinegar sauce. There are some characteristic local snacks, for example, small steamed buns (小笼包 xiǎolóngbāo), Xiaoshan dried turnip (萧山萝卜干 xiāoshān luóbo gān), & noodles with preserved vegetables (片儿川 piàn'ér chuān). In Wushan Square, you can find lots of food; the prices are cheap and the quality fine.
If you do not like Hangzhou cuisine, you can find plenty of excellent Sichuan, Shanxi, and Xinjiang restaurants throughout the city. There are also some Western restaurants, but those tend to be expensive.
For budget restaurants, even near the lake, just head into an alley and get some food from a small restaurant or street-side stand. You should judge for yourself how sanitary the food is, but you generally do not need to worry about this in Hangzhou relative to other Chinese cities. These restaurants are all quite similar.
If you like dumplings and have just come down the north side of Baochu hill (past the cave and in view of the soccer stadium), one option is to continue across Shuguang Road and up Hangda Road (0.5 blocks east and 1 block north) to Tianmushan Road. At the corner of Tianmushan and Hangda Roads are 2 decent dumpling restaurants with English menus available (one is upstairs from the other). They have many of varieties of dumplings, including all-vegetable. From ¥6-18 for a plateful.
- Zhōngshān nánlù (中山南路) This is one of the great street food strips in China. It is a definite must-see/taste at nighttime. It begins at the Drum Tower, only a short walk from the end of Gaoyin ancient street.
- Zhīwèiguān restaurant on Rénhé lù (仁和路) is well-known among Chinese in Hangzhou. It has a variety of cheap and traditional dishes. There's no English, it uses floor-ticket ordering, and the atmosphere is bustling and noisy.
For American junk food, Hangzhou has many KFCs, several McDonalds, and an increasing number of Pizza Huts throughout town, especially near the lake. If you like Pizza Hut style pizza, but don't want to pay Pizza Hut prices, there's a much cheaper Pizza Hut 'clone' on You Dian Road, corner of Hubin Road, right near the lake.
Other restaurants that are good and aren't as tourist-trappy can as Lou Wai Lou are located near the West Lake, usually to the East past Hubin Road in the Yan'an Road area.
For Xinjiang, try Jade Dragon Xinjiang Special Restaurant (龙翠阁新疆特色餐厅) inside the Handnice Hotel (Originally of Tiandu Hotel on Zhongshan Bei Road) at the east side of Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Sports Stadium. Some say the Xinjiang restaurant on the 5th floor of Sanrui Tower (三瑞大厦) on Qingchun Road is better and more authentic, and on the east side of town, Xinjiang Pamir Muslim Restaurant (新疆帕米尔餐厅) has many Xinjiang people dining there.
- Chuan Wei Guan - For Hot Pot, this city-wide chain (5 restaurants throughout town) is best, and this hotpot place also has several good Sichuan dishes.
- Grandma's Kitchen (外婆家) has expanded to almost 20 locations in Hangzhou, each packed to the brim with customers. It has a comprehensive picture menu and reasonable prices. Not all locations offer the same selection or the same prices. One of the best is on Ma Cheng Road, between Tian Mu Shan and Wen San Roads, near to the Boku bookstore. Another one is close to the lake. Unfortunately, Grandma's Kitchen suffers a bit from its own popularity, making a long wait inevitable and service haphazard (forgotten dishes and the like). It's best to call ahead and try to make reservations to avoid the long wait.
- Tianlutang (天祿堂) teahouse is in Xixi Wetlands Park. Offers a variety of local dishes. Advance bookings required.
- Zhang Sheng Ji (张生记), 33 East Qingchun Road. Out of the way but is also huge and now has branches all over China.
- Green Tea (绿茶), 83 Longjing Lu, across from the back gate of the Zhejiang Bingguan. 0571-8788 8022. Just around the corner from the Tea Museum, this is one of Hangzhou's most popular Chinese restaurants. A hit with the younger crowd, expect big lines, but the food is well worth it. And there's something inexplicably charming about sitting above lily pads on wooden platforms while digging into the delicious iced desserts on a hot summer day.
