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2-Day Hangzhou Highlights & Grand Canal Heritage Tour

Historical Grand Canal and Fabulous Hangzhou

The Jinghang (Beijing- Hangzhou) Grand Canal is the longest ancient canal in the world. As the start/end-point of the canal, Hangzhou plays an important part in Chinese canal history. In this tour you will have a chance to learn about local history along the canal, visit the Dragon Well tea plantation, and enjoy a relaxing cruise on West Lake.


  • Explore the historic Grand Canal by cruise and paint your own oiled-paper umbrella
  • Step into one of the best tea plantations in China and see how tea farmers pick tea leaves
  • Sample a local tea-snacks banquet, while enjoying a traditional stringed and woodwind instrumental performance
  • Take a boat on West Lake and experience the beauty of "heaven on earth"
  • Visit the most prosperous temple in Hangzhou – Lingyin Temple

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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1Hangzhou Arrival, Grand Canal History Experience

Meal: lunch

Accommodation in: Sofitel Westlake Hangzhou (5-star)/ Haihua Hotel Hangzhou (4-star)

Your private guide will be waiting for you at airport/train-station arrivals. Please make sure that your flight/train arrives in Hangzhou no later than 11:00 am.

Have lunch at a local restaurant, after which we will start to explore the history of the Grand Canal!

First we'll visit the China Knives, Scissors and Swords Museum. This is beside the Grand Canal, and helps gain a picture of China's ancient craftsmanship in the manufacture of knives, scissors and swords.

Paint your own oiled-paper umbrella at the Workmanship Demonstration Pavilion, where the oiled-paper craftsman will teach you. In the Pavilion you can observe other traditional craftspeople working on their creations; crafting teapots, or making fans, umbrellas, or even scissors.

Folk craftsman

Take the Junk Cruise on the Jinghang (Beijing- Hangzhou) Grand Canal. Imagine the scene on the canal banks in times past, and get a feeling for recent developments in the city. The cruise stops at Xiangji Temple – the first and last temple people see when entering or leaving Hangzhou by the Grand Canal. Pray to the Kitchen Goddess in the temple, and you will never again have to worry about going hungry.

Once a prosperous street, the Dadou Road Historic Block is now a great place to relax. Hunt for delicacies, step into the fray among swords and ceramics, appreciate artistic celadon (a greenish ceramic glaze originating in China), or sit sipping a cool cup of tea if you get tired.

After the Dadou Road Historic Block, we will take you back to your hotel.

Evening Ideas:

  • Impression West Lake — a night show on West Lake. This is a live performance outdoors, with lights, music, and dancing on a West Lake stage. It tells a beautiful love story in five acts: "First Encounters", "Falling in Love", "Saying Goodbye", "Fond Memories", and "Lasting Impressions". The show is performed from March to December. If you are interested, feel free to ask your guide to arrange tickets for you.
  • Music fountain show. This is a free show at Lakeside Third Park Dock, West Lake. The fountain is 126 meters long, and erupts into life twice a day and four times each early evening.
Jinghang Grand Canal
Day 2Hangzhou Highlights, Departure

Meal: breakfast & lunch

Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, we will start the day from the Meijiawu Tea Plantation – the place of origin of the best Dragon Well tea in China. Have a walk round the tea plantation, see how farmers pick tea leaves, and taste a cup of tea.

Take a bird's-eye view over Hangzhou and West Lake at the Chenghuang Pavilion, and enjoy the Southern Song Dynasty Snacks Banquet. The banquet includes a cup of healthy flower tea, West Lake lotus root starch, Hangzhou style cat's-ear noodles, wrapped fried bread sticks with shallots, and local moon cakes. During the banquet, enjoy a traditional stringed and woodwind instrumental performance and a tea ceremony.

Meijiawu Tea Plantation

In the afternoon, visit Lingyin Temple, one of the most important and wealthiest Buddhist temples in China, boasting plenty of pagodas and Buddhist grottoes. Then have a relaxing visit to West Lake, one of the major landmarks of Hangzhou. Stroll alongside the lake, and take a cruise to Fairy Island.

After the tour we will escort you to the train station/airport for your departure. Please make sure that your train/flight departs after 18:00.

Popular Ways to See West Lake:

  • Bike or walk. West Lake is considered one of the best biking routes in China. The most popular biking/walking avenues are Su Causeway and Bai Causeway. These two causeways allow you to see most of the lake's scenery. No motor vehicles are allowed, so they are quite safe for biking or walking. Biking in summer, however, is not recommended, because of the very hot weather and large crowds.
  • Cruise. Take a boat cruise to visit some of West Lake's islands. If you take a boat, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon is the must-see scene. Most docks have boats to this site. The delight of boating is to enjoy a leisurely time on the peaceful lake and to view the beautiful mountains, bridges, and pagodas from different vantage points on the water.
West LakeWest Lake

Trip Notes

West Lake Tourist Map

Map of West Lake

144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy

A short stay (up to 6 days) in Shanghai and surrounding cities is more convenient now, for there is no need for a visa! Since Jan. 30th 2016, citizens from 51 countries can transfer in China via any of the following ports of entry – Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Railway Station, Nanjing Lukou International Airport, or Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airportwithout Chinese visas, by producing their own valid international travel documents and onward air/ship/train tickets to a third country (region), with confirmed date and seat within 144 hours of arrival; and can stay within the administrative precincts of Shanghai municipality, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province for up to 144 hours.

What is the best time to visit Hangzhou?

You can visit Hangzhou at any time. Hangzhou in every season has different beautiful scenery Spring and autumn are more popular because of hot summer and chilly winter weather. Avoid Chinese national holidays like May 1st, or China National Day (Oct.1th-7th). The landmark West Lake is popular on weekends.

Extend to Hangzhou's neighbors

Destination Train Schedule Duration What to do
Shanghai 6:00-22:00
every 10 minutes
1h 10m Add Shanghai before or after the Hangzhou tour, and see the essence of Shanghai: Yuyuan Garden, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, and the Bund. Add Zhujiajiao Water Town.
Suzhou 8:00-20:00
23 trains per day
1h 40m Extend to Suzhou to see its typical Chinese gardens and ancient water towns. Enrich your itinerary with Suzhou's must-see highlights: Humble Administrator's Garden, The Garden of the Master of Nets. Ride a boat in water towns such as Tongli.
(Yellow Mountains)
1 train per day
3h 25m Take a cable car up to the Yellow Mountains' "Four Wonders": imaginatively-named pines, oddly-shaped rocks, seas of clouds, and hot springs. Don't miss staying on the mountains for a sunrise. Add Hongcun Village/Tunxi Ancient Street for some ancient Anhui architecture.
FromUSD 327p/p Based on a private tour for 2 people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people and chosen hotel

Price includes:

  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling

Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

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