While the name ‘Hangzhou’ is more often used to refer to the urban agglomeration of the metropolitan area that is composed of six core districts, a broader sense of ‘Hangzhou’ refers to three districts (Xiaoshan, Yuhang and Fuyang) and four counties/sub-cities (Lin’an, Jiande, Tonglu, Chun’an) under its jurisdiction. Hangzhou lies in the arms of these satellite districts that glisten like pearls with their respective unique cultural and folk features, adding enormous charm to the West Lake-oriented urban scene of Hangzhou.
Xiaoshan District: New Paradise for Leisure
The magnificent Qiantang River has a length of over 500 km, and the majestic Xiaoshan boasts a rich history of eight thousand years. As the native land of the Kingdom of Yue and the main battlefield between the rival kingdoms of Wu and Yue, Xiaoshan is also known as the birthplace of Zhejiang's civilization.
Today, Xiaoshan is rapidly developing into the most luxurious and leisurely place along the banks of the Qiantang River.
Dubbed the sister lake to Hangzhou's West Lake, Xianghu Lake is a blue oasis, laden with rich historical and cultural heritage. Its life-long water has nourished not only rice paddies and water bounties but also the locals' mind and soul.
Incorporating Chinese gardening and a myriad of religions, including Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism, this themed garden will take you on a magical journey into the mysterious oriental world.
(3) China Water Conservation Museum
A floating museum that is both a pagoda and water world offers you the key to all the water's secrets. Whether at dawn or dusk, the silhouette of this museum, can be particularly haunting against the sky.
No need to travel to the North or South Pole when you can witness at first hand, here in Hangzhou Polar Ocean Park, animals native to their polar areas. Watch the cutest animals and their lively performances without having to wrap up warm!
A kaleidoscopic kingdom of fairytales and a boundless world of animation. A dream-like paradise for adults and a magical fairyland for all the family.
What to do
(1) Spring outing to Xianghu Lake – an absolute tour of culture
Morning: Explore the magic of Hangzhou Orient Culture Park.
Afternoon: Cruise along Xianghu Lake, visiting its themed area, Xiasun cultural village and Kuahuqiao Relics Museum.
Evening: View a musical performance by Xiang Lake's water fountain.
(2) A cruise into Wuyue culture – an absolute tour of history and heritage
Morning: Visit Xiasun cultural village and cruise leisurely along Xianghu Lake's themed area.
Afternoon: Delve into the ancient Wuyue city and explore Kuahuqiao Relics Museum.
Evening: Enjoy a grand song and dance performance of Legend of Romance.
(3) A fun day out – an absolute tour for all the family
Morning: Visit Polar Ocean Park.
Afternoon: Cruise along Xianghu Lake, and enjoy the beach and shallow waters at Jinsha water-play scenic area.
Evening: View a musical performance by Xianghu Lake's water fountain.
Yuhang District (余杭区): sightseeing in Hangzhou and living In Yuhang
Liangzhu, with its long history and outstanding people, is the birthplace of the Liangzhu Culture, known as the “Dawning of Chinese Civilization”. With the spirit of originality, pioneering, independent creation and outward exploration, Liangzhu is a holy land for both the Chinese nation and Oriental civilizations.
(1) Xixi Wetland-Hong Garden
A mid-city water town and home to Hong Garden, and birthplace of Hong Sheng – the Qing dynasty dramatist, and Hong Clan's ancestral hall. The cultural richness of the Opera Arts corridor and the families of Qiantang have made this garden one of the most attractive corners of the wetland.
Known for its ancient Song and Tang Dynasty plum trees, this mountainous scenic spot continues to attract travelers both for its treasure trove of centuries old and its alluring beauty. Best to visit in spring when plum trees are in full bloom.
(5) Pipa Bay Eco Garden
An agriculturist's paradise, where fruit picking is available all year round. This eco garden is also widely known for its production of Loquat.
Featuring abundant fruits, vegetables and Chinese zodiac characters, this is where China's first original cartoon song and dance is frequently performed. Children will eagerly get the taste for more.
