Touring picturesque Hangzhou can be very delightful as long as you avoid crowded attractions, otherwise you will see mostly people and be jostling with others most of the day. Places of interest, of course, are often swarming with tourists, but there are other places worth seeing. But even tourist magnets like West Lake have some great spots that few tourists know about. For visitors on a leisurely trip, Shanghai Daily recommends three sites. The following places feature natural scenery, quiet and comfortable cafes, cozy restaurants, and stylish hostels that allow for a relaxing weekend without being bothered by huge crowds.
Manjuelong Village and Yangmeiling Peak
Many tourists visit Longjing Road because the city is famous for green tea of the same name. However, the road is packed on weekends and whenever the weather is nice. Manjuelong Village and Yangmeiling Peak are nearby and both attract far fewer people as mainly locals know about these spots. Both are home to tea plantations, while the valley is also known for its sweet smelling osmanthus trees, which blossom in autumn. The peak is the water source of Nine Creeks and Eighteen Gullies.
Manjuelong Village is worth a visit as some farmers have opened teahouses and restaurants. Pick any of them and sit down for a cup of tea or a meal. Sipping tea, eating outdoors and meeting locals is a nice experience that makes for an enjoyable outing. Haihua Hotel is another highlight in the village. The old-style houses inside a traditional Chinese garden make for a tranquil stay.
Yangmeiling Peak is southwest of West Lake and is covered in lush vegetation. Hike from Longjing Road or Nine Creeks and Eighteen Gullies. Locals built houses and villas at the foot of the hill, creating a small village. Homes in Yangmeiling are typical of Zhejiang folk houses, which are characterized by white walls, brick roofs and carved window. Most of the residents take advantage of the popularity of the natural surroundings by running guest houses, eateries, and teahouses.
If you go: Manjuelong: Take bus No. 87 or 318 to Manjuelong stop Yangmeiling: Take bus No. 27, 87 or 318 to Chishanbu stop Or take a map and rent a bicycle, which is actually the fastest (traffic jams are common on weekends).
During the peak travel seasons millions of people come to Nanshan Road along West Lake, but most miss Luyang Road. On one side of the strip there are European-style buildings while the other features lofty phoenix trees that spread their curved branches into the sky. At the end of the 100-meter road is West Lake. The strip is home to a youth hostel and cafe, a Taiwanese restaurant and an upscale fusion restaurant. Their styles and tastes prove they deserve this lovely location. Inlake Hostel is a little gem as its second-floor rooms have views of the lake. The first floor contains a romantic cafe with lilies, roses, lavender and other potted flowers. It turns into a bar in the evenings with some tables spilling out on to the sidewalk. Cape No. 7 features dishes from Taiwan with highlights including lemon pepper shrimp, and small sausage in large sausage. The lemon pepper shrimp comes highly recommended.
Yee Chino Restaurant is a fancy place that costs an average of 250 yuan (US$40) per person. A nice selection of art, antiques and high-end furniture (both Eastern and Western) make for an enjoyable environment. The restaurant’s interior supposedly cost more than 10 million yuan.
If you go: Take Metro Line 1 to Ding’an Road Station (Exit C). Walk west on Xihu Avenue until you reach Nanshan Road, turn left. The white house with two wooden deer in front is Yee Chino. Alternatively, take bus No. 12 or No. 102 to Qianwang Hall stop, find the China Academy of Art. Luyang Road is across the street.
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.