Hangzhou (杭州; Hángzhōu)  is in Zhejiang Province, China. It is one of the most important tourist cities in China, famous for its natural beauty and historical and cultural heritage. It is the political, economic and cultural center of Zhejiang province as well. It's worthwhile to know that it's extremely humid in summertime, which is from early June to early September.
Famed for its natural scenery, Hangzhou and its West Lake (西湖; Xīhú) have been immortalized by countless poets and artists. The city was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 until the Mongol invasion of 1276. The city's population is estimated to have been as high as one million in those days, making it the largest city in the world at the time. Even Marco Polo claimed to have passed through, calling it beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world. Since June 2011, the West Lake Cultural Landscape has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
With the gradual silting up of its harbor, much of the city's trade and industry passed north to nearby Shanghai, but the city still has a bustling population of 8.7 million and ranks as one of China's most popular tourist attractions.
Weather in Hangzhou is basically the same as Shanghai, albeit being a little rainier. Winters are usually damp and temperatures usually range from 2°C (33°F) to 9°C (49°F) and there are ocassional snowfalls, but snow doesn't often stick in the ground for usually more than a few hours. Bear in mind that when large snowstorms happen, (which is rare), the city can come into a halt as residents aren't used to large amounts of snow and public transportation can stop without warning. Extended cold periods are uncommon and the lowest recorded temperature is -9.6°C (14.7°F). In the summer, like most cities in south Asia, Hangzhou becomes a sauna with lots of rainfall in the form of thunderstorms. Afternoon highs usually top 34°C (93°F) while very high humidity makes the heat index much, much higher. Making matters worse there are no breezes from the ocean and even if they occur they are channeled through the city's buildings, therefore having no effect. Heat waves are not common and the highest recorded temperature is 42.1°C (108°F). The area may also be sometimes indirectly affected by tropical cyclones, but direct strikes are very seldom. Overall, the best time to visit Hangzhou and generally the Shanghai-Hangzhou-Suzhou area is early and mid spring when temperatures are pleasant and there isn't a lot of rain.
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) serves domestic and international 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. KLM offers nonstop flights to Amsterdam, and North American destinations include Los Angeles via Sichuan Airlines and San Francisco via United. Asian cities that have service to Hangzhou include Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Osaka, Bangkok, Seoul, and Singapore. Flights from Kuala Lumpur can be obtained from AirAsia, . The service to Bangkok is through Hainan Airlines . There is a direct service to Hangzhou from Singapore on Jetstar Asia.
The airport is about 30km east of the city centre, taking between 30 minutes and 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 shuttle service (¥20) to/from the Xiaoshan Bus ticket office on Tiyuchang Road next to the KFC just west of Wulin Square. The shuttle bus also stops at the main railway station en-route. Buses run every 30 mins 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.
And the departure times form airport is 07:30 — 09:30, every 30 minutes;09:30 — 17:00, every 15 minutes;17:00-21:00, every 20 minutes;after21:00, every 30 minutes.But "30 minutes","20 minutes" and "15 minutes" refer to waiting time from the first passenger boarding the bus. After all the seats are taken, the bus takes off within 30,20 or 15 minutes.
The Shangri-La Hotel also has a shuttle service to/from the airport for ¥50, 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. According to the Shanghai Airport website, http://www.shairport.com/, they depart starting 8:40AM, then every hour on the hour from 10:00AM till 8:00PM. It costs ¥100. These buses arrive at the Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Sports Center (football stadium), 3km to the west of the city centre. The reverse trip from Hangzhou to Pudong Airport is also possible, the bus leave from the Yellow Dragon Sport Center as well as Hangzhou Xiaoshan Bus ticket office on Tiyuchang Road next to the KFC just west of Wulin Square. Also see below By BUS section.
There are frequent high-speed trains connecting Hangzhou and Shanghai. The CRH train (train numbers starting with G or D) from Hangzhou to Shanghai's Hongqiao Station is 50 minutes non-stop (app. ¥78). Some services have intermediate stops and take 55-60min. The trains have recently been limited to 300 km/h for safety reasons.
Although the ticket machines offer English language booking, you need a Chinese ID for finishing the transaction as the tickets are ID bound (You also need to show your passport at the ticket office). If heading back to Shanghai, slower trains (Z, K, T and L) seem to be sold early, so consider booking the return ticket already on arrival.
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..
Hangzhou has four bus stations (N, E - "Jiubao" on Shengjia Rd, W, and S). Usually, the direction of your destination corresponds to the bus station's name, eg if you are going to Shanghai, you will want the East Bus Station. If you are going to Huangshan, buses leave from the West Bus Station; Nanjing is served by a frequent service from the North Station, and so on. Wūzhen (90 mins by bus, frequent morning departures) is now serviced by Jiubao Bus station, no longer the defunct Genshan Xilu bus station. It costs ¥50 and 45 mins to get to Jiubao bus stn from the eastern shore of West Lake by Taxi. Bus K12 then bus K101 can also make the trip, allow 90 mins to arrive at the Jiubao bus stn, and another 90 mins to get to Wūzhen.
