Hangzhou is the capital of China’s Zhejiang Province. It’s only an hour away from Shanghai by bullet train (which costs less than 80 yuan!).
Places to visit
- West Lake (西湖), a large man-made freshwater lake, is the most famous tourist attraction of Hangzhou and considered as one of the most beautiful places in China; it was made a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2011, described as having “influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries”, and reflecting “an idealized fusion between humans and nature”. There are many temples, pagodas, gardens and artificial islands within the lake.
Impression West Lake: you can watch a live show at night on the West Lake. It gives you the ultimate experience of music, light and dance in the backdrop of West Lake.
- Lingyin Temple (灵隐寺), or literally translated as Temple of the Soul’s Retreat, is a Buddhist temple from the 4th century. It is one of the largest Buddhist temples in China and contains numerous pagodas and Buddhist grottos. In 1961, the temple was listed for protection as a key provincial historical and cultural site.
- Meijiawu Tea Village (梅家坞茶庄) is a great place to escape from the bustle of the city. It famous for producing Longjing tea (translated as Dragon Well tea, one of the most famous Chinese teas). Here you can learn to pick tea leaves and experience the Chinese tea culture.
- Hangzhou Botanical Garden (杭州植物园): if you are in the mood for birdwatching, you could try Hangzhou Botanical Garden. Covering an area of about 230 hectares, this beautiful garden can be a good retreat from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Where to eat?
Hangzhou food (known as Hangbang Cai in Chinese) is the most famous branch of Zhejiang cuisine. Bordering the East China Sea and circling around the West Lake, Hangzhou is famous for its seafood and freshwater fish.
Xihu State Guesthouse Ziwei Pavillion (西湖国宾馆（刘庄）紫薇厅)
Must-try: West Lake Fish in Vinegar (西湖醋鱼)
Four Seasons Restaurant Jinsha Pavillion (四季酒店金沙厅)
Must-try: Longjing Tea Shrimp (龙井虾仁)
Juying Noodles Restaurant (菊英面店)
Must-try: Pian Er Chuan noodles (片儿川). Pian Er Chuan noodles are made with potherb mustard, sliced meat and bamboo shoots in light soup.