- Kuiyuan Museum (奎元馆), Kuiyuan museum is one of the best local noodle-making restaurants in hangzhou. Famous for its long history, kuiyuan restaurant has become a local brand and the icon of hangzhou. For over 100 years, kuiyuan restaurant has been providing guests with a great diversity of noodles. Yangchun noodle, despite its simplicity in the selection of the selection of the ingredients, it has long been considered as the most good-tasting delicacy for both indigenous hangzhou people and tourists, As well as the noodle with shrimps and eel, a well-known kind of noodle. Once traveling to hangzhou, for those tourists who want to try the local food, going to this restaurant is a great choice to consider about.
Location: 1. ShangCheng Area, JieFang Street, No.154. 2. The WenHui Street, No.346. TEL: 0571-87029012
- Mingjia seafood workshops (名家海鲜工坊). A famous seafood restaurant, built in 2008. Located at the intersection of Tianmushan Road and Huanghushan Road, near the Huanglong stadium. To be a modern restaurant, the decoration is comfortable. This restaurant belongs to the MIngren Mingjia food limited company, which is one of the biggest restaurants in Hangzhou.
- 1 Lou Wai Lou (楼外楼) (Right on the lake on an island off Beishan Road). The most famous restaurant in Hangzhou and in existence for over 150 years, and visited by President Nixon on his first trip to China. Lou Wai Lou also has a second establishment called "Shan Wai Shan" right on the Botanical Gardens. “West Lake sweet & sour fish” is a specialty of this place, and another dish to try is the Beggar’s Chicken, wrapped in fresh lotus leaves and baked on fire. The chicken meat is soft and tender and falls easily off the bones. The restaurant is full every night so a reservation is highly recommended.
- Oriental Favorites Restaurant (彩云轩), Beishan Road (just past the Broken Bridge). A good replacement for Lou Wai Lou and has an equally good view with slightly cheaper prices (but it's still expensive).
- Hubin 28, Hyatt Hotel, 28 Hubin Road. One of the top Chinese restaurants in Hangzhou. Hubin 28 serves good food from all over China in a restaurant designed with a mixture of modern fittings and traditional furniture. It has received good reviews in many foodie magazines in Hong Kong. Dinner will cost more than ¥200 per person.
- Ming Ren Ming Jia (名人名家) (WenEr Road). A new restaurant. It faces to different level person, not only normal can have a delicious lunch, but also can satisfy some people‘s vanity. It has many kind of food, the characteristic of this restaurant is snake and a variety of Chinese food.There also a book shop named Bo Ku book shop near the Ming Ren Ming Jia.
There are lots of Japanese restaurants, many of which offer the "all you can eat and drink" deal for between 120 and 200 renminbi, which is a good deal when you consider sake and plum wine are included, and is a good way to start off a weekend night.
- Fu Gang, Tiyuchang Road (near Wulin Square). Hangzhou's most famous Japanese restaurant, although it does not offer an all-you-can-eat deal. It does have a sushi train and set meals though and the sushi is fresh and tasty.
- Mu Zhi Lan, Nanshan Rd (next to the Bernini coffee shop) is one of the best, especially location-wise. The all-you-can-eat deal is around ¥180, but the seating and views are excellent, as is the food.
- Honglin Teppanyaki, 2/F Modern International Plaza, Yugu Road and Tianmushan Road. This newish Teppanyaki restaurant is clean and spacious, with large table around hotplates able to seat 10-20 people at a go. There is a one-price-gets-everything deal, including sake and beer. However, the "butter" they use is quite suspicious and you will be harassed to eat everything they put on the plate. If you get something on the all-you-can-eat option and don't like it, you will have a hard time getting rid of it. Staff do not speak English.
- Banana Leaf, Changsheng Rd (2 junctions north of the Hyatt on the east side of the lake). South-East Asian. Reservations are recommended on weekends. Although there is a pleasant atmosphere and good quality food, many customers find that the food is untraditional.
- Curry Bistro, Wangtang Rd (just south of Wenyi Road, near the Wumei shopping center) is a small family run restaurant specialising in Hong Kong and Thai food.
- Y&Y Cafe, 322 Wen San Xi Lu (Almost facing the entrance of Dang Gui apartments) is a small eatery serving Asian dishes at budget price.
