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Hangzhou Travel Guide, Hangzhou City Guide, Hangzhou West Lake

Some poems about Hangzhou            Hangzhou's Four Seasons           History of Hangzhou             Hangzhou Now
The Seal Masterpiece of Xiling Seal Society in Hangzhou
So fair is the River's South,
Where pretty scenes did I well know.
The sunrise basks the blooms in fiery glow,
And the spring waters of blue as sapphire flow.
How can my nostalgia cease for the River's South

Remembrance for your charm, Hangzhou!
Unforgotten land foils enthralling show.
Promenade around temple, Inebriated in laurels under the moon.
Recumbency on circumvallation, watching spring tide at noon.
How soon can I visit you, Hangzhou?

So fair is the River's South,
Remembering you, Wu Palace!
A snifter of drink, sweetness lasts on the galas,
Two willowy dancers intoxicates lotus.
When can I meet you in the River's South? 

Written by Bai Juyi (Hangzhou Governor in Tang Dynasty )

Shimmering water at its full, sunny day best.
Blurred mountains in a haze-marvelous even in rain.
Compare West Lake to the beautiful woman Xi Zi:
She looks just as becoming
Lightly made up or richly adored.

Written by Su Dongpo (Hangzhou Governor in Song Dynasty )
The famous poems above expressed the poets’ nostalgia and reminiscence for the beauty and enchantment of Hangzhou, one of the 10 most livable cities in China and the paradise city, just as the proverb goes: “In heaven, there is paradise, on earth, Hangzhou and Suzhou". A palatial city depicted by Marco Polo as "the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world" in his Travelogue. 
Hangzhou is the place to experience a harmonious blend of the quintessential aspects of ancient and modern China. Many westerners also remark that “Hangzhou is like the China they had imagined before they come to China.”

One of the most exciting parts about a trip to Hangzhou is the chance to experience many facets of traditional Chinese culture through real life experience, rather than textbooks.

Top 10 Things to do in Hangzhou

(1) Explore West Lake: the centerpiece of Hangzhou

The first thing to do is to visit the West Lake, a UNESCO world heritage site, by hiking, cycling or boating. West Lake is the centerpiece of Hangzhou. It is spanned by two causeways: Bai and Su. Museums, villas bridges, pavilions abound. Each has a story to tell. To avoid the crowds, just head to Yanggong Causeway. Hidden gems await you in every nook. It is heavily wooded, and less traveled, hence, you can enjoy West Lake to the fullest. West Lake has ten scenes. Visit the West Lake Museum first, so you can find your feet as to where to begin. Booths along the West Lake offer free English maps of this lake. With it, you can manage to explore it almost
hangzhou city guide west lake
(2) Walk into history along the Hefang Street: Hangzhou's most famous old street. Perfect for gifts shopping.
 hefang street hangzhou

(3) Have a panorama of the West Lake by climbing the Leifeng Pagoda, a symbol of love

(4) Stroll along the tea plantation in Longjing or Meijiawu

(5) Visit the Former Residence of Hu Xueyan, a fine example of Ming and Qing-era private villa
former residence of hu xueyan hangzhou city guide

(6) Visit the Huqingyutang Traditional Chinese Pharmacy

(7) Cycling along the Beijiang-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the oldest and longest man-made canal on earth. Enjoy the 5 museums at Qiaoxi History Street, fine dine at Dadoulu Historical Street watch the ships passing by
beijing hangzhou grand canal

(8) Climb the Six Harmonies Pagoda to have a panorama of the mighty Qiantang River

(9) Shopping till you drop at the Silk Market of Xinhua Road or explore Guo's Villa off the West Lake near Yanggong Causeway
guo villa hangzhou city guide

(10) Seal your trip with a pilgrimage to Lingyin Temple, a time-honored key temple in China. Leave Hangzhou with grateful heart.
lingyin temple hangzhou city guide
Hangzhou's Four Seasons
Spring: Visit the Su Causeway to see peach blooms mingle with willow trees, explore Meijiawu tea plantations to pick Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea, the best green tea in China, and have a meal in a tea farmer’s home.

