Sensational natural beauty and a host of preserved cultural icons make this region of China a favorite among tourists.
Visit Hangzhou to discover historical streets and canals plus gorgeous natural surroundings. Hangzhou is one of China's biggest tourist attractions.
Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty, which began in 1127, until the Mongols invaded in 1276. Back then, the city was populated by 1 million people. That's now ballooned to close to 9 million. Find high-quality and abundant accommodation in many parts of the city. Locals generally welcome foreigners readily.
Acquaint yourself with downtown Hangzhou by taking a stroll along Qinghefang Street, the city's best-preserved thoroughfare. Mingle with the locals, watch traditional handicrafts being made and sample delicacies like roasted walnuts and “dragon-whisker” candy. Next, visit China Silk City to sift through quality fabrics; remember to barter before buying.
Another walk you must take while in Hangzhou is along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. You probably won't want to cover the entire length, since it is over 1,000 miles (1,700 kilometers) long. However far you get, appreciate it as the earliest and longest man-made canal anywhere.
The main reason for Hangzhou's tourist trade is undeniably West Lake. This enchanting body of freshwater is a UNESCO site and has been preserved and restored accordingly. Spend a weekend walking over Broken Bridge, climbing to the base of Baochu Pagoda and marveling at the sumptuous halls of Lingyin Temple.
Take time to relax in the parks and gardens surrounding West Lake. Enjoy the colors of the tulip festival held at Prince Bay Park every spring. For other walks among trees and flowers, visit Hangzhou Botanical Garden.
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport provides regular flights to and from Hong Kong and Beijing. Get around Hangzhou on the convenient bus and subway networks. Rent a boat or bike along West Lake’s shores to enjoy a pleasant jaunt. Humidity is high in Hangzhou between June and September. In spring and winter, the climate is very comfortable and the scenery magical.