(7) The Ancient Town of Tangqi
Ranked as one of Jiangnan's top ten waterfront towns during the Ming and Qing dynasties, Tangqi, is a great place to soak up some of China's history while enjoying the tranquil atmosphere of a typical water town south of the Yangtze River.
(8) Ancient Town of Yuhang
It is the only double millennium ancient town in Zhejiang province and the southern terminal of the ancient Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.
The birthplace of the Japanese-style tea ceremony, home to Jingshan temple, and the first Zen Buddhist temple in Southeast China. The unspoiled mountain that surrounds this temple is famous for its tea and bamboo shoots.
Elegant Tonglu County (桐庐县): city of traditional Chinese painting.
Tonglu, whose Fuchun River was the inspiration for the epic scroll painted by Wang Gongwang, the great Yuan Dynasty painter, has also been eulogized for possessing the “unparalleled spectacular mountains and waters under heaven.”
(1) Yan Ziling Fishing Terrace (严子陵钓鱼台) (Rate: AAAA)
Named after the East Han dynasty hermit, it towers poetically above the Fuchun River. Board a boat and leisurely glide past a number of pavilions, and loft houses. With their upturned eaves, black-tiled roofs and white-washed walls and set amongst luscious green forestation, Yan Ziling Fishing Terrace is bound to evoke a sense of calm and classic beauty.
Stretching 4.5 km long, this zigzagging river runs deep and tranquil all year around. The unpredictable currents add more thrills to its visitors’ unforgettable experience, making them reluctant to leave.
What to do
Cave adventure; cultural immersion; rafting down Tianmu Creek; explore Eshan Mountain Village of the She Minority; watch a “Grand Fireworks Display” every Friday and Saturday evening and national holidays during peak tourism season.
Chun'an County (淳安县) – Qiandao Lake, an oasis for the soul
Qiandao Lake is situated 129 km east of Hangzhou and 175 km west of Huangshan, the famous Yellow Mountain and is one of China’s first national key scenic attractions and five star tourist destinations. The famous lake, renowned throughout the world for its largest number of islands, covers an area of 573 sq km and with its emerald colored waters and spectacular scenery the lake has been praised as the “First Beautiful Water under Heaven”.
Sights: Thousand Island Lake (千岛湖)
What to do: Take a leisurely cruise around Thousand Island Lake, hopping from island to island, cycling, mountaineering, camping, rafting and kayaking.
Jiande City (建德市): a beautiful riverside city and tourists’ paradise
A city flowing with charm and the river’s crystal clear waters, falling 70 meters directly from the Xin’an Hydro Power Plant’s dam, are warm with temperatures sustaining 17 degrees Celsius throughout the year. “The 17℃ Xin’an River at Jiande” forges a legendary world of warm winters and cool summers.
(1) Daci Rock (Great Benevolence Rock 大慈岩)
Famous for its suspending temple and China’s number one natural standing Buddha, this wondrous stone is also home to a 1000-year-old ginkgo tree and a number of wild blossoms.
(2) Xinye Ancient Village(新叶古村)
Only 7 km away from Daci Rock lies this hidden gem, resembling a jigsaw puzzle every piece of this village tells a story. Surrounded by a thousand acres of canola plants, this village with its eye-catching black-tiled roofs and white-washed walls is sure to engage visitors in a number of ways. During festivals, you can also witness locals performing bewildering rituals and festivities.
As the most picturesque section of the Fuchun River, Qililong (Seven-li long rapids) is where the heart of the river lies. Boasting green hills, crystal-like water, ancient history and a serene landscape, it is no wonder it inspired Huang Gongwang (1269 –1354), the famous Chinese painter, to accomplish his masterpiece “Dwelling in Fuchun Mountains” .
(4) Xin’an River Hydro Power Plant(新安江水电站)
A hydro plant where powerful water has turned thousands of hills into islands; caused hundreds of villages to be buried under water; and seen a large number of residents flee their homeland. A visit to this plant, where temperatures sustain at 17 degrees Celsius all year round, is both moving and powerfully engaging.
