Historical Grand Canal and Fabulous Hangzhou
2-Day Hangzhou Highlights & Grand Canal Heritage Tour
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
Amazing Hangzhou day tour with Derek
Spent an amazing and memorable day tour in Hangzhou, thanks to our tour guide, Derek, who is polite, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable particularly for the history of West Lake and Linyin temple.One day is not enough to explore most of the attractions in Hangzhou. We will come back again and definitely will choose ChinaHighlights and Derek to be our local guide!.more
Nov 2023, chong777
Impeccable and wonderful Hangzhou day trip.
Excellent and wonderful Hangzhou West lake view accompanied by the impeccable guide, Derek who described the lake tour meticulously and lively presentation of the history and the surrounding area. The Lingyin temple is also a must go destination. The majestic sculpture of the Buddha and it various forms and the story line behind this magnificent temple is well illustrated by our guide Derek. Very lively and educational. And finally the Dragon Well tea plantation is beautiful and scenic. Now we know the price of the tea leaves varies according to the months of the season and the “real” and “fake” Dragon Well West lake tea leaves. We will be looking forward to more places of interest in Hangzhou. Thank you Derek!more
Nov 2023, Jeffrey S
Wonderful tour in Hangzhou
We had a wonderful time in Hangzhou thanks to China Highlights and especially to our guide Derek! He has done a great job making us confortable! He is very professional and friendly and he taught us a lot of stories and traditions about China!! We highly recommend him for your future visit in Hangzhoumore
Aug 2023, Giulia F
Thank you to China Highlights for arranging amazing guide Derek and driver Mr Zhu. Derek was friendly, knowledgeable, Informative and professional. His explanations is each site we visited were fascinating and amusing - we particularly enjoyed the folclore tale of the White Snake. We had a wonderful experience!more
Jul 2023, Sasha
China Highlights Hangzhou
China Highlights arranged for my Hangzhou tour in Mid April 2023. I arrived by train from Shanghai. I faced the East traveling and these were my first visions of China. I was amazed at the agricultural lands and how everything was set up, I was actually moved to tears. Well done. I was picked up by Lulu, my guide and our driver. As I remember it, I think we just got right to the tour. Lulu had been told I needed some cough medicine and she brought some from her home for me. It had to be mixed with very hot water, so she handed it to me on schedule throughout the day. We drove through very congested Sunday traffic, gorgeous day, to the entry where we began walking around West Lake. This is where the statue is in the water of a White Snake turning into a woman... so the story begins there. We walked around, so many different garden sections, I could visit everyday and never get bored! We end up at the docking for the tour boats, get in ours. The operator on the speaker was a bit loud and my left ear was still pressurized from my long plane fight to Shanghai. It was hard for me to hear Lulu on the boat ride. A lot of history and facts along the walk, boat ride, and later destinations. Lulu knows her Hangzhou! A bit more walking and back on the road waiting for our driver. We then headed towards Lingyin Temple but Sunday traffic congestion had us stuck and not really moving. I got to see some people plucking green tea leaves off the road. Lulu asked if I minded because we were losing time, if we moved on to the next part. I said I was fine with that. I believe next we were driven as far up Wushan Mountain, which is not as high as it seems, and dropped off. We walked up a bit more. Really beautiful the trees and landscape. ChenghuangGe Pavillion is up there, which houses a big 3D rendering of old Hangzhou daily life, points of history, as well as Lulu telling me more. We walked up and took the elevator. Upper levels are for catering parties or events, we saw a wedding couple in Han Fu having pictures. Upper level pictures were obscured by the Sun, but visually very nice. It does give you the grand view of Hangzhou in all directions. We then headed across the courtyard to the Temple of the City God. This whole place seems like a study place for students or disciples with Masters. Not crowded, very much enjoyed the atmosphere. I have never been in a City God Temple, it was really neat, and I could