• Published by Ozgur Tore

5849.jpgI have visited Hangzhou as a post-tour of IT&CM China, organized by Hangzhou Tourism Commission.

Hangzhou is a must-see Chinese city located just 180 km southwest of Shanghai. You can drive to Hangzhou from Shanghai or just take a bus which takes around 3 hours of drive.

­In February 2007, Hangzhou was entitled "China Best Tourist City" by CNTA (China National Tourism Administration) and WTO (World Tourism Organization) of UN. In December 2008, Hangzhou was elected as the China Happiest City again. Because Hangzhou made good performance for five years in this election Hangzhou got the gold medal. There are many reasons to visit Hangzhou, where is a paradise of tourism, leisure and living and the best destination for your travel in the country.


Hangzhou is located at the Southeasten coaste of China, at the south end of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, and is the central city in the south wing of Yangtze River Delta. ­The hilly area of Hangzhou City is the end of Tianmu Mountain Chain.

The highest point at West Lake Scenic Area is Tianzhu mountain which is 413M above the sea level. ‑ e major rivers are EW-oriented Qiantang River, Fuchun River and Xinan River, as well as SN-oriented Beijing-Hangzhou Great Canal and Tiaoxi River. Three water systems are independent but mutually connected.


Hangzhou is one of the eight antient capitals in Chinese history, and the first group of National Famous Historical and Cultural City. Its culture can be dated back to 8,000 years ago, which began with the Kuahuqiao Culture of Xiaoshan in the Neolithic Age. It was originally named "Yu City" and has had such other names as Yuhang, Qiantang, Lin'an, etc. In 222B.C. (the 25th year of Qingwangzheng), Hangzhou was located at Qiantang county, having had more than 2,200 years city history so far. In the period of Five Dynasties and Ten kindoms, Wuyue founded Hangzhou as the capital in A.D. 893 for 86 years. In the third year of Southern Song Jianyan (A.D. 1129), Song Imperial Households migrated to the south and settled in Hangzhou, and then changed "Hangzhou" to "Linan Ocial Residence". In the 8th year of Shaoxing (1138), the Southern Song Dynasty had its capital formally founded in Lian'an and began to exist for 152 years.

"Hangzhou City" was formally founded in 1927. Hangzhou people's government was established in1949. Hangzhou now is the capital city of Zhejiang Province.

Hangzhou is an ancient capital of China and a city of love!

The eight-thousand-year Kuahuqiao Site and the five-thousand-year Liangzhu Site bear the history and tell the immemorial lingering charm of Hangzhou. Hangzhou's culture of ancient capital is enriched by stained Genshan Gate, Yongjin Gate, the Royal Palace site of Southern Song Dynasty and the Eight Trigrams Field of Southern Song Dynasty.

Mucai (means admiring talent people) Kiosk near the Xiling Bridge is the romatic place with thousands of years of love. West Lake Broken Birdge is the place for the thousands of years of meeting again (the story of White Snake). Liangzhu Site is the place having an aecting love story of the Butterfly  Lovers. ‑ ose three spots make the historical thread for Hangzhou to be a city of love.

Hangzhou is a city of Tea and Silk

The tea culture in Hangzhou is profound, and West Lake Longjing Green Tea tops the Ten Renowned Teas in China. Hangzhou deserves the title of "the tea capital of China" for its excellence in tea products, tea farmers, tea planting areas, tea culture, tea education, tea technology, tea economy and tea tour.

Due to the local products such as Dujinsheng brocade, West Lake umbrella and Hangzhou embroidery, Hangzhou has always enjoyed the reputation of being the "City of Silk". The culture of silk  has been over 5000 years so far. The combination of Hangzhou silk and Hangzhou women's garments prefectly shows another deep connotation of the silk culture of Hangzhou.

Water means much for Hangzhou

Water is the soul of Hangzhou's beautiful sceneries, and is also the major element that reflecting the characteristics of Hangzhou sceneries.

West Lake Scenic Area

The West Lake came from a shallow bay in ancient times where Qiantang River ran into the sea. It was formerly named as Wulin Waters, Golden Buffalo Lake, Qiantang Lake and Xizi Lake. As it lies in the west of Hangzhou, it was later named the West Lake.

Centered on the West Lake, the West Lake Scenic Area is a national scenic area with a total area of 60.04 square KM. There are over 60 cultural relic sites of state, provincial and municipal levels and over 100 attractions.

You can rent a bicycle and tour the West Lake. Hangzhou has 350 points for public bicycle lease and has 10,000 bicycles. The lease time is from 6:30 to 20:30. The deposit is 300yuan, 200 for deposit and 100 for prepayment. You need ID card or valid documents to rent a bicycle. It is free for the fi rst one hour and charges some fee for the exceeded time. Most of the points have self-service equipments.

