As one of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China, Hangzhou is an important tourist destination for its history and culture.
Hangzhou is also a beautiful city with numerous "heavenly" attractions. As the saying goes, "Up above is paradise, down below are Suzhou and Hangzhou."
1. Wander in the West Lake Wonderland
West Lake is Hangzhou’s most famous attraction. No matter whether the weather is cloudy, rainy, snowy, or sunny, no matter whether early in the morning or late at night, West Lake always puts on a show of beauty.
Walk, bike, or boat around West Lake to relax in a massive showpiece demonstrating the style of China's classic gardens. The landscape of West Lake is so iconic thatit's printed on the one yuan note!
West Lake was selected by CNN as one of "12 superb sunset spots around the world". Walking around the lake is free, so amble round at leisure to appreciate the beautiful scenery.
The best places for photographing sunset views are Broken Bridge, Su Causeway, and Yanggong Causeway.
Read more on the beautiful scenery of West Lake;or get some inspiration about what to see from our 2-day Hangzhou Highlights Tour with West Lake.
2. Enjoy a Live Performance
There are three famous live shows in Hangzhou:
Impression West Lake: This top recommendation is an open-air night show right on the beautiful West Lake, with music, lights, and dance. It tells a beautiful story of two lovers. Enjoy a touching show and beautiful night views.
Romance of the Song Dynasty: This show is about Hangzhou’s history and culture, performed at Song Dynasty Town, a theme park in Hangzhou.
West Lake Night: This show is performed at Dongpo Theater, on the northwest side of West Lake. Locals say it is a sensational performance the likes of which they have never seen or heard before.
3. Visit the Quaint Water Towns
Wuzhen Water Town is now well-developed with many shops and bars, and much antique-furnished accommodation. The historic scenery is charming, with every background perfect for photography. The best seasons are spring and autumn, but do avoid traveling at noon in summer when it can be very hot.
Xitang Water Town is a mix of canals, bridges, ancient buildings, and narrow lanes. It is less famous and less commercial than the other water towns near Shanghai.Thanks to this, Nanxun is the most original and picturesque water town, filled with tranquil ambiance.
Travel with us to experience the unique charm of Nanxun Water Town.
4. Discover Old Hangzhou in Qinghefang Old Street
Qinghefang Old Street (清河坊) is a good place for experiencing the life of Old Hangzhou, because it is the epitome of historic Hangzhou. It is a place for shopping, eating, and sightseeing.
You can see well-preserved old buildings, explore interesting stores, and buy some souvenirs. In peak season, however, it’s likely to be very crowded. It’s just east of West Lake, about 10 minutes' walk.
5. Discover the New Face of Hangzhou Through Fresh Experiences
Nowadays, Hangzhou is an emerging city of technology. Sci-tech has improved the city and influences people’s daily lives. It would be a good idea to experience the changes that technology has brought to Hangzhou while you are there.
Try out a new shopping experience in a self-service supermarket to see for yourself how high-tech makes shopping more convenient. Experience online shopping and mobile payment to understand how mobile payment has become one of the main forms of payment in China.
Alibaba’s headquarters are located in Hangzhou. Maybe you have heard of Alibaba and have an interest in it? Your Hangzhou tour will be a great chance to learn about Alibaba’s story and how it is influencing the lives of Chinese people.
Travel with us! We can not only let you enjoy the beautiful scenery and learn about the history of Hangzhou, but also let you see the new face of the city.
6. Learn About Tea, Silk, and Chinese Medicine
Dragon Well Tea
Hangzhou is home to the renowned dragon well (longjing) tea, ranked first among China’s top 10 teas. Tea culture is an important part of Hangzhou.
Meijiawu Tea Village is a dragon well tea plantation nestled in the hills surrounding West Lake. It is one of the most important bases for tea production in China, a village from which you can visit tea plantations, pick tea-leaves, and learn the art of tea-making.
Hangzhou National Tea Museum on the west shore of West Lake is another good place to learn about Chinese tea culture. It vividly depicts the evolution of Chinese tea and tea culture.
Our 1-Day Dragon Well Tea Culture Tour will take you away from the crowded city and help you become familiar with the best tea in China.
Silk and Chinese Medicine
If you are interested in silk and traditional Chinese medicine, there are two important museums in Hangzhou you should not miss:
The Hangzhou National Silk Museum is the biggest silk museum in the world. It describes the history of silk and the Silk Road. You can learn there about how silk is made.
The Hangzhou Chinese Medicine Museum, east of West Lake on Qinghefang Street, is built like an ancient architectural complex. There you can not only see precious books on Chinese medicine, but also appreciate the ancient architecture. It’s the only national-level museum of Chinese medicine.
7. Explore Hangzhou's Buddhist Heritage
Hangzhou has a long history of Buddhist influence. Its three top Buddhist sites are described below.
Lingyin Temple is a large temple in a forest, with a history of about 1,800 years. One of the largest and most famous Buddhist temples in China, Lingyin houses a large collection of Buddhist treasures and relics which were significant in the development of Buddhism in the region.
Peak Flown in From Afar next to Lingyin Temple, reminded the Indian monk who named it of a hill back in India. It first became a site for Buddhist worship around 1,000 years ago. 470 Buddha images have been carved in its limestone face and caves.
Six Harmonies Pagoda has 13 stories, standing an impressive 60 meters (197 feet) tall, with beautiful paintings and patterns on the walls of each story. Standing beside Qiantang River, it was built to suppress the evil which was thought to cause the river’s tidal bore — the world’s largest tidal wave.
8. Relish Local Cuisine
Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province, home to one of China's Eight Regional Cuisines, characterized by its light flavor, enjoyable presentation, and delicate cooking methods.
Read more about Hangzhou food and its special dishes.
Tour Hangzhou with China Highlights
Our Hangzhou tours can be customized to suit your travel needs in regard to dates/times and what you want to do.
- 1-Day Dragon Well Tea Culture and West Lake Tour: You will step into a tea plantation and enjoy a relaxing cruise on West Lake.
- 2-Day Hangzhou Highlights and Grand Canal Heritage Tour: Visit a dragon-well tea plantation and explore the Grand Canal and West Lake by cruise.