- The Vineyard, Zhongtian Mansion, 173 Yugu Road, +86 0571 8763 2388. Featuring a menu created by Chef Rueben Marley, Vineyard is the only expat venue in Hangzhou serving authentic American pub foods like Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches, Bacon-Shroom-Melt burgers, and New York style pizza.
- [dead link] L'Amour French Restaurant. 87 Shu Guang Lu (on the right of youtou bar), +86 57186592191. is a French brasserie serving strictly homemade food in a Shanghaï-Belle-époque themed environment. Closed every Thursday.
- Café at the Hyatt, Hyatt Hotel, 28 Hubin Road. Opened January 2005, considered to be one of the best values in upmarket buffet offerings in Hangzhou, a wide selection is available for about ¥148+ lunch, and ¥198+ dinner.
- Provence, 1 Baishaquan Rd. Is a restaurant in Hangzhou, serving fresh French and Mediterranean food. Good selection of wines, liquors and cocktails available. Weekend all day brunch.
- Angelo's, on #2 Lane off of Baochu Road (across the street NW from 88 Club). New York-themed Italian style restaurant and bar serving pizza, pasta, burgers, and many other offerings.
- Caribbean BBQ, Yan'an Road (near Wushan Square). It is not very authentic, but is a buffet-style restaurant that will probably at least leave you with a full stomach.
- Peppino, Shangri-La Hotel. American style Italian - pizzas out of the authentic brick oven, steaks, pasta.
- L96 Guangxian Cafe, Pingfeng Road, (east of Zhongshan Zhong Rd), is a small restaurant in modern atmosphere serving well-prepared Italian food and home-made ice-creams
- Haveli, 77 Nanshan Rd. Indoor and outdoor dining. Expensive and small dishes.
- Indian Kitchen, 63 Nanshan Rd. All you can eat/all you can drink buffet on Saturday & Sunday nights. ¥98, excellent service and tasty food. Serves pretty good masala dosa.
The drink of choice in Hangzhou is tea, as the local Longjing (龙井, also Lung Ching, literally "Dragon Well") is the most famous green tea in China. Longjing is divided into seven grades, the two top being Superior (旗枪 qiqiang) and Special (雀舌 queshe), and the rest numbered from 1 down to 5. Prices for the very best stuff are extremely high— in 2005, a mere 100g plucked from Qing Dynasty emperor Qian Long's personal trees sold for over US$17,000 — but a few cups in a local teahouse shouldn't cost you more than a few dozen yuan. There is a wholesale market in Zhuangtang, however, most of the tea comes from trees outside of the "special" fields in Hangzhou. Prices are ¥15-1,000/500g depending on a multitude of variables.
Traditionally, tea from Longjing is best served with spring water from Hupao (虎跑, "Tiger Run"), which is located next to the West Lake. You might have to purchase the tea from the tea shop in Hupao, instead of bringing your own. It's about ¥20 per cup, but you get a thermal full of hot water with the purchase. Do consider mixing the leaves with bottled water, as construction project run off introduces chemicals other than water into the streams.
For bars, Nanshan Road all night every night should keep any visitor occupied. An up-and-coming part of town is on Shuguang Road has several old and new bars that are a little less hectic than those of Nanshan Road, including local expat hangout Maya Bar, packed-out local You To, rock music bar Travellers, and many more. Shuguang Road runs north from the north-west corner of the Lake. The Huanglong soccer stadium is full of dance / performance bars around the perimeter of the building.
- JZ Club, 6 Liuying Rd (Nanshan Road). One of the most sophisticated bars in Hangzhou, with live jazz performances every night and a range of beers, cocktails and wines.
- Cool Bar' (On West Lake Ave by Wushan Square). Has Budweiser for as little as ¥5/bottle.
- Maya Bar, 94 Baishaquan Rd. And Shuguang Rd, it's a popular expat watering hole with large servings 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 l'Amour French restaurant. One of the most successful bars in Hangzhou, run by a man who has made several bars popular. You To is busy every day with a local drinking crowd. Loud live music, busy atmosphere, and cheerful, friendly staff.
- 7 Club, Shuguang Road (Behind the flower shop opposite Yellow Dragon Hotel,). Small local pub popular with expats and foreign students alike. Normally contains a quieter atmosphere and specializes in hard-to-find imported bottle beers.