For travel to or from Shanghai, the high-speed 'G' train is now far more convenient and quicker than the bus, but book early for daytime weekend travel.
From Shanghai: Buses depart from the north bus station (Hengfen Lu), the PuDong bus station (Bailianjing, PuDong Nan Lu), and from Xujiahui Bus Station, tickets cost ¥58. These buses arrive at the north bus station of Hangzhou.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport : direct long distance bus from the Airport to Hangzhou on Tiyuchang Rd, avoiding transfer via Shanghai. From Arrivals in the Airport, follow the clearly marked signs to the Long Distance Coach Terminal (well after the Maglev Terminal) and take the elevator down one level to the concourse. Hourly depratures, on the hour in the evenings. Last departure is 9PM. Take cash for fare.
To Shanghai Pudong International Airport: There are buses between Yellow Dragon Stadium and Pudong Airport (direct) and Wulinmen Ticket Office and Pudong Airport (with a stop en route at Hongqiao). Tickets can be purchased at the area with all the buses in front of the Yellow Dragon Stadium or at the Wulinmen Ticket office near the KFC on Tiyuchang Rd. (100¥, 2.5 hour journey)
To Hongqiao Airport (direct),: Wulinmen Ticket Office near the KFC on Tiyuchang Rd (¥100).
The overnight boat service between Hangzhou and Suzhou/Wuxi has been discontinued. You can still take a ferry along the Hangzhou-Beijing Grand Canal to the north of Hangzhou proper (see "water taxi" section below).
Hangzhou has an extensive bus networks, and bus schedules, routes, and on-board announcements are all in Chinese. However, if you download and use the Google Maps app on your mobile phone, it is quite easy to find directions, track your movement, and navigate your way around the Hangzhou bus system. The routes and bus numbering shown in Google Maps are very accurate for Hangzhou. Hangzhou taxis are notoriously expensive in China, and using the public bus system will save you money.
There are a number of bus types:
- Routes without a letter prefix generally have no air conditioning (though there are some exceptions, like route 900), and should therefor be avoided May-September. They are heated during the winter. These generally cost ¥1-2.
- Routes with a "K" prefix are air-conditioned May-September, and heated December-February. These cost ¥2-3, except when both the AC and heat are off, during which time the fare is halved.
- Routes with a "Y" prefix are designated tourist buses, and will take you to or from a tourist destination for ¥3-5. Use Google Maps to check whether your bus drives to your desired direction.
- Routes with a "B" prefix are part of the new Bus Rapid Transit system. These are articulated buses that stop at dedicated BRT stations, which allow you to transfer to other "B" routes without paying an additional fare. The fare of ¥4 is paid on entering the station. These buses are roomier than the usual municipal buses, but are not much more rapid.
- Night routes (which have blue signs and are numbered K2xx) are ¥2.5. Most start running at 9PM and end around 6AM.
For those arriving in Hangzhou by train, note that bus K7 goes from the Hangzhou Rail Station to the West Lake for ¥1.
Fares can be paid in cash (coins or bills, no change given), by using a dedicated bus card, or by tapping the same card used to rent bikes (see below). The fare will be displayed in Western numerals on the bus stop and on the farebox. Some buses just have metal boxes besides the driver where you throw in the money. It seems that nobody really checks how many coins you throw in there, they just trust that you know the fare.
You are expected to board via the front doors and leave through the rear (with the exception of the B routes). Buses have very little empty space even when they are not full (which is not common) so do not plan on bringing baby strollers or other cumbersome items. Be prepared at all times for fast turns and/or deceleration. The suspension usually is not up to modern standards, and the drivers are aggressive.
Hangzhou has a large number of taxis which allow for quick and convenient travel within the city proper. Most of the city's taxis are turquoise-green in 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. Trips start at ¥11 and are priced by the kilometer, with surcharges for idling time and trips over 10km. 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 any other foreign language. 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 either the local Hangzhou dialect or 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 the trouble or expense if it saves your group from needing to take two taxis.
It is also not unusual, especially at late or slow hours for the taxi driver to collect multiple fares to make the journey more worth their while. This will normally be explained in Chinese. This is uncommon at normal hours, however.
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 at 7:30AM-8:45AM and 4:30PM-7:00PM, and every time it rains, are difficult to flag, as they are always full or in the middle of a shift change. A taxi with an imminent shift change (usually ~ 3PM-5PM) will be showing a plate in the windscreen (Chinese characters of course) and will only take you if your route coincides with theirs. Being familiar with areas that taxis frequent or places where taxi passengers are likely to be dropped off at will aid you in finding a ride. Do not be visibly upset that your hailing position will be gazumped by a new arrival 20 metres up the road. The only rule is; it is the quick and the dead.
Taxi drivers will also negotiate for long distance trips, or full-day/half-day hiring. A trip to Pudong airport in Shanghai will be 600-1,000RMB depending on time of day or night.
