From Skis to Bicycles, Traveling by Season
Throughout the year, Hangzhou and its surrounding areas offer some great, seasonal getaways. On its WeChat account, the Hangzhou government recently recommended the best destinations for each month of the year. Open your calendars, take a look at our list and start planning your seasonal trips in and around Hangzhou until June — we’ll introduce you to the following six in the next edition.
January: Daming Mountain
In addition to waterfalls, gorgeous forests, striking rock formations, valleys and creeks, Daming Mountain in southwest Hangzhou is considered one of the best skiing areas in Zhejiang Province.
The skiing zone covers an area of 20,000 square meters — enough for up to 1,000 skiers at a time. Artificial snow-blowers are used to create better slopes.
Skis and other winter sports equipment is available for rent. Visitors can take chair lifts to the top of the skiing slopes while restaurants dish up delicacies and hotels offer cozy rooms to stay.
How to get there: Shanghai-Kunming Expressway — Hangzhou-Ningbo Expressway — Hangzhou-Ruili Expressway — Hebai Road — Dada Road
February: Tangqi Town
Tangqi is a great example of a traditional watertown in the lower reaches of south Yangtze River thanks to its black-roofed folk houses. In ancient times, the canal and tributary that still run through the town split Tangqi into several parts.
During Spring Festival, throngs of Hangzhou locals flock to Tangqi to experience centuries-old Chinese New Year customs. Local residents make handmade glutinous rice cakes and dumplings and hold temple fairs.
What is the most popular specialty among visitors is Tangqi’s traditional pastry, which was deemed “delicious” even by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty who once traveled through Tangqi on an inspection trip to the south.
Bean crunch candy, walnut slices, sesame cake — also known as “starvation cake” — and loquat candy are among the best-selling delicacies.
How to get there: Desheng Road — Qiushi Road — 320 National Road — Yunhe Road — Renmin Road
March: Baoshi Hill
Climbing mountains in spring is almost a tradition for Hangzhou natives. Among the mountains that surround Hangzhou, Baoshi Hill is the most popular since it offers a panorama view of the West Lake.
Lights are installed along a path up the hill, making it safe to hike there until 10:30pm on weekends. The Baochu Pagoda, about half-way up the path, is lit until 9:30pm every day.
How to get there: Take Bus No. Y10 and get off at Geling Station.
April: Banshan Village
Banshan Village in Fuyang County is noted for its lush peach blossoms in April. A peach blossom festival is held in a local park where more than 266 hectares of peach trees are in bloom.
The village is not only a place to see flowers but also to sample local food specialties made of peaches or inspired by the fruit.
How to get there: Hangzhou-Ruili Expressway — 102 National Road — 205 National Road — 05 National Road
May: Qiandao Lake
Qiandao Lake, or Thousand Islands Lake, named with a nod to the 1,078 islands spread over the large, artificial body of water, is a great location to explore the nature and breath some fresh air.
A cycling path was paved around the most scenic area, which attracts biking aficionados from across the country. Every May, when the weather gets warmer, people start touring the lake by bicycle.
How to get there: Changchun-Shenzhen Expressway — Hangzhou-Xin’anjiang-Jingdezhen Expressway — Huanhu Road N.
June: Suoqian Town
The crimson to dark purple waxberry fruit is popular with locals. Usually, people prefer sampling freshly picked fruit rather than preserved plum candy or waxberry wine. When they get ripe in June, Suoqian Town in Xiaoshan District turns into the El Dorado waxberry lovers as the area is known for growing particularly big pulps with a small pit and succulent flesh.
The city also holds a waxberry festival in June, where visitors can pick fruits from the orchards and buy them at a lower price compared to the markets. Family-run guesthouses serve authentic local food and cozy accommodation.
How to get there: Hangzhou-Ningbo Expressway — Shanghai-Kunming Expressway — 104 National Road
In Jiande, there is an ancient town that has experienced thousands of years of wind and rain. It has a beautiful name called Meicheng (Plum Blossom Town). Meicheng was the state town of the then Yanzhou and is now the county town of Jiande. It has a history of 1700 years.