- Shamrock Irish Pub, Jiefang Rd and Jianguo Rd. More a sports bar, but without the TVs. Good pub food on the menu some live music on weeknights.
- Casablanca (On West Lake). Good, centrally-located place to hang out and feel at home.
- Reggae Bar (Xueyuan Road, just north of Wensan Road.). An old Hangzhou favourite. Big happy bar with lots of reggae music, a strong Jamaican motif Carlsberg draft beer is ¥22.
- Tree Bar (Near the KFC in Beigan Yi Yuan.). A small venue which is the main hub for foreigners living in Xiaoshan district, famous for its cheap beer and outdoor seating.
Cafes in Hangzhou normally fit a Hangzhou norm and do not always resemble a cafe in the West. Places like Liangan and UBC serve Western food, which is pretty inedible to a Western palette. Coffee is expensive and usually made over a candle, more for novelty than for good coffee. Some of the more 'international' style cafes are listed here.
- Costa Coffee, in the West Lake Tiandi, serves coffee drinks, sandwiches and pastries in a suave atmosphere with free Wi-Fi. Try to score one of the incredibly comfortable couches.
- Linglong Town, on Nanshan Road to the west of most of the bars. Has large smoothies that are excellent for hot days. The restaurant also has many types of tea and good-tasting Taiwanese fare.
- Jamaica Coffee, in West Lake Tiandi, is owned by a Spanish company and has high quality coffee and tea and some snacks.
- Fotoyard, Nanshan Rd and Qianwangci, is managed by a bunch of photographers who are better at photos than managing a cafe, but the pizza is good, and the coffee by Illy. When the weather permits, it's an open air cafe and quite nice in the spring time.
- Starbucks, Wulin Square, Hangzhou Tower, Hangda Rd, Yanan Rd, West Lake Tiandi, Hyatt Hotel, Hu Shu Nan Rd, Hu Bin Rd, and other locations.
- Chamate, Wulin Square, Yellow Dragon Stadium, West Lake Tiandi (south), is a Taiwanese tea house chain. An excellent place to sample a wide variety of green and oolong teas from the comprehensive picture menu. Each tea is served in its own characteristic style teapot along with plentiful hot (mineral) water. If the tea isn't enough, shaved ice red bean dessert, stinky tofu and Wi-Fi access are all available too.
There are several large popular clubs in Hangzhou that cater to a generally un-sophisticated house music crowd, although they often have famous DJs visiting. Tables are hard to come by later on at night, and usually you cannot book. Tipping the server may help you find a table. Drinks may take a while to come, so perhaps ordering a bottle of liquor and mixers for the table would reduce the amount of time waiting for drinks. Clubs are generally safe, but bouncers are in-effective so stay away from trouble.
- SOS, Huanglong Road and Tianmushan Road. The big boy of Hangzhou, and is truly massive, with advanced sound and light, and is always full. SOS has fewer regulars, and more out-of-town clubbers.
- G+, in the Wahaha Building on Qingchun Road. The more sophisticated of the big clubs, catering to slightly better heeled 20-30s crowd.
- Coco, Wangtang Road and Wensan West Road. Smaller club on the West side that attracts many expats. Music is more alternative for Hangzhou, and usually there are foreign DJs.
- Hangzhou Garden Youth Hostel. Opened in 2006 on ZhaoGong Causeway near the Hangzhou Botanic Gardens on the western shore of West Lake. It is part of Hostelling International and consists of a beautifully restored historic courtyard building. Dorm rooms have very clean, upmarket ensuite bathrooms with 24-hr hot water. The hostel is very convenient for walking and sightseeing around West Lake, but it's far from restaurants and nightlife. It is a 15-minute walk to the bar/tea house/restaurant strip on Shuguang Road.
- Hangzhou International Youth Hostel, Nanshan Road (Right on the east side of the lake and just off "bar street", next to Qing Temple). Run by Hosteling International and has a friendly staff. ¥40 w/membership, ¥45 without membership, per night, 6 people to a room (you can get doubles as well for about ¥200, including a lakeview double for ¥250). All rooms and toilet/shower are extremely clean. Despite being literally a few paces from the clubs of Nanshan Road, this hostel is set back far enough to be relatively noise free and features a comfortable courtyard/patio with a pond. The lobby also has a boring bar and an all-right breakfast.