In outer centres of Hangzhou, small five seater vans are usually available at bus terminals for onward transfers. These operate quite independently and the normal taxi rules do not apply. They will take you anywhere at a negotiated price.
A total of 8 lines covering over 200km have been planned. Line 1 opened in November 2012, and line 2 is scheduled next. The opening dates of the lines are "last", which means that 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.
Subway prices vary depending on distance traveled. You can buy a refillable card or single-use ticket from automated vending machines (English UI available). To enter, hold the card up to the card reader. Keep the card with you, as you will need to use it to exit your destination station. To exit, hold the card up to the reader if it is refillable, or insert it into the slot if it is a single-use ticket.
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.
While traffic in Hangzhou may seem chaotic to some foreigners, the city is comparatively bike-friendly. All but small side roads have dedicated bike lanes, often divided from motor traffic by barricades or medians.
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 up to the suburbs and 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 marked "Selling of Public Transport Coupon", such as 25 Ding An Lu near Ding An Lu Metro station. 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, 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 an hour for the two hours after that, and ¥3 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 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. However none of the bikes were designed for reasonably tall people, so if you have long legs you may end up chaffing your knees on the handlebars. During rush hour, local residents also actively use the bikes. Therefore, most bike stalls will be full and you might not easily find a station with empty racks to return your bike.
Bikes are returned by reinserting them into an empty bike rack and tapping one's card against the top of the rack. Another beep, a solid green light, and the sound of the rack locking will indicate when the bike has been received successfully. Make sure the bike rack lock receives your bike; if it doesn't, the bike won't be registered returned in the system, and you will lose both your bike rental and deposit money and get no refund. The system opens for business at 6:00 a.m.; bikes not returned by 9:00 p.m. each night must be taken back to the Longxiang Qiao location (24hr), so keep an eye on the clock during evening rides.
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.
As a relaxing tourism city, there are several pedestrian streets around Hangzhou, especially around the West Lake.For example, the Hubin Road, Bai Di, Su Di. It is really an excellent experience to enjoy the wonderful view by taking a small walk. Besides, there are a lot of trees along the streets so that you need not to worry about the sunshine and hot weather.
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). Street-bought maps are usually written in simplified Chinese with no pinyin. You can find pinyin maps at foreign language bookstores and magazine stalls near the West Lake. The main foreign language bookstore in Yan An Road has a reasonable selection of maps as well as travel books.
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. Be aware that written "in Chinese" means written in Chinese characters. Pinyin is less useful, and words without tone marks are completely useless.
Many taxi drivers are illiterate and will not be able to read your smart phone map. Try to get the phone number of the place you are going, call them, and put the taxi driver on the phone.
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 given by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing dynasty, but they are 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
- The Broken Bridge—,(断桥) is the most elegant and romantic site in Hangzhou West Lake Scenic Area. The classic view of West Lake seen from the Broken Bridge is quite fascinating, and the legend of Lady White Snake also brings this ancient bridge much more charm of culture and history.
- 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 the West Lake and Hubin Road to the east. 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.
- Zhejiang Museum[www.zhejiangmuseum.com/en/index.jsp], (浙江省博物馆)— is the largest comprehensive museum in Zhejiang province and collects many rarely-seen treasures founded in Zhejiang, especially the celadon porcelains. It shows the elite culture of traditional China in Jiangnan region. The headquarters is located on 25 GuShan Road, on the north side of West Lake Scenic Area.
- Zhejiang West Lake Gallery, (浙江西湖美术馆)— is a must-see tourist attraction near to the classic site of Ping Hu Qiu Yue. Zhejiang West Lake Gallery is a famous art education and exhibition center in Zhejiang province,
- 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.
- Huqingyutang Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum,(胡庆余堂中医博物馆)—, is the only themed museum with traditional Chinese medicine in China. Huqingyutang is also a traditionally famous medicine store keeping the traditional medicine culture of ancient China. It was created by Hu Xueyan, a representative of Huizhou  Merchants
Temples, pagodas and churches
- 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.
- Baopu Taoist Temple,(抱朴道院 Baopu Daoyuan)— is the only Taoist temple in Hangzhou, even in east China. This Taoist temple is located on the Hill of Ge and on the north side of West Lake Scenic Area. It is a huge architectural complex comprised of different themed halls. Every year, diversity of Taoist festivals is held here, and Baopu Taoist Temple is also the center of Taoists of Hangzhou.
- 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.
- Confucius Temple— is a mixture of Confucius Memorial and Stele Forest. Hangzhou Confucius Temple is the center of Hangzhou citizens to memorize Confucius and site of holding related ceremonies. It is near to Wushan Square and featured of the classical gardens.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 (40RMB up and downd) 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. You first have to enter the "Peak Flying from Afar" section (45 RMB) and there is an extra fee for Lingyin Temple (30 RMB).
