Help Wikitravel grow by contributing to an article! Learn how.

Difference between revisions of "Hangzhou"

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search
(Buy)
(By bike)
Line 76: Line 76:
 
For stays in Hangzhou, making use of the city's extensive public bike system can be a cheap and convenient way to experience the city. 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 down to the river near the Six Harmonies Pagoda.  
 
For stays in Hangzhou, making use of the city's extensive public bike system can be a cheap and convenient way to experience the city. 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 down to the river near the Six Harmonies Pagoda.  
 
[[Image:Hangzhou Bicycle Rental.JPG|thumb|Bicycles one can rent from Hangzhou's bike system; they aren't the best for anyone over 6', but one can manage. They include a lock (see picture) that one can use if he decides to walk around without having to return the bike.]]  
 
[[Image:Hangzhou Bicycle Rental.JPG|thumb|Bicycles one can rent from Hangzhou's bike system; they aren't the best for anyone over 6', but one can manage. They include a lock (see picture) that one can use if he decides to walk around without having to return the bike.]]  
To use the bikes, one will need to purchase a stored value card at 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. To do this, one must present an ID (such as a passport) and pay 300 RMB, 200 of which is a deposit with the remaining 100 to cover rentals 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. One can use any of the available bike racks scattered about the city if he or she wishes to visit an attraction or get a new bike. The bike is free for the first hour, 1 RMB an hour for the two hours after that, and 3 RMB an hour thereafter. For example, if one rents a bike for six hours, he or she will return to the main bicycle "hub" and receive 289 of his RMB deposit back, which covers the 11 RMB worth of bike riding.  
+
To use the bikes, one will need to purchase a stored value card at one of 5 sites such as 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. As well, each bike station will give out free tourist maps including a bike map that shows all the bike stations around the city. To obtain a value card (aka IC card), one must present an ID (such as a passport) and pay 300 RMB, 200 of which is a deposit with the remaining 100 to cover rentals 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. One can use any of the available bike racks scattered about the city if he or she wishes to visit an attraction or get a new bike. The bike is free for the first hour, 1 RMB an hour for the two hours after that, and 3 RMB an hour thereafter. For example, if one rents a bike for six hours, he or she will return to the main bicycle "hub" and receive 289 of his RMB deposit back, which covers the 11 RMB worth of bike riding.  
  
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. Bikes not returned by 8:00 p.m. each night must be taken back to the Longxiang Qiao location, 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.
+
IC Cards or the bike rental cards can also be used on local buses (9% discount on public buses). More than one person may use the same card for their bus fare. Simply swipe the card the number of times equivalent to the number of people getting on the bus.
 +
 
 +
Be careful to choose a bike with air in the front and back wheels, working brakes and appropriate seat height. 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. Bikes not returned by 8:00 p.m. each night must be taken back to the Longxiang Qiao location (24hr), 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 alright to rent bikes and return it within the hour and then immediately rent another bike so you never have to pay a dime.
  
 
===Maps===
 
===Maps===

Revision as of 15:49, 26 November 2010

View over West Lake

Hangzhou (杭州 Hángzhōu; [1]) 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 heritages. It is the political, economic and cultural center of Zhejiang province as well.

Contents

Understand

Famed for its natural scenery, Hangzhou and its West Lake (西湖 Xī Hú) 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, during that time the city's population is estimated to have been as high as one million, 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".

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 1.7 million and ranks as one of China's most popular tourist attractions.

Get in

By plane

Despite the name, Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) generally services domestic Chinese flights. There are frequent services to Beijing and Hong Kong, but using Shanghai's domestic Hongqiao or the international Pudong airports and connecting by bus or train is also a viable option. International flights are possible. International cities that have service to Hangzhou include Amsterdam (by KLM), Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Osaka, Bangkok, Seoul, and Singapore. Flights from Kuala Lumpur can be obtained from AirAsia, [2] a low-cost airline that provides flights to China and throuhgout Asia. The service to Bangkok may not currently be operating.

