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Hangzhou Offers Plenty to Impress Every Traveler 2018-11-16
People travel for many reasons. Some want to experience a different culture, others want to relax, while still others go to new places in search of business opportunities.

Fortunately, Hangzhou’s rich wealth of cultural, leisure and business resources means the city has something to offer every travelers.

Here, Shanghai Daily takes a look at the city’s most popular sites and attractions.

Cultural attractions

The local culture of Hangzhou has flourished ever since it was made the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Being one of China’s great ancient cities, it provides visitors with an abundance of cultural scenic spots.

Exploring the city’s cultural heritage starts with a look at the its time-honored craft goods.

Silk from the Du Jinsheng brocade brand — named after its founder, a well-known magnet born near Hangzhou in 1898 — typifies the city’s high-quality textile industry. Meanwhile, Zhang Xiaoquan-branded scissors also represent a crucial piece of local craft history. Today, both brands have exhibition centers in Hangzhou showcasing their historic products and related artifacts.

In addition to these local speciality brands, Hangzhou also boasts a distinctive local food culture, which is well represented at the Hangzhou Cuisine Museum. Visitors to this well-researched museum can get a glimpse of food history and also sample some of city’s famed dishes.

Hangzhou also has a long history of cultivating tea. The local variety of Longjing tea is considered one of the finest green teas in all of China. Meijiawu Village in west Hangzhou is a famous producer of this tea, and is well-known to local tourists for its many family-owned tea houses.

Business attractions

Along with its ancient history, Hangzhou is also home to numerous modern enterprises and universities.

Among them is Zhejiang University, one of the highest ranked universities in the country. Zhejiang University is comprised of five campuses, which each feature their own characteristics and style. Each year, representatives from the world’s leading companies descend on the university to hunt for fresh talent.

Another local university that enjoys widespread fame is China Art Academy. The school is famous for its innovative classroom buildings — designed by Pritzker Prize winner, Wang Shu — as well as its reputation for producing many of China’s top artists and designers.

On the business front, Alibaba is undoubtedly Hangzhou’s best-known and most successful local company. As an early pioneer in China’s e-commerce industry, Alibaba now stands with Amazon as one of the world’s top online businesses. Every year, scores of visitors — including many aspiring entrepreneurs — come to see the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou.

Wahaha Group is also worth a visit. As a leading enterprise in China’s beverage industry, its drinks occupy nearly half of the domestic market. Every year, streams of business people swarm there and try to draw knowledge from its successful business.

In addition to universities and companies, several revived commercial streets also attract business travelers. Fengqi Silk Road, for instance, is a popular shopping area for out-of-towners to admire Hangzhou’s quality silk.

Creative industry attractions

Many of Hangzhou’s old manufacturing companies shut down long ago. But the old mill complexes which housed them have found new life as art galleries, design studios, fashion boutiques and cafes.

These creative spaces have grown in popularity over the years. Today, the most popular are Silian 166 Loft and Phoenix Creative Park.

The former is housed in a refurbished silk dyeing factory. Designers and artists have turned its distinctive architecture and industrial equipment into a complex of modern creativity. Today, the old mill is a rendezvous for hipsters and trendsetters.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Creative Park is based in a former cement factory. Now it is home to hundreds of creative industry enterprises.

Romantic attractions

For many couples, no trip to Hangzhou is complete without a tandem bike ride around West Lake. One recommended cycling route starts at No. 6 Park, runs through Nanshan Road and Yanggong Causeway and ends at Beishan Road. If couples prefer lakeside scenery, they can ride along Bai and Su causeways.

The first route is characterized by old villas that were built in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the Republic of China era (1911-1949). Many of these villas feature Shanghainese architectural elements. Today, some have evolved into museums and hotels.

The second route’s highlights are the Bai and Su causeways. They were built by sludge dredged from the lake in the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties. Lush vegetation and pavilions gradually flanked them thereafter.

At night, lovers can watch the “Impressions of West Lake” stage show, performed on a stage set just below the water’s surface. Produced by famed director Zhang Yimou, the show tells the story of Madam White Snake, a fairy tale about a young scholar who falls in love with a snake that later takes human form.

Another musical that features glitzy costumes and extravagant direction is “Romance of the Song Dynasty,” a large-scale performance that depicts the trials and tribulations of the Southern Song Dynasty in establishing its capital city in Hangzhou.

Source: Shanghai Daily
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