- Six Harmonies Pagoda, (六和塔 Liùhé Tǎ)— Down by the Qiantang River, about a 15 minute cab ride from the lake in light traffic, but it is a pretty road to drive down through all the tunnels and tea fields. Besides the pagoda itself, which is arguably the most prominent of all the temples and pagodas in Hangzhou, there is an adjacent park with hundreds of realistic replicas of the world's most famous pagodas, complete with mini-sized trees in front of the pagoda models.
- Three Temples of Tianzhu Hill, (天竺三寺)— consists of Fajing Temple, Faxi Temple and Fajing Temple.Located on Tianzhu Hill, Three Temples are quite close to Lingyin Temple, another famous Buddhist temple in Hangzhou. Local people usually prefer to go there for praying or meditation instead of Lingyin Temple, because they are quite more tranquil than Lingyin Temple, which is always crowded by tourists
- Klippe, (飞来峰)— Peak Flown From Afar, 209 meters (about 700 feet) tall, is a pure limestone mountain that is very distinctive from the sandstone mountains around it. Large stones scattered along the peak are said to resemble animals like a flying dragon, a running elephant, a crouching tiger, and a fleeing monkey. On the other side of the peak, a pavilion named Cui Wei was erected to immortalize the national hero Yue Fei. This man contributed greatly in the war against Jin Tribe during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).The pavilion was destroyed many times before the large restoration of 1942. The current pavilion keeps its old face with fresh paint.
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 ), 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).
- Zhongshan Park, (中山公园).Zhongshan Park or Sun Yat-sen Park used to be the West Lake Temporary Imperial Palace of Qing Dynasty. Currently it is located close to Zhejiang Museum and Xiling Society of Seal Arts. The historic sites of the imperial palace are well protected and available easily.
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").
- Impression West Lake (印象西湖) . 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. The local chapter of the Hash House Harriers is sadly in remission. The Vasque mountain race of approx 35km through the mountains, tea fields and lakeside is held around October and in November is held the Hangzhou marathon, half marathon and lesser distances.
- Spend an afternoon at a tea house. A highlight of visiting Hangzhou is getting out to Manjuelong Village, (South of the lake on top of the hill) Longjin Village or Meijiawu Village, (west and further west of the Lake, respectively) to drink your tea. These villages have had a make-over 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 ¥50 and after 5:30pm is ¥60. Weekends are ¥70 for 2 hour sessions. All prices include the new Canadian rental skate, use of locker and all safety gear (elbow, knee, wrist and helmets). Professional coaching is 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. The PageOne bookstore in the MIXC mall also has a fairly sizable selection of English books.
- 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 .
- Zhejiang University(浙江大学), Yuquan Campus . 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).
- Hangzhou Normal University (HZNU) (杭州师范大学) is the only municipal comprehensive university of Hangzhou highlighted with the education and studies of art, literature, history and nature science. It is also the second prestigious university in Zhejiang province in the realm of humanities. The main campus of HZNU is situated in the west side of downtown Hangzhou, exactly at Cangqian Future Sci-Tech City Yuhang District, which is quite closer to Zijingang campus of Zhejiang University.
- Hutong School Hangzhou  is the leading foreign owned Chinese language school in China. Also provides Internships and accommodation to international students.
- China Academy of Art (中国美术学院)  Address: 218 Nanshan Lu, Bldg 9, office 331., Tel. +86 571-87164711, 87164712. Email: [email protected] The China Art Academy offers full time Mandarin language classes in its Nashan Campus, the beautiful campus is a short walk from the West Lake.
- Night Market (夜市)A bustling tent market just south east of intersetion of Yan'an Road / Pinghai Road (past Huansha Rd, along Renhe Rd) every night. Here you can find clothing of various (and interesting) Chinese designs, Mao memorabilia, jewelery, paper fans, pipes, lighters, eletronic accessories, 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 merchandise, so be prepared to walk away (although this traveler found it almost impossible to get cheaper prices). 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.
- 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!
- Electronics Markets（电子产品市场） - Running west-east in north-west Hangzhou on Wensan Road are several indoor, multistory electronics shopping centers offering all manner of electronics including desktop computers, laptops, computer software (licensed and un-licensed), cellphones, mp3 players, and hundreds of peripherals and storage media. Pirated DVDs and computer games are offered as well, and if you are obviously a foreigner, vendors will shout "DVD! DVD!" at you to urge you to browse their selection.
- Bird and Flower Markets- There are several in town: Gucui Rd and Wener West Rd in the west behind the Century Mart has an assortment of pets, plants and even paintings; another on Jichang Rd in north, but 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. What this really means is a single aisle of Western brands and foods. Do not expect a large selection. This is also a good place to purchase western liquor. French Gin is as ltttle as ¥55 per litre, Captain Morgan rum about ¥75 and Cointreau ¥135. How these prices are about half of duty free escapes this contributor.
- Trust-Mart (好又多) and its Carrefour clone "Century Mart" are superstore chains Westerners may recognize as essentially similar to Wal-Mart. Trust Mart is 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. The Century Mart on Wener West Rd is huge and carries a good range of western food items in a designated area upstairs.