Summer: Visit Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden to see a lotus-filled pool spanned with a Nine Bend Bridge

Autumn: Visit Manjuelong to see osmanthus flowers, or explore the Bai Causeway to enjoy Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake, or walk along the Qiantang River to enjoy the most splendid tidal bore on earth

Winter: marvel at the Broken Bridge blanketed with a thin layer of snow
1 hour’s train ride away from Shanghai sits Hangzhou, the political, economic and cultural center in theYangtze Delta. Characterized by the subtropical monsoon climate, Hangzhou enjoy four distinctive seasons.  
 hangzhou spring

 Spring in Hangzhou witnesses the drizzling rain and mist hang over West Lake, painting the much romanticized scene of hazy blue waters set against lush hills, soaring pagodas and blooming trees. A vivid traditional painting springs into life during this mild and magic season.  

hangzhou summer
Summer in Hangzhou is hot, lengthy and sticky. Temperatures may reach as high as 40 clecius degrees. It is colorful and blazing, and ever-changing, just like a fashionable model always changes her garment. Downtown Hangzhou is not walking friendly during the noontime, but the hills surrounding this city offer countless rejuvenate and refresh chances. Dive in the green ocean, walk under along the thick canopies, sit in a cave or idle away a whole day in a park are what the locals and visitors do. Lotus blooms large and vividly at the Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden. Bring your water and camera to check it out. Thousand Island Lake in the vicinity of Hangzhou is an ideal camping or weekend getaway. 
hangzhou autumn
Hangzhou in Autumn is characterized by drizzle, crispy air and autumn leaves. , In Autumn, Hangzhou is the heaven of philosophy and meditation. It washes away  
hangzhou winter
Hangzhouin winter resembles a willow tree standing off the West Lake. She gives the feeling of warmth and elegance in winter. Hangzhou in winter also looks like a black-and-white ink painting, which mirrors the real beauty of Hangzhou---Simplicity, Elegance, Rationality and Tranquility. It snows in winter. Bring a down clothes.  

Hangzhou, a 2200-year-old city


The 2200-year-old Hangzhou is one of China’s seven ancient capitals. Complement the idyllic scenery are the rich relics, testifying to its rich history. Hangzhou is the hub of traditional Chinese culture and art. Hangzhou’s natural beauty and cultural charm are captured and immortalized by Many poets, literary giants stayING here all their lives, such as Bai Juyi, Su Dongpo, Lin Yun, Shen Kuo, Yue Fei,etc. 

Hangzhou, a rising economic powerhouse of the Yangtze River Delta


Since the remote antiquity, Hangzhou has long been regarded as the land flowing with milk and honey. Grains produced here were shipped as far as Beijing during the 7th century.

Hangzhou, a cradle of traditional art


Except for rice and fish, Hangzhou also shines as a cradle of silk and tea. Acupuncture, calligraphy, Taiji, horticulture, traditional painting, the folk music could been seen easily, furthermore they are perfected, preserved and inherited by the later generations. In a word Hangzhou is well worth visiting if you are really into Chinese civilization.

Hangzhou, a rising superstar


Hangzhou is the political and cultural center of Zhejiang. It experiences highs and lows during the past 2,200 years. After 1978, Hangzhou experienced an economic boon and a cultural renaissance.
Hangzhou’s economic strength raks second among China’s provincial capitals, just second to Guangzhou. Time-honored industries include fan, umbrella, silk and tea continue to prosper, while the rising of modern industries, such as IT, e-commence, tourism and export, has brought a new wave of wealth to the Hangzhounese, who enjoy one of the highest GDP among China’s second-tier cities.

Alibaba, China’s e-bay, is based in Hangzhou. With the emergence of “ Silicon Valley”, Hangzhou also embraced a meteoric rise in software industry. As a host city of cartoon festival, Hangzhou also established its status as a city of cartoon industry.
Hangzhou is an ideal place to play, work and study, for both the Chinese and expats. Bilingual schools and universities can be found in big Hangzhou. Zhejiang University, famed as “the Oriental Cambridge.”, is a premier choice among international students.

Here goes a poem highlighting our love to this city:

Eastern paradise meets your dream in Hangzhou,
Daintiness sweetens your mouth at Louwailou.
Colorfulness enriches your horizons from show.
What will be your deep soul?
Who come here undoubtedly know! 