- My Inn Hotel (我的客栈), 264 QiuTao Rd, ShangCheng District; 杭州市上城区秋涛路264号(长途汽车南站对面) (Adjacent to Metro 1 Wujian Road, and South Bus Station), ☏ . Comfortable rooms without TV, although has a computer in rooms with internet at ¥20 (optional). Bathrooms are clean, there is a convenience store in the lobby, and laundry, kitchen and business facilities in the building. Plenty of bus routes can be taken at the hotel front street. ¥99 per night..
- Pod Inn (布丁酒店). Several locations in Hangzhou, including two near West Lake. Similar in concept to My Inn with small, two person rooms starting at ¥95 a night and larger rooms at higher price points.
- [dead link] West Lake Youth House, 62-3 Nanshan Rd (At the southern end of West Lake), ☏ , fax: . No. Excellent rooms, friendly staff. ¥50 dorm, ¥200 double.
- 1 Hangzhou Touran Backpack Hostel, No.3 Si Yan Jing, Hupao Road Xihu Hangzhou, 310013, China (杭州市西湖区虎跑路与满觉陇路交叉路口，四眼井3号（靠近儿童公园）, 西湖区 (杭州, 310013)), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Very friendly staff. 42¥ dorm.
You can find mid-range hotels all over the city, most of which will take foreigners. Try to bargain for a room. Ask how much they want for one night's stay, then say "what if I stay for 3 nights?" or something to that extent and it will become cheaper.
- Enjoyor Hotel, 65 Qingchun Rd, ☏ . Shangcheng District. This hotel has 168 rooms, and also offers hydropathy treatments, a variety of dining options, and helpful services.
- 2 Hangzhou Overseas Chinese Hotel (杭州华侨饭店), Hu Bin Road 15, ☏ . At the beginning of this pedestrian lakeside area, right next the Hyatt. If you get a lakeside room, you have the same views and location as the Hyatt for one-quarter the price. Skip breakfast as it is all-Chinese, not very clean and full of other guests smoking their way through their meals. Otherwise, the rooms are clean and everything can be reached by foot. Also, taxis pass continuously in front of the hotel day and night, meaning that you never need to call for one. High-speed internet available on the 4th and 5th floor only.
- Hangzhou Sunny Huansha Hotel, 17 Huansha Road, Shangcheng District. A 3-star hotel offering 100 aptly furnished rooms with smart amenities such as desktop computer with free internet access. Primarily a business hotel, it has a well equipped business center and multi functional hall that can accommodate up to 200 guests.
- Redstar Culture Hotel, 280 South Jianguo Road, Shangcheng District, ☏ . A four-star hotel next to the Hangzhou Railway Station Square. Maximize your reservation by attending a gala at its 900-capacity theater and enjoy a sumptous meal on their Chinese restaurant that offers Jiangsu, Sichuan, and Zhejiang cuisines.
- SouthLine Hotel (Nanxian Dajiudian), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A small but clean, well-located and reasonably well-appointed mid-range hotel one-half block off the lake and right next to the Zhejiang Art Academy on Nanshan Rd. Prices range from US$40 per night to over $100. The friendly staff speaks limited English.
- [dead link] SSAW Hotel Hubin, 221 Jiefang Rd. Shangcheng District. 4-star hotel near Hubin Walk Street and Nanshan Leisure Avenue features elegant rooms, conference facilities, restaurant and bar, fitness center, and concierge and tour desks.
- Braim International Hotel, 195 Jiaogong Road, Xihu District, ☏ . Offers 5-star accommodation near the World Exhibition Center and West Lake. The hotel offers 297 rooms, restaurant and café, outdoor pool, and conference facilities.
- [dead link] Braim Seasons Hotel Hangzhou, 166 Zhonghe Middle Rd (junction of Zhonghe and Jiefang Roads), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Shangcheng District. 4-star hotel with spacious rooms, free internet access, business center, and restaurant.
- Culture Plaza Hotel Zhejiang, 38 Wen Er Road, ✉ email@example.com. 4-star hotel north of West Lake. It has 174 rooms with high-speed internet access and IDD phone. Facilities include the Super Book Market and the sprawling Wenhua Meeting Room.