The airport is about 30km east of the city centre, taking 30 minutes - 1 hour by taxi. A taxi to or 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 cheaper route would be to buy tickets for the 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 30mins 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. The Shangri-La Hotel also has a shuttle service to/from the airport for ¥50, inquire within.

Alternatively, if flying into Pudong Airport in Shanghai, there are direct buses to Hangzhou. They leave from the 2nd floor parking lot across from Gate 15 of Pudong Airport, departing every 1.5 hours from 10:30AM until 7PM. It costs ¥100 (Summer 2008 price). These buses arrive at the Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Sports Center (football stadium), 3km to the west of the city centre.

By train

There's frequent high-speed train connect Hangzhou and Shanghai. Non-stop train from Hangzhou to Shanghai's Hongqiao Station is 45 minutes. The trains can travel up to 350 km/h.

In addition to Shanghai, Hangzhou Train Station serves trains from Guangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, and everywhere in between. For destinations further away, such as Kunming and Urumqi, you would first want to go to Shanghai or some halfway-point train station. There is an East Train Station as well, but it is not in such a smart part of town. Trains returning from Shanghai often only stop here rather than at the main station.

By bus

Hangzhou has 4 bus stations (N, E, W, and S). Usually, the direction of your destination corresponds to the bus station's name, eg if you are going to Shanghai, you'll 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.

For travel to or from Shanghai, the bus has become at times more convenient than the train, as it can be more comfortable if only hard seater train tickets exist, and the buses depart more frequently than trains. From Shanghai, buses depart from the north bus station (Hengfen Lu), the PuDong bus station (Bailianjing, PuDong Nan Lu), and from Xujiahui Bus Station, ticket cost ¥58 (October 2008 price). These buses arrive at the north bus station of Hanzhou.

There are also airport shuttle buses (100rmb per ticket). There are buses between Yellow Dragon Stadium and Pudong Airport (direct), Wulinmen Ticket Office and Hongqiao 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. by Wulin Square. To find the buses from Pudong, you have to go across the street from the international terminal to the large parking garage, then go to the 2nd level of the parking garage to find all the buses to various cities in Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

By boat

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).

Get around

By bus

Hangzhou has an extensive bus network, but you must be able to read Chinese to ride the crowded buses with ease. However, almost any bus that has a Y before the bus number (Y2, Y5, etc) will be "youke" - tourist buses, and are guaranteed to take you to a tourist site for ¥3 - ¥5. Therefore, if you want to just ride Y buses around all day, you will save money and still see the sites without having to tell the taxi drivers where you want to go in Chinese.

Otherwise, a bus with just a number will cost you ¥1 or ¥1.5, and a bus with a "K" before the number (air conditioned) is ¥2, ¥3 or occasionally, ¥4. Night buses are usually ¥2.5 - these are indicated at the bus stop by having a blue background colour. If you don't understand Chinese, don't worry, since the fare is written at the bus stop next to the bus number, so you can prepare your coins in advance (better have the exact fare, no change is given). Payment is made into a box next to the driver as you board the bus. The amount to be paid will be written on this box, but almost invariably in Chinese characters, not numerals, which is why it's vital to check the fare at the bus stop first if you don't read Chinese. Most buses in Hangzhou don't have a conductor inside as they have in Shanghai, the exceptions being articulated trolley buses with rear- as well as front-entrances. On these trolley buses, its possible to get on and pay at the rear (sometimes less busy than the front).

For those arriving in Hangzhou by train, note that bus K7 goes from the Hangzhou Rail Station to the West Lake for ¥1.

For those with computer or mobile web access, Google Maps may be used to plan bus trips. Simply click choose the "Get Directions" option and enter the departure and destination addresses in Chinese, then choose "public transportation" to view the available bus routes. Alternatively, you may simply right-click to select where to start and end your route.

By taxi

Like most major world cities, 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 color 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. All routes under three kilometers are charged a flat rate of 10 RMB (May 2008), plus the addition of a 1 RMB "fuel tax" increase mandated by the government in 2006, is now charged. There is a low "slow-speed" charge for when the taxi is waiting at lights, stopped in traffic. It is advisable to take a receipt each time use you a taxi, should you wish to contact the taxi company or driver at 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.

