Country: China
Currency: Renminbi (RMB)
Peak Season: March-April
Shoulder Season: June-August
Median Temperature: 16.20 C / 61.16 F
Main Languages: Wu Chinese, Mandarin, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, bicycle, boat, taxi
Recommended Duration of Stay: 3 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $80.00/day
Tourist Passes: n/a
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Beyond the smoggy skyline of the mainland lies an unparalleled beauty that seems like heaven on earth. Hangzhou is the city-capital and the most prominent tourist destination of the Zheijang Province in Southern China. Being part of the Yangtze Delta makes it a refreshing retreat from neighboring metropolises like Shanghai, Nanjing, Ningbo and Wuxi. What sets Hangzhou apart from almost every city in China is the former’s plush natural sceneries, including West Lake, which underwent numerous landscaping since the 9th century, but has been put to commercial use since the 6th century. West Lake is home to a diverse flora and fauna, including numerous towering pagodas, hilltop Buddhist temples, scenic gardens, and a soiree of other natural sceneries and views from many vantage points.

Running, walking, cycling, pagoda visits, and afternoon tea parties are the usual lakeside tourist activities. The city is host to many nature festivals from July to November, including the West Lake Lotus Flower Festival, Food Festival, and the Fireworks Festival. The man-made architectural feats are designed and replicated to match elements of the Song Dynasty, during which Hangzhou was the capital of the mainland. The city’s economy thrives in the tourist population, and in here you will realize that despite China’s modern clout, it still respects and preserves its roots all that graciously.

Packing List

  • Essential medications (especially anti-histamines), insect repellants and toiletries; Hangzhou is a sub-provincial city and may not purvey all city life conveniences
  • A camera and a couple of batteries—indispensable due to the plush natural scenery
  • Light cotton clothes to counter humid summers, windbreakers to combat chilly winters, and umbrellas for monsoon rains

Things to Do

  • Morning and afternoon explorations along gorgeous West Lake, which is undeniably the inspiration for oriental garden landscaping and the main reason for the Hangzhou’s tourism
  • Sipping tea in a myriad of teahouses and visiting the National Tea Museum in Longjing; here you can sip many varieties of tea straight from the source, including renowned Longjing tea.
  • Conquering relatively easy mountains, Lingyin, Putuo and Xihu Gu; there you’ll find verdant flora, religious edifices and temples.
  • A short breather from nature by visiting Qinghefang Pedestrian Street to go shopping for souvenirs and herbal remedies; and also to sample Sichuan- and northern-style cuisine.
  • Visiting Song Dynasty Town, or what locals call a “vivid taxonomy of its dynasty,” and partaking in many cultural presentations featured daily

DON'T

  • Forget to have your currency exchanged, as foreign currency is usually dishonored
  • Be confined to in one scenic spot for the remainder of your stay; many farther areas are worth visiting just for their natural beauty
  • Adulterate or litter on the trails and scenic spots; don’t make the street sweepers to clean up after you
  • Walk long, remote distances during the humid summer, especially all by yourself; always bring plenty of water and a towel