What to do
Strawberry Picking (Jan – May)
Locations: Jiande Yangcunqiao Strawberry Leisure and Sightseeing Garden; Jiande Yangchuanqiiao Strawberry Garden; Chunqiu Village of Xiaya Town; Hangjing Village of Hangtou Town; Xiyan Village of Hangtou Town
Hot Springs – soak up the amazing landscape whilst relaxing in a hot spa.
Dragon Boat Ride – drift down the Xin’an River in true Chinese style.
Fuyang City(富阳市): Inspiration for Huang Gongwang’s painting “Dwelling in Fuchun Mountain”
“Of all the landscapes under heaven, Fuchun is the best.” Fuyang City enjoys both the beauty of a mountain town and the elegance of a riverside city. Not only the original site for Huang Gong Wang’s famous painting, Fuyung is also at the front line of the National Gold Tourism Route of “West Lake-Fuchun River-Qiandao Islets-Yellow Mountain”.
(1) Hangzhou Safari Park (杭州野生动物世界 Rate: AAAA)
The biggest Safari Park in Eastern China home to 10,000 wild animals of 200 species. With a number of wild performances and fun activities on offer, this park guarantees a roaring time for all the family.
(2) Hangzhou Longmen Old Town (龙门古镇)
It is an ancient town with decaying architecture falling proudly from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Interconnected by covered walkways and crisscrossed by narrow lanes, Longmen Town is the largest living quarters of King Sun Quan’s descendants.
Under its aged shell it combines the past with the present and prides itself in hosting a number of modern day performances and vibrant festivals.
(3) Dongwu Cultural Park, Tianzhong (heavenly bell) Mountain
A remodeled theme park that aims to take tourists back in time while presenting them with the “Three Kingdoms” culture.
(4) Residence of Hermit Huang Gongwang(黄公望故居)
This is the site where Huang Gongwang, a renowned Yuan Dynasty painter, accomplished his masterpiece: “Dwelling in Fuchun Mountains”. A visit to his residence will inspire any budding artist.
What to do
Visit Longmen Old Town and unearth the cultural relics of the Kingdom of Wu (221 – 263); go sky gliding at Yong’an Mountain, and experience the feeling of flying like a bird whilst floating in mid-air; kayak your way through surging waves, race across the famous Fuchun River, and take a cycle around Xinsha Island, stopping to set up camp whilst enjoying a BBQ or a number of local delicacies.
Lin'an City(临安市): Holiday in the mountainous land of Lin'an
Honored as a city for excellent tourism, home of bamboo and hickory nuts, Lin’an in West Hangzhou has also been recognized as a national forest city, with a dense coverage of more than 77%. This evergreen tourist city is also the source of two major water systems:Tai Lake and Qiantang River.
Sights: West Zhejiang’s Grand Canyon (浙西大峡谷); Qingshan (green mountain) Lake (青山湖); Daming (great brightness) Mountain (大明山); Tianmu Mountain Grand Canyon (天目山大峡谷); Ruijinshihua (auspicious crystal stone flower) Cave (瑞晶石花洞)
What to do: Take part in a number of festivals, such as Tianmu Mountain Ganchun Festival, (Baishui Stream) Spring Bamboo Shoots Festival, and Wild Monkey Festival, at the Source of Tai Lake. Other festivals to join are the Second Lin’an East Tianmu Mountain Spring Dragon Culture and Tourism Festival and the Ten Thousand People Chasing the Spring and Seeking the Air Sunny Trip in Shimen Gorge.
The sun is shining and the autumn wind is just right. In such good weather, it is a good idea to travel back in time in the Hangzhou Confucius Temple. Here, you can cultivate your mind and soul. In the temple, tablets can be seen everywhere, positioning people instantly in the ancient seat of learning in the capital city of the Southern Song Dynasty. Here, you can stop and appreciate the ancient moss-covered stone tiles, which seems to narrate the thousands-of-year history of the Confucius Temple.