take pictures. Always ask if you can take pictures! Then we walked down from the mountain and into the old time town of shops and merchants. It was really great to be there and see on my own with my Guide. I very much enjoyed the original and still functioning Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine Museum. The next day I had the day to myself. Lulu suggested I walk from the hotel to the part of West Lake that we had not been to. I did. It was a Monday and there were different groups of seniors dressed up in different areas and dancing to different kinds of music. I heard Chinese opera coming from somewhere along my walk and investigated where that was coming from. It was a very small group of Seniors doing kareoke in a small pavilion off the main path. I walked through them and clapped my hands. The "instructor" lady didn't look too happy with me, public park.... I recommend Lulu and China Highlights for Hangzhou.more
Jun 2023, Jeanne Christine
Hangzhou to Hengdian China Highlights
China Highlights provided me with a guide Gerry, from Hangzhou, to visit Hengdian World Studios for a day. He also picked me up at the Yiwu Train Station or I would have been totally lost! Via taxi we drove to Broadway Building Hotel. Having an English speaking guide with me was imperative as no one spoke English. The next morning breakfast buffet there was one of the nicest and extremely busy. My room was nice, they try to make it be a little old fashioned. The best thing was free entry to Dreamy Bund just around the corner from the entrance to the hotel. Met Gerry in the lobby, he got a taxi and we set off to another section of Hengdian. He suggested I go with the 3 park ticket, and because this year I turn 60, I got a very nice discount! The reason I was in China and at Hengdian in particular, was my birthday coming. Having Gerry for that day was indeed a gift. He suggested we begin with "Scenes Along The River During Qingming Festival". I was so lucky that it was not busy at all there, it was practically a private visit. I was delighted! So this is based on a huge painting portraying so many things going on during the Festival. So there are replicas built on the ground reflecting the scenes. My favorites were Gerry telling me the story at the front of a restaurant where human bones were hanging, and making our way somehow to where they were working on the sets, which really made my visit click. Gerry asked the man who was there what was happening and he said it was getting ready for "Strange Tales of The Tang Dynasty 2". One of my favorite C Dramas, and Gerry said he had enjoyed that series as well. Very nice park with lots of different areas. Next was Emperor Qin's Palace and last was Ming and Qing Dynasties, which I believe is a replica of The Forbidden City though not as detailed. It was really great to be at these places since I have been binge watching C Drama since February 2022. To really be there was my wish come true. As the icing on my Birthday, I did get my wish of dressing as the Empress and sitting on the throne in the last building before exiting for the day! So thanks Gerry, and thanks very much to China Highlights for making it happen.more
May 2023, JeanneC
Hangzhou Family Trip
Our guide Leaf met us at the train station as we arrived from Beijing and lead us on a very well paced exploration of important spots of West Lake as well as a few other historical places in the area.We also took a detour to Anji city and enjoyed seeing the natural wonders of the area including hearing about the history of the Green Tea in the area and had an amazing lunch at a local restaurant. Best Sweet and Sour Pork and Ribs we have had in China.more
Jul 2021, allanmM3355IK
2 night stay at Hangzhou
I took the train from Suzhou to Hangzhou and our private guide Gerry picked us up at the train station. During our stay, we visited the Six Harmonies Pagoda, Meijiawu Tea Plantation and the West Lake. We also spent time walking the streets enjoying tasty street foods such as beggar's chicken, bbq squid and crab dumplings with soup! Gerry was a very knowledgeable guide. He clearly explained the importance of the historical sites, and I was impressed with his command of English language. Gerry also answered all my curious questions. In the evenings, we had dinner at Grandma Homes restaurant which serves local specialties at extremely reasonable prices. The vinegar fish and special pork served with bread are two local favorites. --Gary-at-SF, U.Smore
Nov 2019, Gary-at-SF
