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Only In… Hangzhou 2017-06-27
Hangzhou is situated in eastern China and is the largest city in Zhejiang province. With a mountainous landscape and architecture gracing dynasties past, Hangzhou, still prides itself in un-spoilt beauty, charm and a culture that Marco Polo, who travelled here about 700 years ago, would easily recognise.  Home to more than 8 million residents and with a million or more tourists each year, Hangzhou, however crowded at times still manages to keep its Buddhist-inspired serenity. 

As we step out of summer and into autumn and winter - why not indulge yourself in some of Hangzhou’s most heart-warming and culturally rewarding activities. 

Float into a scene from a bank note.
 
 Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, the area
 of West Lake that mirrors the one-yuan  
 note.
-Debra Bruno   
West Lake’s Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, a trio of 16th-century pear-shaped pagodas shimmering on water, are an emblem of such national pride that they are depicted on the back of China’s one-Yuan note.

On mid-autumn day in Hangzhou this is one of the best places to admire the full moon. While it is also possible to view the pagodas from the western end of the lake it’s actually more fun and peaceful to hire a traditional wooden boat, or sampan (80 yuan, or $13, a person). This is truly an illuminating experience for all.

Savor Longjing tea at source.
 
     Hangzhou’s longjing tea is served
     in style at Taiji Teahouse.
                                     -Debra Bruno
Longjing or Dragon Well tea, a delicate, lightly aromatic beverage grown only in Hangzhou, is served across the country. But it’s best sampled in situ in one of the city’s tea houses or restaurants, brewed with sweet local spring water. For a cuppa with a show, head to Taiji Teahouse (Qinghefang St.), where tea masters pour it piping hot through long, narrow funnels from copper teapots they hold over their backs, through their arms, and over their heads. Be sure to check on prices, which can range from 50 yuan ($8) a cup to many thousands of yuan for the highest-grade version.
 
Scale a mountain that flew in from India.
Feilai Feng (peak flown from afar) is an amazing limestone peak located at the front of Lingyin Temple. Hundreds of Buddhist sculptures are carved into its rocks dating back to the 10th and 14th centuries. Legend has it that an Indian monk thought the peak looked like one he had seen at home so he assumed it had flown there. In true legend this is a travelling mountain that has been known to move a number of people with its history, culture and power of Buddhism.


Experience one-stop shopping, TCM-style.
Now on the spa menus of top hotels, Traditional Chinese Medicine goes back millennia. Trace its roots at the Hu Qing Yu Tang Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicines, which has a dusty but extensive display of ingredients, from deer penis to bear paw, a variety of plants, squares of tiger-bone and deer-horn gelatin, plus a somewhat unrealistic-looking stuffed tiger. You can also visit the nearby clinic to get your qi diagnosed, watch your concoction prepared in the pharmacy, and wrap up the visit with a TCM-inspired meal that balances sweet, sour, bitter and pungent foods at the restaurant connected to the museum.

Source: The Wall Street Journal
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No.188, Fuchun Road, Hangzhou, China
TEL: 86-571-96123
FAX: 86-571-96123
Complain: slw@hz.gov.cn
Consult: slw@hz.gov.cn