- 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, batteries and mountain bikes, and Trust-Mart (see above) also has a reasonable selection of bicycles and a small selection of electric bikes/scooters. Carrefour and Century Mart now carry Giant branded bikes and there are Giant stores dotted around town. 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.. Hangzhou is a great city for cycling and many locals simply use their bus card to rent them from one of the many bike stations conveniently found near most streets and intersections.
- 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 ¥50 for unlimited skating time on regular weekdays (¥60 after 5:30PM) and ¥70 for 2 hour sessions on weekends and holiday. Price includes new Canadian rental skates, use of free locker and all safety gear (elbows, wrist and knee protectors and use of helmets). The rink is modern, clean and well trained and friendly professional staff. The skating school is reasonably priced and geared entirely for beginners. The 30m x 60m ice is resurfaced every 2 hours by a Zamboni machine.
Hangzhou is one of the premier places to eat in China, and its local cuisine features dishes that consist more of pork and seafood rather than the beef and lamb, as those typically found in the north and west regions of China. 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. If you do not like Hangzhou's cuisine, you can find plenty of excellent Sichuan, Shanxi, and Xinjiang restaurants throughout the city.
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.
- Zhōngshān nánlù (中山南路) This is one of the great street food strips in China. It is a definite must-see/taste at nighttime. It begins at the Drum Tower, only a short walk from the end of Gaoyin ancient street.
- Zhīwèiguān restaurant on Rénhé lù (仁和路) is well-known among Chinese in Hangzhou. It has a variety of cheap and traditional dishes. There's no English, it uses floor-ticket ordering, and the atmosphere is bustling and noisy.
For American junk food, Hangzhou has many KFCs, several McDonalds, and an increasing number of Pizza Huts throughout town, especially near the lake. If you like Pizza Hut style pizza, but don't want to pay Pizza Hut prices, there's a much cheaper Pizza Hut 'clone' on You Dian Road, corner of Hubin Road, right near the lake.
Other restaurants that are good and aren't as tourist-trappy can as Lou Wai Lou are located near the West Lake, usually to the East past Hubin Road in the Yan'an Road area.
For Xinjiang, try Jade Dragon Xinjiang Special Restaurant (龙翠阁新疆特色餐厅) inside the Handnice Hotel (Originally of Tiandu Hotel on Zhongshan Bei Road) at the east side of Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Sports Stadium. Some say the Xinjiang restaurant on the 5th floor of Sanrui Tower (三瑞大厦) on Qingchun Road is better and more authentic, and on the east side of town, Xinjiang Pamir Muslim Restaurant (新疆帕米尔餐厅) has many Xinjiang people dining there.
- Chuan Wei Guan - For Hot Pot, this city-wide chain (5 restaurants throughout town) is best, and this hotpot place also has several good Sichuan dishes.
- Grandma's Kitchen (外婆家) has expanded to almost 20 locations in Hangzhou, each packed to the brim with customers. It has a comprehensive picture menu and reasonable prices. Not all locations offer the same selection or the same prices. One of the best is on Ma Cheng Road, between Tian Mu Shan and Wen San Roads, near to the Boku bookstore. Unfortunately, Grandma's Kitchen suffers a bit from its own popularity, making a long wait inevitable and service haphazard (forgotten dishes and the like). It's best to call ahead and try to make reservations to avoid the long wait.
- Tianlutang (天祿堂) teahouse is located in Xixi Wetlands Park. Offers a variety of local dishes. Advance bookings required.
- Zhang Sheng Ji (张生记), 33 East Qingchun Road. Out of the way but is also huge and now has branches all over China.
- Green Tea (绿茶), 83 Longjing Lu, across from the back gate of the Zhejiang Bingguan. 0571-8788 8022. Just around the corner from the Tea Museum, this is one of Hangzhou's most popular Chinese restaurants. A hit with the younger crowd, expect big lines, but the food is well worth it. And there's something inexplicably charming about sitting above lily pads on wooden platforms while digging into the delicious iced desserts on a hot summer day.
- 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 (彩云轩), Beishan Road (just past the Broken Bridge). A good replacement for Lou Wai Lou and has an equally good view with slightly cheaper prices (but it's still expensive).
- Hubin 28, Hyatt Hotel, 28 Hubin Road. One of the top Chinese restaurants in Hangzhou. Hubin 28 serves good food from all over China in a restaurant designed with a mixture of modern fittings and traditional furniture. It has received good reviews in many foodie magazines in Hong Kong. Dinner will cost more than ¥200 per person.
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.
- PHO 东田越南粉 Dongtian Kitchen Bar located on the 3rd floor of Kerry Center has an extensive menu very authentic flavor.
- Sawasdee Thai Restaurant, Best Thai food in town, located in a 5 star hotel next to the west lake. Fengqi Road 555 | Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale Hotel - 2nd Floor, Hangzhou, China
- 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.