Few, if any, of the city's taxi drivers speak English or other foreign languages. It is therefore 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 spoken Mandarin Chinese. If you have a Chinese acquaintance whom you can reach by cell phone, you can allow him or her to speak to your driver through the phone to convey the desired information.

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 in the backseat. This can be worth if the trouble or expense if it saves your group from needing to take two taxis.

Taxis, like all public transportation, are difficult to come by during the tourist weeks (Chinese New Year, May Golden Week, and October National Week); also, taxis between 7:30 and 8:45AM and 4:30-7:00PM are difficult to flag, as they are always full or in the middle of a shift change. A taxi with an imminent shift change (around 4.30-5PM) will be showing a plate in the windscreen (Chinese characters of course) and will only take you if your route coincides with his (or hers, a good number of taxi drivers in Hangzhou are women). A good rule of thumb is that if you need a taxi, there won't be any, but if you don't need one, they will be driving extremely slowly in the right lane disrupting traffic and honking and flashing their brights at you. Being familiar with areas that taxis frequent or places where taxi passengers are likely to be dropped off at will aid you in finding a ride. Don't be visibly upset that your hailing position will be gazumped by a new arrival 20 metres up the road. The only rule is; it's 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 RMB600-1000 depending on time of day or night.

In outer centres of Hangzhou, small 5 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 subway

Line 1 is scheduled to be completed in early 2012, and line 2 shortly thereafter; a total of 8 lines covering over 200km have been planned. The opening dates of the lines are "last", it means they can open earlier in case they pass the security checks quicker. For example, Nanjing's new subway system was opened ahead-of-time, after safety checks were passed, and the same happened in Shanghai.

By "water bus"

Ferry down the Grand Canal takes 30 minutes but only makes 5 trips per day, the first at 7:30AM and the last at 6PM. 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 Steet- 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.

By bike

While traffic in Hangzhou may seem chaotic to some foreigners, the city is comparably bike-friendly. All but small side roads have dedicated bike lanes, often divided from motor traffic by barricades or medians.

For stays in Hangzhou, making use of the city's extensive public bike system can be a cheap and convenient way to experience the city. 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 down to the river near the Six Harmonies Pagoda.

Bicycles one can rent from Hangzhou's bike system; they aren't the best for anyone over 6', but one can manage. They include a lock (see picture) that one can use if he decides to walk around without having to return the bike.

To use the bikes, one will need to purchase a stored value card at one of 5 sites such as 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. As well, each bike station will give out free tourist maps including a bike map that shows all the bike stations around the city. To obtain a value card (aka IC card), one must present an ID (such as a passport) and pay 300 RMB, 200 of which is a deposit with the remaining 100 to cover rentals 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. One can use any of the available bike racks scattered about the city if he or she wishes to visit an attraction or get a new bike. The bike is free for the first hour, 1 RMB an hour for the two hours after that, and 3 RMB an hour thereafter. For example, if one rents a bike for six hours, he or she will return to the main bicycle "hub" and receive 289 of his RMB deposit back, which covers the 11 RMB worth of bike riding.

IC Cards or the bike rental cards can also be used on local buses (9% discount on public buses). More than one person may use the same card for their bus fare. Simply swipe the card the number of times equivalent to the number of people getting on the bus.

Be careful to choose a bike with air in the front and back wheels, working brakes and appropriate seat height. 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. Bikes not returned by 8:00 p.m. each night must be taken back to the Longxiang Qiao location (24hr), 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 alright to rent bikes and return it within the hour and then immediately rent another bike so you never have to pay a dime.

Maps

Buy maps near the Train Station or Bus Station from street vendors or stalls when you arrive. Price is often marked on the maps themselves, if you are wondering how much to pay (under 10 RMB). Street-bought maps are usually written in simplified Chinese with no pinyin. You can find pinyin maps at foreign language bookstores. The main foreign language bookstore in Yan An Road has a reasonable selection of maps as well as travel books.