An alternative to the bicycle ride is the Round-the-Lake Sightseeing Golf Cart. It is very fast, convenient and easy to travel around the West Lake on the cart. Anywhere around the lake, at a wave of your hands, you can get on. Chartered Cart: RMB 520 Yuan per 1.5 Hr, and RMB 260 per an Hr, if overtime.

Like most major world cities, Hangzhou has a large number of taxis which allow for quick and convenient travel within the city proper. Most of the city's taxis are turquoise-green in color and easily identifiable by the word "Taxi" printed in both English and Chinese on the vehicles. Taxis for hire are marked by the green (or sometimes yellow-orange) light-up signs above the dashboard on each car.

Broken Bridge

The Broken Bridge, which is located at the east end of Bai Causeway, is the place where Lady Snakewhite and Scholor Xu Xian met each other and went through so many hardships according to the Chinese folk story "the Legend of Lady Snakewhite".

Attractions to see at Hangzhou

The first attraction, we visited was the evening attraction of the musical and dance performance of "The Romance of the Song Dynasty". The show takes you back thousands years ago to know the culture and history of the city. The show starts with 50 person chorus line dancing and doing acrobatics and continues with a scene showing the birthday celebration of the Emperor in old times. The technology used at the show center where front seats split, light and water performances at the stage adds more excitement for the audience.

The second attraction is "Impressions of West Lake", an open-air spectacle of light, music, dance and theatrics shown on the Yue Lake of the West Lake (just in front of Yue Fei Temple). The story is a very creative interpretation of the Hangzhou legend "White Snake". Using the lake and its surroundings as a stage, hundreds of actors performing on the lake and a spectacular light show all around the lake and technology and engineering used on the lake stage will help you to have a great night. The mystical music of Kitaro will relax you while watching this breathtaking show.

The Hangzhou Oriental Culture Park is also a must see place. It is referred as the most rewarded tourist attraction in Hangzhou. It is located in the convergent point of Qiantang River, Pu Yang River and Fu Chun River. Overwhelmed in Taoist architecture, Oriental Culture Park has been a splendid fusion of Confucianism and Buddhism with the enchanting scenery of the lake, the Eight Trigrams and other beautiful landscapes in Hangzhou travel. Oriental Culture Park presents a 2,728-meter long corridor and the scenic enclosures, such as Taoist Section, Confucius Section, Buddhist Section, Millennium Square, Big Grassland, Oriental Resort, World Precious Orchard and Shan Rui Place of Interest.

Visit Lingyin Temple (No.1 Buddhist Monastery in Southeast China)

Lingyin Temple was first built in the 1st year of Xianhe of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (326). The gold-gilded Sakyamuni in the Hall of Mahavira, which is the main hall, is 24.8m high (including the seat). It is the largest woodcarving of sitting Buddha in China. In the center of Arhat Hall is the highest copper hall in the world with a height of 12.62 meters. On the cliff of the Peak Flying From Afar, there are over 340 fine and characteristic Buddhist statues in grottos from the Five Dynasties to the dynasties of Song and Yuan.

Located in the west of Hangzhou and 5 km away from the West Lake, Xixi Wetland is a farmland wetland in the urban area which is rare in China even in the world. Xixi Wetland is a network of rivers. Together with the West Lake (or Xihu in Chinese) and Xiling, Xixi wetland is called Three XIs of Hangzhou. As an oasis in the urban area, Xixi wetland is honored as the first national wetland park in China, China wetland museum and national base of environment protection and popular science.

Where to stay in Hangzhou?

There are numerous local and international chain hotels in the city. Room rates are well below the average of U.S. and European hotel prices.

Friendship Hotel Hangzhou is a four star hotel owned by Hangzhou Binjiang Real Estate. However, while you are staying at the hotel, you feel that hotel deserves more than 4-star. It is located in the Pinghai Road-the Central Business District of the city-just a stepaway from West Lake. The main building of the hotel is over 70 meters with about 233 rooms in which you can enjoy the panoramic view of West Lake. You will enjoy delicious Western and Southeast Asian cuisine with panoramic lake views at the Revolving Restaurant on the 20th floor. 

The First World Hotel is another hotel that you may stay while you are in Hangzhou. The First World Hotel (Hangzhou Diyi Shijie Dajiudian) is located in the 2006 Hangzhou World Leisure Expo Garden. As the first rain forest theme hotel in the Yangtze Delta, the hotel boasts a rainforest courtyard and great views of Hangzhou Amusement Park, Xiang Lake and Nisi Lake. Guestrooms are quite a bit larger than most standard hotel guestrooms. There are 3 large-sized conference halls, with capacity of 1000 people, plus a theatre which holds up to 3000 people. In addition, there are 21 meeting rooms with a total capacity of 6000 and the rainforest courtyard can also hold 1000 people.