Hangzhou Travel Guide

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and lies at its political, economic and cultural core. It is famed for its natural beauty and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China.

It boasts a rich and detailed history which dates back thousands of years and there are still some sights which have been preserved in the city and surrounding areas which date back over thousands of years. Unfortunately, much of the ancient city was destroyed during the Taiping Rebellion in the mid-19th century, meaning that virtually the entire city had to be rebuilt.

Today, Hangzhou is a modern, cosmopolitan and extremely vibrant metropolis which is developing every year. Its scenic location and natural beauty has attracted visitors for many centuries, with Marco Polo being inspired to write about it in the 13th century. It has also been the inspiration for many famous Chinese poets and artists because of the unchallenged splendor.

The West Lake is without doubt the highlight of a trip to Hangzhou. It is found in the middle of the city and is surrounded by an abundance of historically and culturally important sites such as Solitary Hill, the Mausoleum of General Yue Fei, the Six Harmonies Pagoda and the Ling Yin Temple.

For those interested in the history of the city, Chinese culture and Asian art, there are a number of fascinating museums to visit. Some of the best examples include the National Silk Museum, the Tea Museum, the Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine the Southern Song Imperial Kiln Museum and the Zhejiang Provincial Museum.

If you have had enough of sightseeing and want to turn your hand to something else, shopping opportunities abound in Hangzhou. The first place to head should be Qing He Fang Street. This is one of the oldest streets in the city and many of the shops are housed in buildings which date back to the Sothern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279).

There are many local products to choose from which make perfect souvenirs. These include: silks, tea, parasols, fans and tapestries. Other items of interest include antiques, handicrafts and a wide selection of clothing and accessories.

As you travel around the city, you will find that a big attraction is the local cuisine. There are a number of local restaurants serving up delicacies from across China and you should be sure to sample a few dishes. Local Hangzhou dishes are noted for their complex preparation, which produces some delicious dishes.

After trying the local delights, you may want to sample the nightlife. The city is home to a number of options which are sure to suit every taste. There are tea houses which are open late, pubs and bars, nightclubs and Chinese opera.

Getting There & Away

Hangzhou International Airport is found about 27kms from downtown Hangzhou. It only serves a small handful of international destinations (Japan, Singapore and South Korea) and is therefore really a domestic airport. It has daily flights arriving from Beijing (2 hours) and Guangzhou (1 hour, 55 minutes). Another alternative is to fly into Shanghai’s international airport and take a train, which will take approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes.

Things to Do

Hangzhou Attractions

Ling Yin Temple

Located in the west lake area, this temple is regarded as being one of the 10 most famous buddhist temples in china. it dates back to the eastern jin dynasty (317 to 420 ad) and boasts a number of highly important and sacred religious items.

West Lake

A beautiful lake found in the heart of the city and surrounded by stunning nature and a wealth of historic sites.

Six Harmonies Pagoda

Located on yuelun hill, the original pagoda was built in the 4th and 5th centuries ad as a navigational aid. it was unfortunately destroyed during a battle in 1121 and was reconstructed in the 14th century. it has been maintained ever since.

Solitary Hill

A beautiful hill in the city which is home to a number of legends and historic relics. it should be visited by anyone interested in the history of the city.

Hangzhou Botanical Garden

Located just north of west lake, these gardens are home to beautiful tropical plants and flowers and a must-see for anyone with green fingers.

National Tea Museum

This fascinating museum details the history of tea in china with a number of displays and exhibits.

Side trips from Hangzhou


This bustling city can be reached in less than three hours, making it a good choice for a daytrip. there are many sights and attractions to enjoy.

Nearby towns and villages

Lie just a short drive away and boast ancient temples and lovely sights. the most popular include

anji, ningbo, xitang, wuzhen.


West Lake International Fireworks Show

Held every october, this enormous fireworks display is held at west lake and boasts some of the best firework inventions from across the world.

West Lake Fair

Starting in october and running through until november, this annual fair has been enjoyed since 1929 and celebrates the cultural delights of the city.