Hangzhou, city of love


Hangzhou is recognized as “The Heaven on Earth and The Capital of Love” thanks to its timeless romance. Two of Chinese four most famous folk love stories were set in Hangzhou. One is “Lady Snake White”, the other is “ Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai”. The former is associated with Leifeng Pagoda, while the latter, the Wansong Academy. Hangzhounese are romantic by nature. Staying here for one month, chances are that you will grow addictive to its romantic vibe also.
Most romantic dating site: Hongle Shuangzhuan near Yanggong Causeway
Best place to shoot weeding photos: Guo’s Villa, Yanggong Causeway, Prince Bay Park

Hangzhou, an oasis of Buddhism


Hangzhou is also the center of Buddhism in Southeast China, which is testified by a wealth of temples, monasteries and numerous legendary stories. Lingyin Temple, or Soul’s Retreat Temple, tops the list for those yearning for a pilgrimage. Other religious sites well worth exploring include Jingci Temple(opposite of Leifeng Pagoda), Baopu Temple, Fahua Temple at the foot of North Peak.

 What to eat in Hangzhou


Top ten signature dishes of Hangzhou

(1) Dongpo Pork
dongpo pork

(2) Beggar’s Chicken
beggars chicken hangzhou

(3) West Lake Carp in Sweet Vinegar Sauce
west lake carp in sweet vinegar sauce

(4) Baby Shrimp wit Longjing Tea
baby shrimp with longjing tea

(5) Fried Tufu Skins
fried tufu skins

(6) Sizzling Rice Cakes with Shrimp and Tomato
Sizzling Rice Cakes with Shrimp and Tomato

(7) West Lake Water Shield Soup
West Lake Water Shield Soup

(8) Wu Hill Crisp Cakes
wu hill crisp cakes

(9) Happy Pairs

(10) Cat’s Ear
hangzhou cuisine cat ear

Time-honored restaurants in Hangzhou


(1) Louwailou: It is the oldest restaurant in Hangzhou.

snacking around at Zhiweiguan: Zhiweiguan is an one-stop snack shop. The average cost is RMB 20.

(3) The Grandma’s: It is a perfect place to enjoy light-flavored, and a little sour and sweet hangzhou dishes. The average cost is around RMB 50 per person.

(4) Yuanzili(院子里): It offers 5-star delicacies with 3-star prices. The interior is elegant and intimate. I dined in Yuanzili in Intime of west Hangzhou downtown. Love it. The average cost is from RMB 20 to 50 per person. Get there early, so save time for the long queue.

Famous Food Streets in Hangzhou


(1) Dadoulu Historical Street(大兜路美食街):
It is a restored old street off the Beijing Hangzhou Grand Canal. It is lined with restaurants and shops on one side, the beautiful canal on the other. The nightview is romantic and breathtaking. 1 hour is enough to explore it.

(2) Shenglihe Food Street (胜利河美食街 )

(3) Xinyifang(信义坊)

Hangzhou Geography

Hangzhou is located in northern Zhejiang province, eastern China, at the southern end of the Grand Canal of China, on the plain of the mid-lower reaches of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang). Hangzhou is bordered to the west by the hilly-country Anhui Province, east to the flat-land near Hangzhou Bay and to the south by the Qiantang River.. Hangzhou's municipality extends to include 8 districts (6 urban, 2 suburban), 2 county-level cities, and 2 counties.

Hangzhou Climate

Hangzhou enjoys a humid subtropical climate with four distinctive seasons. The annual temperature averages at16.2'C (61.2'F). The summers are hot and humid, while winters are relatively cool and dry. In July, the hottest month, the average temperature is approximately 33.8'C (92.8'F) ; in January the average temperature is about 3.6'C (38.5'F).

Hangzhou receives an average annual rainfall of 1450 mm. In mid-summer, Hangzhou, along with other cities in Zhejiang province, suffers occasional typhoons, but typhoons seldom strike it directly. Generally they land along the southern coast of Zhejiang, and affect Hangzhou with strong winds and stormy rains. Anyway, Hangzhou is safe to travel, work and live. 
hangzhou city guide

Hangzhou is a garden  and it has its different beauty in different season. Thanks to its geography and climate, Hangzhou is always green.  So many poets and artists think of Hangzhou as the capital of green.


Hangzhou Population

Spanning 682 sq. km (263.4 sq. mile), Hangzhou city proper is home to 4.5million people, while its suburban areas encompassing 682 sq. km (263.4 sq. mile), are shared by 1,950,000 denizens.

