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Hangzhou Travel Guide

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  • Chinese Name: 杭州
  • Chinese Pinyin: háng zhōu
  • Location: East of China
  • Time Zone: (UTC+8)
  • Area Code: 0571
  • Population: 6.83 million

Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, is known as 'Heaven on Earth' with its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

It was described by Marco Polo as "the finest and most splendid city in the world", and listed in the "Top 52 places to go in 2016" by The New York Times. It is where the G20 Summit was hold this year.

Where Hangzhou Is

Hangzhou is located on the east coast of China and to the south of the Yangtze River Delta, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) away from Shanghai.

Hangzhou is well connected to Shanghai and Suzhou via bullet train. It can take about 1 hour to travel there from Shanghai, and 1½ hours to travel there from Suzhou.

The Features of Hangzhou

  • Hangzhou is one of the Seven Ancient Capital Cities, with a history of about 2,500 years. Take a cruise to explore the World Heritage Site, the Grand Canal.
  • Hangzhou boasts enchanting natural scenery. West Lake, the symbol of Hangzhou, is considered to be one of the most beautiful sights in China.
  • Hangzhou offers a variety of traditional cultures, such as tea, traditional Chinese medicine, and Chinese silk.
  • Hangzhou has a highly developed transportation network. It is almost the only city in China following 'pedestrian first' laws.
  • The 144-hour visa-free transit policy makes Hangzhou a more convenient destination.

The Highlights of Hangzhou

Hangzhou is a perfect combination of history and modernity, nature and culture. When you visit Hangzhou, don’t miss the following highlights:

west lake sunset West Lake sunset

West Lake — the Legend of Hangzhou

West Lake is a symbol of Hangzhou City. It is famous for its stunning scenery and various historical sites. It was selected as one of the "12 superb sunset spots around the world" by CNN.

West Lake is gorgeous all year round. The spring flowers, the summer lotuses, the autumn moon, and the winter snow all make it so charming.

Water Towns Near Hangzhou

Wuzhen and Nanxun are the two most popular water towns near Hangzhou.

Wuzhen is one of the top 6 water towns in China. Taking a gondola along the ancient canal should not be missed and the nighttime scenery in Wuzhen is impressive.

Wuzhen Water TownWuzhen Water Town

Nanxun is not as famous as Wuzhen. It is thanks to this that Nanxun is the most original and picturesque town, filled with a tranquil ambiance.

See The Top 8 Water Towns Near Shanghai.

Dragon Well Tea

Hangzhou’s unique Dragon Well Tea (Longjing Tea) plays an important role among the varieties of Chinese green tea. It is produced mostly by hand, and is honored as China's Famous Tea for its high quality.

Hangzhou Silk

Hangzhou is regarded as the cradle of Chinese silk culture and production. With a history of over 2,500 years, Hangzhou silk is renowned for its gentle texture, gorgeous colors, and wide varieties.

The Best Times to Visit Hangzhou

hangzhou tea garden A tea plantation in Hangzhou

The best times to visit Hangzhou are in spring (March–May) and fall (September–November). In spring, West Lake is quite beautiful with peach blossoms and weeping willow catkins. It is very hot in summer and cold in winter.

You’d better avoid weekends and Chinese public holidays, such as Labor Day (May 1 to 7) and National Day (October 1 to 7), when Hangzhou is always crowded with Chinese people.

Our Most Popular Hangzhou Tours

If you are planning a Hangzhou tour, please see our recommended tours below for inspiration:

Not interested in the above tours? Just tell us your interests and requirements, and we will tailor-make your Hangzhou tour.