There is a useful 'what's on' magazine called More Hangzhou [3] that has a good pull-out map in Chinese and English. The magazine is free and can be found in many hotels and bars.

Talk

The local Hangzhou dialect is part of the Wu family of Chinese dialects, and is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin or any other groups of Chinese dialects. However, as with most places in China, most locals will be bilingual in the local dialect and Mandarin, and you wouldn't have any problems speaking Mandarin unless you are talking to the elderly.

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.

See

West Lake (西湖 Xī Hú)

Hangzhou's most famous scenic sight. Technically, there are 10 Scenes of the West Lake and 10 New Scenes, but they 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 "West Lake" itself can be divided into countless smaller sites, from Mr. Guo's villa to "Orioles Singing in the Willows".

The "West Lake Scenic Area" itself is very large. This section only covers areas in the immediate vicinity of the lake. Other spots are covered in later sections.

  • 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.
Sitting on a bench, overlooking West Lake
  • Lesser Yingzhou Isle (Three Pools Mirroring the Moon)— 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.
  • Mid-Lake Pavilion— Bulit 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".
  • Lord Ruan's Mound— This is a mound they made from piling up dirt after dredging the lake 200 years ago. However, it is not just a dirt mound. At night (summer), entertainment activities are occuring in the garden on the island.
  • Hubin #X Park— 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.
  • Su Causeway— Almost 3km long, this 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.
  • 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.
  • Solidary Hill And Zhongshan Park— Where Loud Wai Lou restaurant is located, this is the only natural island on the lake. At least 3 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.
  • Yang Causeway— This is more than 3km 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.
  • King Qian's Memorial, (Qian Wang Ci)— 5 kings of the Wuyue Kingdom are buried here in this memorial on the south end of the lake off Nanshan Road.
  • Wushan Square, (吴山广场 Wu Shan Guang Chang)— Wushan Square and Wushan Hill are a major town center 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 teahouse 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 itself.

Temples, pagodas and churches

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Leifeng Pagoda (雷峰塔)— Located on the shores of the southeast side of the lake and originally 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 itself; 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. Keep in mind that the entry fee for the Leifeng Pagoda is very expensive (¥40/person, Oct 2008) and it's not original, just rebuilt, so if your budget is not that huge, consider to not enter the Pagoda. You can still take pictures in front of it.
  • Baochu Pagoda, (保俶塔 Bǎochù Tǎ) and the surrounding temples on this hill on the north side of the lake. You cannot climb the pagoda, but the view and surrounding Baoshi Hill are awesome.
  • Jingci Temple— 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.
  • Jade Emperor Hill, (玉皇山公园 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 is currently under reconstruction (Aug 2008), but still 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".
  • 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 accomodate up to 7000 attenders, welcoming many international visitors and guest preachers including Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham.

Gardens, forests, nature

  • Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea Fields, (龙井茶园 Long Jing Cha Yuan), and other tea fields further west. These 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).
  • Guo's Villa, (郭庄 Guo Zhuang [4]), is the best existing traditional private garden 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. Cleaverly 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 yuan entry fee keeps many people away, and you can have some tea (40 yuan) on the lakeside pavilions of the villa while avoiding the tourists.
  • Hangzhou Botanical Gardens, (植物园 Zhi Wu Yuan), and flower nursery as well nearby. 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).
  • 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 currently the tourists are not too many, and it is a great way to see birds and other wildlife. The birds are especially beautiful and varied.
  • Dreaming of the Tiger Spring, (虎跑梦泉 Hǔpǎomèngquán), is 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.
  • 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).
Lesser panda in Hangzhou Zoo

On the northern side of Baochu hill near the soccer stadium is Huanglong Cave (For "Scenes of The West Lake", this cave covers "Yellow Dragon Cave Dressed in Green").