Hangzhou Transportation

By Plane
Hangzhou has its own airport, in Xiaoshan district, 27km from the downtown. Scheduled flights connecting Hangzhou with China’s main cities include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Guilin, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Xian, Dalian etc. In addition, Hangzhou also offers flights to and from Hong Kong and Singapore. Airport shuttle bus priced at RMB 20 will take you to downtown Hangzhou. They depart at every 15 to 30 minutes from 6am to 8pm. Inner city buses 11,28,92 stop at Wulinmen .Large hotels also offer free service to the airport, but this is, of course for guests only.

By Train

Two railway stations service Hangzhou: Hangzhou Railway Station( Intersection of West Lake Thoroughfare ( Xihu Dadao) and JIngcheng Rd Buses: 11,7,151 and Y2) and East Hangzhou Railway Station( northeast of downtown Hangzhou, beyond the Grand Canal, Buses 28,516 Y5 Y7)

All trains originating from or terminating at Hangzhou use Hangzhou Railway Station(杭州城战火车站),while trains traveling through Hangzhou en route usually stop at the East Hangzhou Railway Station. Five express trains commute between Hangzhou and Shanghai daily, with a time of around 1 hour and 50 min. If you take the G-train, or fast speed train, it can be shortened to 1hour.

Hangzhou is connected with more than 30 large to medium sized cities by direct rail lines. It is the starting point for several routes such as Zhejiang-Jiangxi, Hangzhou-Ningbo, and the Zhejiang-Changsha lines as well as the terminal for the Shanghai-Hangzhou line.

By Boat
Along theGrand Canal, there are pleasant boat trips to Suzhou, or down to Fuyang, Wufan, Jiande, Lanxi and other cities in Zhejiang province along the Qiantang River.
Hangzhou (Wulin Gate) Passenger Transport Dock
Add: 208, North Huancheng Rd
Ticket: RMB 70 TO 130
Boats depart daily at 5:30pm, arriving at Suzhou the following morning at 7:00am.
AbsoluteChinaTours can book guide, drivers, cars and tour service for you. Just email us.
By Bus
Hangzhou has 4 long-distance bus stations that connect Hangzhou with the rest of China.

East Hangzhou Bus Station

The former East Hangzhou BUs Station complete it relocation in Jan,2010 and totally moves to the newly built Hangzhou JIubao Passenger Transportation Center, which is located in Jiubao Town, Jianggan District and connects to buses No. 69,100,104,868. Intercity buses to the neighboring cities such as Shanghai, Shaoxing, Suzhou and Jiaxing abound.

West Hangzhou Bus Station
357 Tianmushan Rd, QIutao Rd,
Connects to inner city buses No.49, 83, and 502.
Intercity buses to Chun’an, Huangshan ,Quzhou, Tonglu and Xin’an River

South Hangzhou Bus Station
Connects to inner city buses 14,20, 44
Intercity buses to Jiuhua, Wenzhou and Yiwu.  
Urban Traffic : Downtown Hangzhou is serviced by over 30 bus routes. Among them, buses No. 228, No. 258 and No. 8 are all-night, and depart at intervals of 30 minutes.7:00amm to 9:00am , 17:00pm to 19:00pm are the rush time, it is quiet crowded.
Hangzhou has plentiful taxis for hire.(the flag down is RMB 11at the first 3km, each exceeding km is charged at RMB 3) It is difficult to hire a taxi during the rush hour also, because it is the shift time. Do not wait for taxi in the road crossing, for taxis wont stop, it is too dangerous. Wait them at the bus stations or the side road, where taxi drivers can pick up you safely.

Another nice way to get around is by bike! Hangzhou has the biggest E-bike system on earth. Apply for a E-bike card at Longxiangqiao(龙翔桥),with a deposit fee of RMB 300, and show them your passport or ID card, then you can use them for free during the 1st hour.

Hangzhou Top Attractions


Hangzhou Top 10 Museums


Hangzhou Famous Shopping& Food Streets

 xiaohe street hangzhou hefang street hangzhou
Xiaohe Historical StreetHefang Street
 wushan night market hangzhou shengli river food street
Wushan Night MarketShenglihe Food Street
 hangzhou xinyifang food street dadou road food street hangzhou city guide
XinyifangDadoulu Food Street

Hangzhou Famous Shopping Malls


Famous Attractions around West Lake


Famous Attractions Near Hangzhou


 Hangzhou Top 3 Shows


Hangzhou Top Traditional Chinese Medicine Pharmacies


Hangzhou Famous Time-Honored Restaurants

'The Grandma's 
guo villa hangzhou city guide
Sophia Lee in Guo's Villa, Hangzhou  June, 2014


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