- Mercato Piccolo, Hangzhou Tower, building D. Quite possibly the best restaurant in town, with surprisingly reasonable prices, authentic Italian cuisine, attentive staff, and innovative cocktails. Their chefs really knows what they're doing. Mercado Piccolo represents the kind of dining experience you'd expect at a top-rated restaurant in major city. The steak is the best in the city.
- Café at the Hyatt, Hyatt Hotel, 28 Hubin Road. Opened January 2005, considered to be one of the best values in upmarket buffet offerings in Hangzhou, a wide selection is available for about Y148++ lunch, and Y198++ dinner. Brunch on weekends is also one of the most popular.
- Mussels & Bakery, 1/F, Xinyuanhua Shopping Mall, No.179 Yan'an Road, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou. Great cafe/ restaurant offering freshly baked bread and pasties, pastas and mussels.
- Le Restaurant, 87 Siyanjing, Manjuelong Road, Xihu +86 0571 8971 2700 . Located in the Xihu district, nestled in mountains. Italian and French cuisine; authentic Italian Pizzas baked in an Artisanal Wood Fired Oven. Also take advantage of their daily pizza specials and promotions.
- The Vineyard, Zhongtian Mansion, 173 Yugu Road
- Eudora Station, 101-7 Nanshan Road, +86 0571 8791 4760, 9AM-2AM. Situated on the bustling main drag of Hangzhou, Eudora Station offers reasonable Western food and a wide selection of beers displayed on English menus. Take advantage of their daily happy hour specials and nightly promotions. Expect an expat crowd with high prices to reflect.
- Brunch 304,104, Buliding 4, Kerry Centre, 385 Qingchun Road
延安路385号杭州嘉里中心4幢104号(一坐一忘旁) Popular Australian inspired all day Brunch.
- NL105, Yan'an Road, Building 4 Kerry Center, next to the super popular 304/Brunch Restaurant, this cool little San Francisco style seafood shack offers great lobster rolls, coffee and even cocktails.
- Angelo's, on #2 Lane off of Baochu Road (across the street NW from 88 Club). Highly-reliable New York-themed Italian style restaurant and bar serving pizza, pasta, burgers, and many other offerings.
- Lalqila, 4F, Bao Long Mall Binjiang (Intersection Binsheng Rd & Houju Avenue) Great food, Great service and atmosphere. This restaurant is one of the best in town. They even have regular Bollywood performances throughout the day. highly recommended for a special occasion or with big groups
The drink of choice in Hangzhou is tea, as the local Longjing (龙井, also Lung Ching, literally "Dragon Well") is the most famous green tea in China. Longjing is divided into seven grades, the two top being Superior (旗枪 qiqiang) and Special (雀舌 queshe), and the rest numbered from 1 down to 5. Prices for the very best stuff are extremely high— in 2005, a mere 100g plucked from Qing Dynasty emperor Qian Long's personal trees sold for over US$17,000 — but a few cups in a local teahouse shouldn't cost you more than a few dozen yuan. There is a wholesale market in Zhuangtang, however, most of the tea comes from trees outside of the "special" fields in Hangzhou. Prices are ¥15-1,000/500g depending on a multitude of variables.
Traditionally, tea from Longjing is best served with spring water from Hupao (虎跑, "Tiger Run"), which is located next to the West Lake. You might have to purchase the tea from the tea shop in Hupao, instead of bringing your own. It's about 20 yuan per cup, but you get a thermal full of hot water with the purchase. Do consider mixing the leaves with bottled water, as construction project run off introduces chemicals other than water into the streams.
- College B&R, 6 Liuying Road (Nanshan Road), is the top sports bar in town. Three floors with open-air seating, six draft beers, and pretty good pub food. 3 Lanjia Wan 玉古路兰家湾3号
- 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.
- Bellevue, Classic upscale hotel bar, great drinks with matching price tag, live music and panoramic views of the WestLake. 2nd floor of Hyatt Regency Hangzhou Hotel.
- Midtown Brewery, Upscale brewpub located on the first floor of the new Midtown Shangri-La hotel, look no further to find amazing draft beers brewed by their experienced American brewmaster
- You To, 85 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. Has more of a dive bar feel
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.
- Starbucks is ubiquitous and can be found everywhere in town now
- Panini, /418 Xixi Lu (across from the back gate of Zhejiang University, Yuquan Campus)/ Serves up inexpensive and delicious panini sandwiches, as well as decent coffee and amazing milkshakes. One example is a chicken with lemon tarragon mayo and red grapes panini.
- IFE Coffee,/418 Xixi Lu/ Right next door to Panini (mentioned above), this simple and unassuming coffee shop has some of the best coffee in the city. The atmosphere is great, with comfortable seating, excellent AC, fast and free wifi. A popular spot with international students
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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, be safe and have fun ,check about the places before you go.
- 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.