Do

  • Impression West Lake (印象西湖) [5]. Directed by the internationally-acclaimed Zhang Yimou, a love story performed with impressive special effects on the lake. There are two performances every night, and it is a spectacle not to be missed.
  • Early morning bikeride. 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.
  • 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. Truly Hangzhou has the most accessible and interesting hiking environments within walking distance of any city. Purchase a topographic map, not difficult to find. Suggestion 1. Start with the 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 Y1-3 and services are frequent) or cab. Suggestion 2. 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 south west finally to Yuhuang Hill, the summit of which contains a large temple complex and boasts marvellous 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 recently 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 7.30PM 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. On Sundays the local chapter of the Hash House Harriers organises a run from different locations; the time and start point is published at www.hangzhou-hhh.org and visitors are welcome. On October 18th 2009 is the Vasque Goretex mountain race of approx 35km through the mountains, tea fields and lakeside. 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 in the last 2 or 3 years 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.
  • Ice Skating. Hangzhou has a full Olympic size commercial ice skating rink located in the MIXC mall, new Central Business District near the Qintang River. The World Ice Arena is open 365 days a year at 10:30am closing at 10pm. Weekdays have unlimited skating time for the entry price. Before 5pm, price is Rmb50 and after 5:30pm is Rmb 60. Weekends are Rmb 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 availalbe 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.
  • Learn Tai Chi Chuan. Tai chi chuan is popular in China and as part of Chinese culture it has been highly evaluated by the whole world. But the problem is if you are from another country then the language would be a big gap. One tai chi instructor for you is James Xu. He is experienced in teaching foreigners tai chi (in English) and has his own web site at [6].

Learn

  • Zhejiang University, Yuquan Campus [7]. This university is the product of combining four formerly individual universities: Zhejiang University, Hangzhou University, Zhejiang Agricultural University and Zhejiang Medical University. The university offers 110 undergraduate, 264 masters and 181 doctoral degree areas. Tuition is extremely affordable from a Western perspective. Courses in Chinese language and culture are ¥18,000 (~$2,250 USD) a year, ¥9,000 a term, or ¥800 (~$100 USD) a week and are taught mostly in Chinese (with occasional English).
  • Zhejing University of Science and Technology (ZUST). ZUST is one of the most beautiful universities in Hangzhou. It is located in the Xiaoheshan high education district. You can visit the university by taking bus K193, K310, J12. If English-speaking people want to teach in Hangzhou, ZUST would be a good choice.

Buy

  • 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 8am to 5pm and is near the Zhejiang International Hotel. Bargain hard!
  • Night Market 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 - 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, bear in mind that 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 (ie 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. This is also a good place to purchase western liquor. French Gin is as ltttle as RMB55 per litre, Captain Morgan rum about RMB75 and Cointreau RMB135. 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. Located in the shopping center near the Yellow Dragon Sports Stadium north of West Lake and the Baochu Pagoda area, the store 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.[8]
  • Mall the new 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 10:30am to 10pm. Ticket prices range from Rmb 50 for unlimited skating time on regular weekdays (Rmb60 after 5:30pm) and Rmb 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.

Eat

Hangzhou is one of the premier places to eat in China, and its food consists more of pork and seafood rather than the beef and lamb of the north and west. If you do not like Hangzhou food, you can find plenty of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Xinjiang restaurants throughout the city. Typical Hangzhou specialties include dongpo rou, an extremely fatty chunk of pork in a syrupy sauce, and cuyu, which is fish with a vinegar sauce.

Budget

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 Hangzhou is generally fairly civilized in this respect 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 yuan to 18 yuan for a plateful.

Mid-range

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. 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.
  • 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.

Splurge

Chinese

  • Lou Wai Lou (楼外楼), right on the lake on an island off Beishan Road. The most famous restaurant in Hangzhou and in existense for over 150 years. Lou Wai Lou also has a second establishment called "Shan Wai Shan" right on the Botanical Gardens. “West Lake sweet & sour fish” is a speciality 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, 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 RMB200 per person.

Japanese

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 Y180, 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.

South-East Asian

  • 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.

