Hangzhou, the city we call home, is located about 150 kilometers from Shanghai.
Hangzhou is a very diverse city which is well known for different things from giant e-commerce companies like Alibaba to the famous Longjing Tea – one of the most famous teas in the world.
It is said to be one of the best tourism cities in the world – with all these interesting sights and things to try out we would consider this title to be well deserved, at the same time we think that the huge variety of options might be a little overwhelming.
This is why we want to use this article to inform you about the most important sights in Hangzhou.
The Westlake is a fresh water lake located in the west of the downtown of Hangzhou with a very long history. As it shaped the Chinese culture for such a long time, it is a must see on a trip through China.
The easiest way to reach the Westlake is to use the Metro, from the station Longqiangxiao you can reach the lake by foot easily.
We recommend exploring the Westlake and the surrounding area by bike, so you can take a look at the lake itself and the other sights around here such as the Leifeng Pagoda or the 3 Causeways from different angles.
There are bike rentals everywhere around Hangzhou, more information about this here: A guide on how to get around.
Another option is to take a trip with a boat. This is more expensive than using the bikes but also enables you to see the “3 ponds mirroring the moon”, a sight on an island in the middle of the lake.
As mentioned before, Hangzhou is home to one of the world’s best green teas. The Longjing Green Tea is grown in the Longjing village which is located in the west of the Westlake and can be accessed easily.
We recommend to take a hike around the local tea plantations and to take a look at the traditional houses around the old village.
If you are interested, you might also want to see the National Tea Museum where you can find out more about the history of tea, its different sorts and the many different tea customs all around the world.
Many people around here will try to sell you some fresh green tea. If you are good at bargaining, you might land a good deal but generally we recommend to go to the tea market in downtown. More information about this below!
The Grand Canal is the both oldest and longest human build waterway, Hangzhou is the southern end of this canal that connects it with Beijing.
Unfortunately, not all parts of this canal are restored, many parts however are still in use and in fact: The last segment, which belongs to Hangzhou, is said to be the best one.
If you want to visit this sight, you should come to the Wulin Square, the most central station in Hangzhou. From the Wulin Gate you can walk along the Canal to see the different sights along the way.
Please make sure to bring enough time with you! As you can see you can take wonderful pictures in the evening, still you will want to see everything in daylight!
Temples of Hangzhou
The area around Westlake offers many temples, many of them are interesting destinations for a hike since they are in the middle of nature.
Despite the fact that all of them have a long history, most of these temples are actually just a rebuild of the original version which have been destroyed during the cultural revolution.
There is one exception thought: The Linyin Temple survived the cultural revolution and you can admire this original temple. It obviously also attracts many visitors so you might consider checking out the other ones for a less stressful visit.
The area around the Songcheng Lu is the last remaining area with traditional Chinese buildings inside downtown Hangzhou.
Most of the shops around here are living from tourism, which means that you can, next to a variety of food, find all different kinds of souvenirs such as Chopsticks, fans and many others.
Next to these old houses there’s something more to see: Hangzhou is home to one of the oldest Pharmacies around. Here, you can find out about traditional Chinese medicine yourself!
The Tea Market of Hangzhou is located quite central in the downtown in Jiefang Lu.
As mentioned before, this is my favorite place to buy tea, there are numerous little shops who not only sell many different kinds of tea, there are also tea sets and all kinds of tea related accessories available for a reasonable price.
There are many hotels to choose from in Hangzhou, from cheap to expensive. In our opinion though, it is best to stay around the previously mentioned Songcheng Lu. In the Middle Zhongshan Road you can find a huge variety of hotels – they are not only close to the old town but also the metro station Ding’an Road is nearby.
Hangzhou has a huge variety of Restaurants to choose from, you can find restaurants featuring almost any kind of food from Asia here. If you want to go for the typical Zhejiang cuisine though, you should keep in mind the 3 restaurants “Nong Tang Li”, Grandmas and Green Tea. These are the most famous restaurants serving Hangzhou cuisine and can actually be found in many parts of the city. The easiest accessible ones are probably the Nong Tang Li in the InTime mall at Longqiangxiao or the Grandmas in Jiefang Road at the Westlake.
Hangzhou is probably one of the best places to get to know the Chinese culture. On the one hand it is a vibrant metropolis with skyscrappers, metro system and night life, at the same time the sights of the city are easy accessible, close to nature and are of significant importance to Chinese culture.
In the focus of the city stand the famous Westlake and the Longjing green tea, but you can also visit many temples, museums or shows around the city. Visiting this city should be on your list if you want to get some first hand experience about Chinese Culture!
We hope that our guide was helpful and could give you some information about Hangzhou. If you have any questions or suggestions, we are happy to discuss in the comments! If you liked the article, make sure to share it!