- The Nook Hotel Hangzhou, No. 546, Xixi Road, Xihu, 310007 Hangzhou, China, ☎ 0571-87758888, . checkin: 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM; checkout: Until 12:00 PM. Delicately designed by local artists, Hangzhou Nook Hotel welcomes guests with art space and upscale accommodation. Blending wooden base with multiple materials as stone, glass and aluminum, the hotel is furnished with local-inspired artworks of photography and furniture. You can reach Yuquan Campus of Zhejiang University in 3 minutes' car ride. CNY500-800. edit
- Hangzhou Hofang International Youth Hostel, No.67 DaJing Lane, Hangzhou, China (The hostel is in the pedestrian area, take a taxi to the historical gate/Gulou of the city, walk through the gate, turn left, walk 150m to No. 67), . Popular with both Chinese and foreign travellers this extremely well located hostel provides those on a budget with clean rooms and comfortable beds aswell as friendly English speaking staff. Located on a beautiful pedestrian only lane just off Hefang old street and only moments to West Lake this is arguably the best backpackers in Hangzhou. $9-$14. edit
- 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.
- 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.
- My Inn Hotel, (我的客栈), opened in 2007 on #264 of QiuTao Rd, ShangCheng District, near the South Bus Station or ChangDuQiCheNanZhan, （长途汽车南站). Comfortable rooms without TV, 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（长途汽车南站对面.）Y99 per night.
- Pod Inn, (布丁酒店), several locations in Hangzhou, including two near West Lake. Similar in concept to My Inn with small, two person rooms starting at Y95 a night and larger rooms at higher price points. 
- 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. 
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.
- Begin Again (那天以后) 105 Xu Village, Nine Creeks Road, near the entrance of Nine Creeks scenic spot. (九溪路徐村105号靠近九溪景区入口) Telephone: +86 13482834560 or +86 18717742263. A really pleasant boutique inn that opened only in August 2015. It has only five rooms, named after the owner and her pet dog and cats. Each room is very tastefully decorated and has its own style, with prices ranging from 350- 800 RMB (for a family suite), inclusive of a very decent breakfast. A very warm and homely place, with an owner who is a very charming and good-looking lady, but she can't speak much English. The hotel is located near the hugely underrated Nine Creeks (九溪) scenic spot, which is an around 40RMB taxi ride away from the southern side of West Lake. Great place to stay for those who want a nice, relaxing walk in the woods at Nine Creeks, with its tea plantations and clear streams. Photos and more details can be found on Chinese booking sites like Ctrip, Qunar, and Dianping.
- Shenanbei Boutique Hotel  108 Manjuelong Road, Telephone: 86-571-89988558. This expat owned and run hotel has 16 elegant and artfully decorated rooms which reflect the colors of the seasons of Hangzhou. Situated in the mountains, has outdoor deck. Room service pizza's from their Italian Restaurant. Western breakfast, Free wifi, complimentary minibar, exquisite bath tubs and extremely personalized service is what customers most talk about.
- Enjoyor Hotel  65 Qingchun Road, Shangcheng District, Telephone: 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800. This hotel has 168 rooms, and also offers hydropathy treatments, a variety of dining options, and helpful services.
- Hangzhou Overseas Chinese Hotel ((杭州华侨饭店) Address: Hu Bin Road 15, 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, taxis pass continuously in front of the hotel day and night, meaning that you never need to call for one. High-speed internet available on the 4th and 5th floor only.
- Hangzhou Sunny Huansha Hotel 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 multi functional hall that can accommodate up to 200 guests.
- Redstar Culture Hotel, 280 South Jianguo Road, Shangcheng District, ☎ +86-571-87703888, . A four star hotel next to the Hangzhou Railway Station Square. Maximize your reservation by attending a gala at its 900-capacity theater and enjoy a sumptous meal on their Chinese restaurant that offers Jiangsu, Sichuan, and Zhejiang cuisines. edit
- SouthLine Hotel (Nanxian Dajiudian), tel. +86-571-8777-3939, e-mail [email protected] A small but clean, well-located and reasonably well-appointed mid-range hotel one-half block off the lake and right next to the Zhejiang Art Academy on Nanshan Rd. Prices range from US$40 per night to over $100. The friendly staff speaks limited English.
- SSAW Hotel Hubin  221 Jiefang Road, Shangcheng District. 4-star hotel near Hubin Walk Street and Nanshan Leisure Avenue features elegant rooms, conference facilities, restaurant and bar, fitness center, and concierge and tour desks.
- Citadines Intime City Hangzhou, Block 4, Intime City, 380 Fengtan Road, Gongshu District, ☎ +86 571 8667 9888 ([email protected]), . The residence is part of Intime City, a mixed development which houses dining, shopping & entertainment options catering to business & leisure travellers. (30.2993338,120.1088262) edit
- Braim International Hotel  offers 5-star accommodation near the World Exhibition Center and West Lake. The hotel offers 297 rooms, restaurant and café, outdoor pool, and conference facilities. Address: 195 Jiaogong Road, Xihu District. Phone Number: 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800.