Western

  • Angelo's, on #2 Lane off of Baochu Road (across the street to the northwest from 88 Club). New York-themed Italian 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. Expensive but does have an authentic brick oven, great bread, and huge calzones.
  • 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
  • Café at the Hyatt, Hyatt Hotel, 28 Hubin Road. Opened January 2005, the buffet here has everything you could ever want for about Y148++ lunch and Y198++ dinner with no drinks.
  • Va Bene, West Lake Tiandi (西湖天地), serves good, but pricey, Italian food in comfortable setting. Good wine list and good service. The little sister restaurant downstairs, 'Pizza Pazza' has many of the same dishes in a more deli-style restaurant for a little less money.
  • Provence, 1 Baishaquan Road, is the only Western owned independent restaurant in Hangzhou, serving fresh French and Mediterranean food. Good selection of wines, liquors and cocktails available. Weekend all day brunch.
  • Bernini Restaurant, Nanshan Road, A real Italian restaurant in china, Italian management, where you can taste the real flavors of traditional Italian cuisine of high quality. New local, comfortable , with live music.

Indian

  • Moksh Indian Restaurant - 木树印度风情餐厅 , 39 Jiefang Rd, 解放路39号, - Authentic North Indian cooks, weekend buffet with free drinks at ¥80 is a steal. Small restaurant with almost inconspicuous setting, 0571 8770 0782 , 0571 8770 0783.
  • Haveli, 77 Nanshan Rd . Indoor and outdoor dining. Expensive and small dishes.
  • Indian Kitchen, 63 Nanshan Road, All you can eat/all you can drink buffet on Saturday & Sunday nights. ¥78, excellent service and tasty food.

Delivery

  • Sherpas, [9] expat-founded delivery service delivering food from a range of Hangzhou restaurants. English-speaking phone operators.

Drink

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.

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 yuan per cup, but you get a thermal full of hot water with the purchase.

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.

Bars

  • JZ Club, 6 Liuying Road (Nanshan Road), is 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 low as Y5/bottle (the Wushan Square area also has several other bars).
  • Maya Bar, 94 Baishaquan Rd and Shuguang Rd, is 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, Shuguang Rd. 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. located behind the flower shop opposite Yellow Dragon Hotel, is small local pub popular with expats a 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.
  • Medusa, Gucui Rd. An informal hip-hop club managed by expats. Good for a young expat crowd and cheap drinks served in a fun atmosphere. Great place to meet other travellers.
  • Casablanca, on the Westlake. Pub run by an American, its a good friendly place to hang out and feel at home.
  • Reggae Bar, an old Hangzhou favourite recently (June 2009) moved from Shuguang Road to Xueyuan Road, just north of Wensan Road. Big happy bar with lots of reggae music, a strong Jamaican motif and experienced staff.One Carlsberg draft beer is 22 RMB.

Cafes

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, located 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, located 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 others.
  • Chamate, Wulin Square / Yellow Dragon Stadium / West Lake Tiandi (south), is a Taiwanese version of Starbucks where tea replaces coffee as the beverage of choice. 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.

Nightclubs

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.

  • Max Club, southern end of Yanan Road is full every day with a younger crowd.
  • 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 20-30's 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.

Sleep

Budget

  • 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. Y40 w/membership, Y45 without membership, per night, 6 people to a room (you can get doubles as well for about Y200, including a lakeview double for Y250). 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.
  • West Lake Youth House, No 62-3 Nanshan Rd (At the southern end of West Lake). Excellent rooms, friendly staff. Y50 dorm, Y200 double. Phone 0086 571 87027027, Fax 0571 88030237. [10]
  • 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 its biggest drawback is the distance to restaurants and nightlife. It is a 15 minute walk to the bar/tea house/restaurant strip on Shuguang Road.
  • My Inn Hotel, (我的客栈), opened in 2007 on #264 of QiuTao Rd, ShangCheng District of Hangzhou, near the South Bus Station or ChangDuQiCheNanZhang, (长度汽车南站). Nice place to stay in Hangzhou at Y99 per night, provides comfortable rooms without TV though, although has a computer in rooms with internet at Y20 (optional). Bathrooms are clean, there is a convenience store in the lobby, and laundry, kitchen and business facilities in the building. Phone 4008280082, plenty of bus routes can be taken at the hotel front street. Address in Chinese: 杭州市上城区秋涛路264号(长度汽车南站对面)
  • 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 Y95 a night and larger rooms at higher price points. [11]

Mid-range

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.

