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Hangzhou Travel Guide

Visit Hangzhou

Hangzhou History
Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province and the noted ancient capital of China and is famed for West Lake and Grand Canal, of which political, economic and cultural center, with famous natural beauty and cultural heritages, is one of China's most important tourist venues. Since Qin dynasty the city of Hangzhou was considered as one of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China for having been inhabited more than seven thousand years ago. Named “Xifu” at that time, it became a major cultural center, boasting fascinating Buddhist temple architecture.

Hangzhou  had diplomatic connections with neighboring countries much due to that it once was a major port in China for several years." In heaven there is Paradise, on earth there are Suzhou and Hangzhou." This is the popular saying or view among most of the Chinese. Hangzhou's inordinate beauty has been an inspiration to artists for centuries especially to these two more of China's most influential poets, Bai Juyi and Su Dongpo, served as governors here at that time. During the Qing dynasty, the city became known as a popular tourist destination, much frequented by such notables as the Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong, who built a palace and important library here.

Similarly, during the late twentieth century, Mao Zedong was smitten by its charm. He snatched moments from his hectic political life to write "Ode to the Mume Blossom", which by its very title recalls Lin Heijiang's "To the Mume Blossom", written a thousand years earlier. When the Venetian explorer Marco Polo visited Hangzhou; he called the city “the finest and the noblest in the world.” With a population of more than one million by then, Hangzhou was considered the world’s largest city for quite some time. Due to the classical poems, the Western Lake was alluded to as a great beauty and the scene of many romantic and sad stories, it holds many secrets. As well as the lake, the tea and silk industries, Liangzhu Culture, the official kiln and Grand

Hangzhou Highlights
West Lake
West Lake, located in Hangzhou and which the much reason that this city is sometimes called “paradise on earth” and known for its panoramic scenery, weeping willow trees, flowering peach trees, rockeries, ancient stone bridges, and hills dotted with multi-tiered temple pagodas, is charming in any season. Originally a shallow sea inlet, due to the laying down of silt these 5.68 square kilometers of water became the famous lake in China.

With an average depth of just five feet the lake comprises five distinct sections. The largest part is known as the Outer Lake and it is bounded by the North Inner Lake, Yuehu Lake, West Inner Lake and Lesser South Lake. Held in the embrace of hilly peaks on three sides, this water wonderland has been an attraction for centuries and it is small wonder that it was a favorite imperial retreat. The lake and its environs have all the elements of a traditional Chinese garden but on a grand scale. The natural setting of strangely shaped peaks, serene forests and springs, dense foliage and a myriad of blossoms especially in springtime are enhanced by a treasury of sculpture and architectural features.

In classical poems composed by the famous Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo, the West Lake was alluded to as a great beauty. One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of West Lake is from a boat on the lake. Following are some of the sights worth seeing around the lake: Solitary Hill is the largest island in the lake which located at the northwest corner of it; Leifeng Pagoda makes you enjoy the combination of a traditional aesthetic style and modern architecture techniques, Leifeng Pagoda affords a view of West Lake in its entirety; you can also influenced by Spring Dawn at Su Causeway, Mausoleum of General Yue Fei, which is known as a famous hero, and Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake for the best scenery on Mid-autumn Day.

Temple of Soul's Retreat
Temple of Soul's Retreat will be found in a long narrow valley between Peak flown from Afar and North Peak to the northwest of the West Lake at Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. The temple is without doubt a premier showpiece in the West Lake environs and is notable also as one of the ten most famous Buddhist temples of China. In 1961 the temple was listed for protection as a key provincial historical and cultural site and is considered a leading centre for research relative to Chinese Buddhist culture. According to local legend, an Indian monk from Huili to the area where he was inspired by the spiritual nature of the scenery to be found here. So he gave the temple a name “Ling Yin”. The Chinese name is translated into English as either “Temple of the Soul's Retreat” for the meaning of a quiet and beautiful grandeur that encourages a feeling of peace and for contemplation.

The Peak flown from Afar mentioned before is also a nice place for you to visit. The peak was named for being believed that it had flown over from India because the shape, although unique in China, was common in India. Hence the peak's name was created and has passed down to the present day. For Peak flown from Afar is a pure limestone mountain that is very distinctive from the sandstone mountains around it, thousands of professionals and aficionados in the fields of engraving and grotto research flock to this place to study the unparalleled Chinese classical rock carvings. You could travel around some other spots, such as Wuzhen, Xitang, Qiantang River Tide and Mt.Putuoshan.

Hangzhou Facts
Hangzhou has a subtropical monsoon climate with mild and moist weather and four distinct seasons. In early August, typhoons often occur bringing heavy rain. During this period, you should bring an umbrella with you. Even if it does not rain, an umbrella is also a nice prop for photos you take at the West Lake. September and October feature excellent weather when clear skies and bracing air can be enjoyed almost every day. In winter, on the other hand, the city suffers severe cold since most places are not equipped with heating systems. All in all, April and May are the best season for visiting. However, Hangzhou is still a tourist capital of China; many travelers pour into the city, their numbers peaking during holidays and weekends.

What to do

Hangzhou is a hub of communications on the southeast coast with all means of transportation like railway, roads, water and air transport and it has main and branch railway lines. The fastest train between Shanghai and Hangzhou only takes one and a half hours. The Hangzhou city has two river systems, namely, the Grand Canal and The Qiantang River, which were connected in 1986 and this links up the Qiangtang River, River Yong, Brook Tian, River Caoe and the Grand Canal and formed new water net whose center is Hangzhou. It is now the hub of roads in Zhejiang Province with the roads leading to Quzhou, Anhui, Ningbo, Shanghai, etc. The city has over 30 flight routes. As an important tourism city, Hangzhou itself has good public transportation as well. Public buses go virtually everywhere in the city proper and the fares are very cheap.


After daytime excursions to lakes and mountains in Hangzhou, visitors should go to the lakeside to enjoy the music fountain. The grand jets combined with neon lights make the water scenery totally different from that in the daytime. One of the best places for relaxation is a tea house, which is next to the beautiful Wu Mountain scenic spot lies the Chenghuang Teahouse. You can enjoy a good view of the mountain while sipping a cup of tea and tasting pastries. You should walk into the Blue Mountain Coffee House, the most classical coffee house of Hangzhou. Famous people there often assemble at this spot. Pubs and clubs will leave you deep impression as well.


Zhejiang cuisine is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of China. It is derived from the native cooking styles of the Zhejiang region in China. Food made in the Zhejiang style is not greasy, having instead a fresh and soft flavor with a mellow fragrance. The style of Hangzhou is characterized by rich variations and the utilization of bamboo shoots and there are several dishes that visitors won't miss, they are West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy, a famous dish with traditional flavor, which is cooked with live grass carp; Braised Dongpo Pork, there is a legend of Braised Dong Po Pork that was firstly made by the great litterateur Su Dongpo, who helped people in the flood on Xuzhou when he was the governor; Beggar's Chicken and Fried Shrimps with Long Jing Tea Leaves. They are all the representation of Hangzhou cuisine.

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