- Braim Seasons Hotel Hangzhou  166 Zhonghe Middle Road (junction of Zhonghe and Jiefang Roads), Shangcheng District. Email: [email protected] 4-star hotel with spacious rooms, free internet access, business center, and restaurant.
- Culture Plaza Hotel Zhejiang Address: 38 Wen Er Road. Email: [email protected] 4-star hotel north of West Lake. It has 174 rooms with high-speed internet access and IDD phone. Facilities include the Super Book Market and the sprawling Wenhua Meeting Room.
- Dragon Hotel Hangzhou  120 Shuguang Road Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 310007. 5-star hotel with spacious rooms, free internet access, business and conference center, restaurants, shops, spa, etc. Names itself "smart hotel" because of several technological gadgets.
- New Century Grand Hotel (杭州开元名都大酒店), 818 Middle Shixin Road,Xiaoshan Hangzhou, . Hangzhou boasts the highest skyline of all premier hotels in Hangzhou with a height of 218 meters in 47 floors. edit
- European Style Holiday Hotel , a four-star hotel right by the banks of the West Lake, near the railway station. Address: No. 18 West Lake Street, Shangcheng District. Phone number: 86-571-28937288, fax number: 86-571-28930799.
- Friendship Hotel Hangzhou  is a four-star hotel on Pinghai Road, Hangzhou’s central business district. Amenities include rooms with West Lake or city views, multicultural restaurants, versatile function halls, and meeting rooms. Address: No. 53 Pinghai Road, Shangcheng District. Secured reservations are instantly confirmed online.
- Hangzhou Sunny Hotel  108 Jie Fang Road, Shangcheng District, Reservations contact: 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800. More than 320 rooms, 7 restaurants.
- Huachen-Tang Palace (25 Pinghai Road). Four star hotel that is 5 minutes walk to the West Lake and with a fabulous international buffet breakfast.
- Lakeview Hotel, 2 West Huancheng Road, Xihu District, ☎ 86-571-87078888, . 4-star hotel with rooms equipped with cable TV, high-speed internet access, bathroom with tub, hair dryer, and mini-bar. Some of its amenities include Lakeview Hotel Shopping Center, hame rooms (for chess, card games, and billiards), and a swimming pool. CNY 368 and up. edit
- 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.
- Victoria Regal Hotel Zhejiang Address: 89 Yan An Road, Shangcheng District. Email: [email protected] 5-star hotel offering 200 rooms with handsome interiors. Leisure and business facilities include the Ban Dao Buffet Center and the Viscount Grand Ballroom.
- Wang Hu/Lakeside Hotel, Hubin Road, cnr Qingchun Rd. international buffet breakfast.
- Wyndham Grand Plaze Royale West Lake HangzhouAddress: No.555 Fengqi Road, Xiachang District, Hangzhou 310006, China Phone Number:(86 571 8761 6888)
- Xin Ding Garden Hotel Adress: 135 Yanan Road. Email: [email protected] 5-star hotel near West Lake with 118 rooms, business facilities, savory local and international cuisine, and free high-speed internet access.
- Zhejiang Grand Hotel 595 Yanan Road, Xiacheng District, Tel: 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800  307 rooms, no frills. It also has 9 function rooms for events. An entertainment club and spa are some of the recreational facilities.
- Zhejiang Xizi Hotel Address: 37 Nanshan Road, Xihu District. Tel. No. 86-21-61226688 Ext. 7800. Near the historic Leifeng Pagoda in the West Lake area. Magnificent views, excellent facilities, and good service.
- Zhejiang Narada Grand Hotel Address:122 Shuguang Road (Shuguang Lu) Located at the foot of Baoshi Mountain, the Zhejiang Narada Grand Hotel (Zhejiang Shimao Junlan Dafandian) is a five-star hotel close to West Lake, Hangzhou's premier tourist attraction.
- Amafayun, 22 Fayun Lane, West Lake Street. Absolutely stunning boutique property with only 49 rooms it is one of the most unique experiences in China.
- Four Seasons Hangzhou, 5 Lingyin Lu. Intimate Lakeside hotel with 78 traditional style rooms.
- Hyatt Regency Hangzhou, 28 Hu Bin Road (right on the eastern shore of the lake), ☎ +86 571 8779 1234 ([email protected]), . 5 star hotel with 390 rooms & suites. The hotel is right at the heart of downtown and overlooking the west lake, the location is ideal for visitors. Multiple time Award winning 5 star hotel. Adjacent to a multi use upmarket complex. edit
- Shangri-La, 78 Beishan Road. Shangri-La has a lush green grounds, and is essentially a self-contained private village.
- Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, 3 East Qingchun Road, named for the Hong Kong media mogul who funded its construction, SRRSH is one of the best hospitals in the city. VIP medical service can be purchased for ¥100, which includes an English-speaking nurse attendant and expedited service. Phone +86-571-86006613.
- 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.
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