  • Redstar Culture Hotel, 280 South Jianguo Road, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, +86-571-87703888, [12]. A four star hotel located in Shangcheng District. It lies next to the Hangzhou Railway Station Square. While staying at this hotel, you might want to visit some of the famous tourist spots in China namely Hangzhou Botanical Garden, Jade Springs, and Qiantang River. 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. Secure rooms online at Redstar Culture Hotel's official website [13] and get instant confirmation.
  • Lakeview Hotel, 2 West Huancheng Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 86-571-87078888, [14]. Lakeview Hotel is a 4-star hotel is located at Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Some of the famous trourist spots close to it are the West Lake, Lin Yin Temple, and Great Hall of the People. Its rooms are all equipped with cable TV, high-speed Internet access, upscale bathroom with tub, hair dryer, and mini-bar. Some of its amenities include Lakeview Hotel Shopping Center, Game rooms (for chess, card games, and billiards), and a swimming pool. * Enjoyor Hotel 65 Qingchun Road, Shangcheng District, Reservations Telephone: 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800. This hotel offers Hangzhou accommodation in the city's bustling Shangcheng District. 168 rooms, all well-equipped with modern amenities, are available for all guests. This Hangzhou hotel also offers rejuvenating hydropathy treatments, a variety of dining options, and helpful services to fulfill your every whim. Online reservations are accepted at Enjoyor Hotel's official website [15].
  • SouthLine Hotel (Nanxian Dajiudian), tel. +86-571-8777-3939, e-mail southline@vip.163.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 some (although limited) English.
  • Jinhui Hotel (金汇大酒店), 7 Moganshan Road. A large hotel far enough away from the main sites to be a bit cheaper, but close enough to be a quick bike ride/taxi ride or even a 20-30 minute walk to the city side of the lake (all on the same street, just walk due south past the provincial government). One benefit of this hotel is that an English-speaking CYTS office is on the 3rd floor.
  • Hangzhou Overseas Chinese Hotel ((杭州华侨饭店) Address: Hu Bin Road 15, Hangzhou 310006, Phone: 86-571-87685555. 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, taxi pass continuosly 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 Address: 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 multifunctional hall that can accommodate up to 200 guests.
  • SSAW Hotel Hubin [16] 221 Jiefang Road, Shangcheng District. This 4-star hotel near Hubin Walk Street and Nanshan Leisure Avenue features elegantly appointed rooms, conference facilities, restaurant and bar, fitness center, and concierge and tour desks. It is approximately 30 minutes away from Xiaoshan Airport.

