Hangzhou is situated in the eastern coastal area of China, the northern part of Zhejiang Province and the southern end of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Enjoying an extremely advantageous location the city is recognized for many reasons.
The well-known verse by Su Dongpo (a famous Chinese poet), “Above, there is heaven; below, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou”, has spread across the world and because of this Hangzhou is now known, by many, as the byword for heaven; and the famous tragic, yet beautiful, love stories such as Butterfly Lovers (a Chinese equivalent to Romeo and Juliet) and the Legend of the White Snake have also contributed to the city’s fame.
Today, Hangzhou is still celebrated for its legendary charms but also for its emerald-green West Lake, illustrious green tea bushes and the historic Grand Canal.
West Lake is known by all for its enchanting waters, mountainous views and abundance of historical and cultural relics. When visiting the West Lake, its top ten views are not to be missed – Spring Dawn at Su Causeway, Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden, Autumn Moon Over the calm Lake, Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge, Orioles Singing in the Willows, Viewing Fish at Flower Pond, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, Twin Peaks Piercing the Cloud, Evening Bell Ringing at Nanping Hill and Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow.
West Lake in Spring
West Lake in Summmer
West Lake in Autumn
West Lake in Winter
There are many ways in which to tour the West Lake you can choose to rent a public bicycle, hop on a boat, take a battery tourist car or board a lake-side public bus. Whichever route you decide you will always enjoy the lake’s enchanting natural views and beautiful musical fountain.
Lingyin Temple, with its 1,700 year old history, is the most famous and oldest temple in Hangzhou and is also one of the Top Ten Buddhist Temples in China. It is a great place to learn about Chinese Buddhist culture and to marvel at its many exquisite and majestic Buddhist architectural pieces.
Lingyin Temple - Woodcarving Statue of Shakyamuni
Lingyin Temple - Five Hundred Arhats Hall
In addition, the temple is hidden in a valley which is bathed in picturesque scenery and fresher than fresh air and this also makes it the ideal spot for a hike or two. The Peak flying from Afar, engraved with various types of grottoes dating back from the Five Dynasties to the Song and Yuan Dynasties, is also a great location for a meander up the mountain.
Qiandao (Thousand-Islet) Lake
Qiandao Lake is a man-made lake resulting from the construction of the first China-made Hydroelectric Power Station in 1959 and an old village, once positioned here at the lake, now quietly lies at the very bottom. Inside the lake there are 1078 islets, hence its name, a thousand islets.
Things to do around the Qiandao Lake are aplenty and include cruising the lake, climbing high on one of its islets to view the lake’s panoramic views, visiting nearby ancient villages, rafting in mountain streams and cycling along any one of its great greenway paths.
Song Dynasty Town
Song Dynasty Town is a gathering place for fun and for many of China’s intangible culture heritages too. It is the most popular theme park in Hangzhou and makes for a great travel destination in all of the four seasons. As its name suggests, the park is themed on the culture of the Song Dynasty, especially the Southern Song Dynasty when Hangzhou was its capital.
Here, one is able to see what it was like to live in the time of the Song Dynasty and enjoy various types of intangible cultural heritages such as Chinese puppet shows, Chinese shadow plays, martial arts performances, and one of the most popular shows in Hangzhou, Legend of the Song Dynasty, a large-scale indoor performance highlighting Hangzhou’s culture and history.
Xixi National Wetland Park
Xixi National Wetland Park is a rarely seen urban wetland and is known as one of the “Three Xi’s of Hangzhou – Three Landmark Sights of Hangzhou” along with West Lake (Xihu) and Xiling Seal-Engravers’ Society. Water is the soul of Xixi with six rivers crisscrossing it and 70 % of it being dominated by harbors, ponds, lakes and swamps.
In Xixi you can leisurely enjoy a boat ride, anchor around in ponds, watch birds fly, see snow-white reed catkins and flame-red persimmons and listen to Yueju Opera.
The annual time for picking Longjing green tea leaves, one of the top ten renowned teas of China, has begun in Hangzhou and everywhere tea farmers are now busy picking and hand frying the famous leaves. If you wanted to take a sneak peek at how the farmers meticulously pick their verdant leaves from bushes nestled in undulating hills, or if you wanted to sample, at first hand, this year’s Longjing variety, then head to the following three tea villages which are known for their tea, tea culture and tea-related tourist attractions.
Last year on the real waters of the West Lake, and in the evening gala of Hangzhou G20 Summit, the performance “The most memorable is Hangzhou” amazed the world. It was a shame that after such a short period of performing in last October and November, the show paused. But now news is out that starting from May, the updated version of original Impression West Lake, “The most memorable is Hangzhou” will once again show its lakeside charm in becoming one of the most splendid performances on water.