Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and one of China's major tourist destinations.
Among the city’s famous attractions are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the beautiful West Lake and the historic Grand Canal, which links the Yellow River to the mighty Yangtze. Local specialties include Xihu silk umbrellas, colour-glazed porcelain, Longjing (Dragon Well) tea, and white chrysanthemum.
The West Lake lies on the beautiful and fertile shores of the East China Sea, offering views that have enchanted travellers for centuries. It is divided into five sections by three causeways. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the famous freshwater lake.
Three Pools Mirroring the Moon
These three stone pagodas were first built during the Song Dynasty, formed the West Lake’s attractive scene, known as “one moon in the sky, three reflections on the lake”.
This 2.8 kilometre-long causeway runs south to north across the Lake, lined with trees and flowering plants. An early morning stroll among the peach blossoms and green willow trees during spring is a worthwhile experience.
Local folklore has it that two mighty tigers came from Hengshan mountain and dug a hole in the spot where the spring’s fountain gushes forth. Longjing tea and Tiger-running Spring water are known as the two wonders of the West Lake.
Xixi Wetland Park
A short drive from the Lake, Xixi (“West stream”) is believed to have been discovered in the Han dynasty more than one thousand years ago. The scenic retreat rose to prominence during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and its popularity has been recently revived.
Legend has it that Feilai Feng, or ‘the Peak that flew hither’, was originally from India but flew to Hangzhou overnight as a demonstration of the omnipotence of Buddhist law. A large number of carvings can be found on the limestone peak’s surface, as well as in its various caves and grottoes.
Lingyin Temple has been a popular destination since ancient China and is an important site for both pilgrims and tourists. It was founded in 328 AD during the Eastern Jin Dynasty by an Indian monk named Huili, who believed the nearby Feilai Peak must be the home of immortals.
Southern Song Dynasty Guan Kiln Museum
The museum in China dedicated to pottery and porcelain lies at the foot of Tortoise Hill, in the southern part of the West Lake Scenic Area. It was built over the remains of Jiaotanxia Official Kiln and recalls the architectural style of the Southern Song Dynasty.
China National Tea Museum
China has a rich tea culture that has developed over thousands of years. The National Tea Museum is in Longjing Village, west of the Lake. Opened to the public in April 1991, it is a museum documenting China’s history as the birthplace of tea.
China National Silk Museum
Another museum on the southern bank of the West Lake, the professional National Silk Museum.
Museum of Hu Qing Yu Tang Traditional Chinese Medicines
The Museum of Hu Qing Yu Tang Traditional Chinese Medicine is located in Dajing Lane at the foot of Wu Hill in Hangzhou. Besides documenting the history of Chinese medicine, the museum also houses a functioning pharmacy where visitors can further their understanding of traditional remedies.
Hefang Street is a famous historical street in Hangzhou, offering visitors an array of traditional shops, restaurants and tea houses reminiscent of the ancient city: An ideal place to buy unique souvenirs and to experience a taste of local culture.
On Yan’an Road, shoppers will find large department stores, such as Kerry Centre and Zhejiang Intime, as well as smaller boutiques selling quality items and discounted goods.
Wulin Road, in downtown Hangzhou, is a major commercial street offering visitors a variety of shopping and entertainment outlets. Nearby Wulin Square is home to a large number of upscale boutiques and high-end department stores.
Hangzhou silk is renowned for its good quality and magnificent colour. Giving visitors an abundance of choice and a glimpse of local history, the Hangzhou Silk Market is not to be missed.
Southern Song Imperial Street
This charming pedestrian street originally served as a private passage for emperors of the Southern Song Dynasty when they went to offer heavenly sacrifices. The surrounding area was restored and reopened to the public in 2009, and is known for its street food and vibrant night market.