Splurge

  • European Style Holiday Hotel [17] is a four-star hotel in Zhejiang, China. It sits right by the banks of the West Lake, near the railway station. Its location in Shangcheng District is 25 km from the Xiaoshan International Airport. Hangzhou is also a renowned shopping and tourist destination. Address: No. 18 West Lake Street, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Phone Number: 86-571-28937288, Fax Number: 86-571-28930799
  • Friendship Hotel Hangzhou [18] is a four-star hotel in Zhejiang, China. Located 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. Address: No. 53 Pinghai Road, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang China. Secured reservations are instantly confirmed online.
  • Braim International Hotel [19] offers 5-star accommodation in Hangzhou. It enjoys an enviable location near the World Exhibition Center and West Lake. The hotel offers 297 rooms, restaurant and café, outdoor pool, and conference facilities. Address: 195 Jiaogong Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China 310012. Phone Number: 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800.
  • Braim Seasons Hotel Hangzhou [20] is a 4-star accommodations provider in downtown Hangzhou. Located at the junction of Zhonghe and Jiefang Roads, the hotel is accessible from the city’s business, commercial, and entertainment districts. Amenities include spacious rooms with free internet access, business center, and restaurant. Address: 166 Zhonghe Middle Road, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China 310003. Email: tprsvns@hubs1.net.
  • Hangzhou Sunny Hotel 108 Jie Fang Road, Shangcheng District, Reservations contact: 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800. This Hangzhou hotel is the perfect sanctuary for businessmen looking for luxurious accommodation in Hangzhou, China. It has more than 320 rooms, 7 restaurants, and a host of facilities to let you relax and enjoy. The official website of Hangzhou Sunny Hotel [21] accepts direct online reservations.
  • Shangri-La, 78 Beishan Road Hangzhou 310007. While the Hyatt may have better service, especially for business travellers, the Shangri-La has an ideal location, lush green grounds, and is essentially a self-contained luxury village; a great place for a holiday.
  • Ramada (Haihua Binguan), Qingchun Road (near the West Lake). Located between Wulin Road and the West Lake, although lake-view rooms are somewhat limited and not very intimate.
  • Hyatt Regency Hangzhou, 28 Hu Bin Road (right on the eastern shore of the lake), +86 571 8779 1234 (), [22]. 5 star hotel with 390 Rooms & Suites. The hotel is part of a multi use complex including an upmarket department store.
  • Wang Hu/Lakeside Hotel, Hubin Road, cnr Qingchun Rd. Has a great location and a fabulous international buffet breakfast.
  • Huachen-Tang Palace (25 Pinghai Road). Four star hotel that is only 5 minutes walk to the West Lake and with a fabulous international buffet breakfast. Excellent value for money.
  • Xin Ding Garden Hotel Adress: 135 Yanan Road, Hangzhou, Shangcheng District, Zhejiang, China. Email: tprsvns@hubs1.net. Located in the hub of scenic Hangzhou near West Lake, this 5-star hotel offers 118 well-appointed rooms, business facilities, savory local and international cuisine, and free high-speed internet access.
  • Lakeview Hotel, Address: 2 West Huancheng Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Email: tprsvns@hubs1.net. Set in the midst of the vibrant Hangzhou locale, this 4-star hotel enjoys a scenic view of the West Lake and is at around one hour car ride away from the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport. It has 359 elegantly furnished rooms and a wealth of leisure, dining and event facilities.
  • Zhejiang Xizi Hotel Address: 37 Nanshan Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou, China. Tel. No. 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800. A luxury hotel located near the historic Leifeng Pagoda in the West Lake area. Magnificent views, excellent facilities, and impeccable service await guests.
  • Huachen International Hotel Hangzhou Four-star hotel on the corner of major shopping strips Pinghai and Yanan Roads, and on the east side of West Lake. Delicious Western and Chinese buffets all day, and luxurious business amenities.
  • Victoria Regal Hotel Zhejiang Address: 89 Yan An Road, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Email: tprsvns@hubs1.net. Centrally located 5-star hotel in Hangzhou offering 200 gorgeous rooms with handsome interiors and luxurious amenities. Leisure and business facilities include the Ban Dao Buffet Center and the Viscount Grand Ballroom.
  • Culture Plaza Hotel Zhejiang Address: 38 Wen Er Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang District, China Email: tprsvns@hubs1.net. Located north of the scenic West Lake, this 4-star hotel is almost one hour away from the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport. It has 174 rooms with 4-star appointments such as high-speed internet access and IDD phone. Facilities include the Super Book Market and the sprawling Wenhua Meeting Room.
  • Zhejiang Grand Hotel 595 Yanan Road, Xiacheng District, Reservations contact: 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800 [http://www.zhejianggrandhotel.com. Offers accommodation in Hangzhou with 307 rooms that offer no-frills comfort. It also has 9 function rooms ready to host your events. An entertainment club and spa are only some of the recreational facilities that will keep you excited and pampered in this Hangzhou hotel. Online reservations are accepted through the website.

Stay healthy

  • 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 RMB, which includes an English-speaking nurse attendant and expedited service. Phone +86-571-86006613.[23]

Get out

  • Shanghai — Less than two hours away by train.
  • Suzhou — Around two hours away by bus. Buses leaves several times per hour from the bus station at northeast of city (Y68).
  • Tianmushan — For a weekend timeout.
This is a guide article. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions, arrival and departure info. Plunge forward and help us make it a star!








Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages

other sites