- [dead link] European Style Holiday Hotel, 18 Xihu Street, Shangcheng District, ☏ , fax: . A four-star hotel near the railway station.
- Friendship Hotel Hangzhou, No. 53 Pinghai Road, Shangcheng District. A four-star hotel on Pinghai Road, Hangzhou’s central business district. Amenities include rooms with West Lake or city views, multicultural restaurants, versatile function halls, and meeting rooms. Secured reservations are instantly confirmed online.
- 3 [dead link] Hangzhou Sunny Hotel, 108 Jie Fang Rd (Shangcheng District), ☏ . More than 320 rooms, 7 restaurants.
- 4 Huachen-Tang Palace (Huachen International Hotel), 25 Pinghai Road. Four-star hotel that is 5 minutes walk to the West Lake and with a fabulous international buffet breakfast.
- 5 Hyatt Regency Hangzhou, 28 Hu Bin Rd (right on the eastern shore of the lake), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 5-star hotel. The hotel is part of a multi use complex including an upmarket department store.
- 6 Lakeview Hotel (Wang Hu Hotel), 2 West Huancheng Road, Xihu District, ☏ . 4-star hotel with rooms equipped with cable TV, high-speed internet access, bathroom with tub, hair dryer, and mini-bar. Some of its amenities include Lakeview Hotel Shopping Center, hame rooms (for chess, card games, and billiards), and a swimming pool. Fabulous international buffet breakfast. ¥368 and up.
- 7 Ramada (Haihua Binguan), Qingchun Road (near the West Lake). Between Wulin Road and the West Lake, although lake-view rooms are somewhat limited and not very intimate.
- 8 Shangri-La, 78 Beishan Rd. Shangri-La is an older style hotel building on lush green grounds. Has bikes available to rent at ¥25 per hour. ¥1100.
- Victoria Regal Hotel Zhejiang, 89 Yan An Road, Shangcheng District, ✉ email@example.com. 5-star hotel offering 200 rooms with handsome interiors. Leisure and business facilities include the Ban Dao Buffet Center and the Viscount Grand Ballroom.
- Xin Ding Garden Hotel, 135 Yanan Road, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 5-star hotel near West Lake with 118 rooms, business facilities, savory local and international cuisine, and free high-speed internet access.
- 9 Zhejiang Grand Hotel, 595 Yanan Rd, ☏ . Xiacheng District, 307 rooms, no frills. It also has 9 function rooms for events. An entertainment club and spa are some of the recreational facilities.
- Zhejiang Xizi Hotel, 37 Nanshan Road, Xihu District, ☏ . Near the historic Leifeng Pagoda in the West Lake area. Magnificent views, excellent facilities, and good service.
- 10 Zhejiang Narada Grand Hotel (Zhejiang Shimao Junlan Dafandian), 122 Shuguang Road (Shuguang Lu). A the foot of Baoshi Mountain, close to West Lake.
The West Lake is home to many biting insects that may cause allergic reactions in visitors from outside the area.
- Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, 3 East Qingchun Road, ☏ . named for the Hong Kong media mogul who funded its construction, SRRSH is one of the best hospitals in the city. VIP medical service can be purchased for ¥100, which includes an English-speaking nurse attendant and expedited service.
- Zhejiang No.2 Hospital, No. 88 Jiefang Road, Hangzhou, 310009. A Chinese-style hospital that can be used for non-emergency visits. Expect long lines and crowds of curious locals. Gurneys are hard to come by and there's a lot of walking around, standing and sitting in uncomfortable metal chairs even for sick people. You will be sent from one part of the hospital to the other, standing in different lines to see doctors for relatively brief periods. Still, it's cheaper than Western hospitals, so you get what you pay for.
- Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital, 158 Shangtang Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310014, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This hospital is almost empty because it is not well-regarded by the Chinese and its doctors are not up to standard.
- Shanghai — About an hour away by train.
- Suzhou — Around two hours away by bus (or train). Buses leave several times per hour from the bus station at northeast of city (¥68).
- Tianmushan — For a weekend timeout.
- Lake Tai is reasonably close, a common weekend getaway for Hangzhou residents.
- Huangshan or Yellow Mountain, in neighbouring Anhui Province, is a national park on the UNESCO World Heritage List
- Visit the Moganshan mountains to the north for a relaxing break.