Unexpected pleasure and an excellent guide Gerry
Unexpected pleasure and an excellent guide Gerry.When I was researching our trip to China one of the guidebooks I rely on highlighted West Lake, Hangzhou. It isn’t featured on most packaged itineraries, but when I noticed it’s proximity to Shanghai (less than an hour by train), I asked China Highlights to add a couple of days there mostly so we could relax after more than a week of active sightseeing. We left surprised West Lake doesn’t make it on more itineraries as it was an oasis of paradise. The lake itself is beautiful. Very peaceful with bike routes and walking/running paths. Lots of trees and romantic bridges. Just a delightful place to relax and reconnect with nature. If you lived in Shanghai this would be were you would have a weekend getaway place. It can be crowded as many Chinese tourists do visit there. Our guide a Gerry was excellent. Had near perfect English and was flexible with our needs. He realized that due to the crowds that the planned schedule’s order should be reversed. As we had planned to rest at West Lake as that is the primary attraction, he adjusted the schedule (cut out a meal and reduced time at one of the attractions) so my daughter could have more free time to recover. He also organized tickets to the water and light show (which for a culture experience was excellent and one of the best we have seen) and he made sure we knew where to go. Like all of the China highlights guides we had, he worked from early in the morning to late at night with a positive attitude and friendly spirit. We highly recommend Gerry for your visit to Hangzhou and China Highlights for their tour services. --New York, U.S.more
Oct 2019, NEWYORK
Hangzhou for pleasure and business
Hangzhou for pleasure and business 。We four people visited Hangzhou,led by guide Gerry. He was so helpful to buy a bunch flowers for my business partners. He brought us to beautiful scenes of west lake. At our request He also led us to the motor company for my business. Everything was perfect in Hanzhou our trip. --Ervin, U.S.more
Oct 2019, Ervin
Hangzhou for pleasure and business
We four people visited Hangzhou, led by guide Gerry. He was so helpful to buy a bunch flowers for my business partner. He brought us to beautiful scenes of west lake. At our request he also led us to the motor company for my business. Everything was perfect in Hangzhou our trip. --goatervin1988,Vienna, Austriamore
Aug 2019, goatervin1988
Unexpected Pleasure and an Excellent Guide Gerry
Our guide a Gerry was excellent. Had near perfect English and was flexible with our needs. He realized that due to the crowds that the planned schedule’s order should be reversed. As we had planned to rest at West Lake as that is the primary attraction, he adjusted the schedule (cut out a meal and reduced time at one of the attractions) so my daughter could have more free time to recover. --913WorldTraveler,White Plains, New Yorkmore
Aug 2019, 913WorldTraveler
Tea experience and much more
Gerry was an excellent guide - very informative, knowledgeable, and fun to hang out with. He is flexible as well; my husband was feeling “under the weather “, and Gerry switched our itinerary to accommodate him. All this, as well as a boat ride on West Lake (with the 3 pagodas on the 1 yuan note) and lunch. We ate our best dish of all China there (that Gerry found the recipe for and sent to us)! It was a Chinese eggplant dish (picture attached). --Sharon T,Grand Rapids, Michiganmore
Jul 2019, Sharon T,Grand Rapids
Outstanding visit in Hangzhou with Leaf, our tour guide!
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Hangzhou with our wonderful guide, Leaf. Leaf went out of her way to make our stay extra special, including teaching Mandarin phrases to our daughters and finding just the right spots for photos. When my mother in law hurt her leg, Leaf traveled to the drugstore by bicycle at night and in the rain to get bandages, ointment, etc. Hangzhou was beautiful - we enjoyed walking around the lake and the boat ride. The evening show on the lake was spectacular! --julielbmccoy,Bostonmore
Jul 2019, julielbmccoy
Great tour of Westlake with Fiona
It was a very hot, tiring day but Fiona allowed us to take our time to see the sights. As we decided to finish up a bit early we were very surprised that she offered to help us rearrange our train back to Shanghai so that we could try and get back to our hotel a bit earlier. We learned a lot about the area and found it very interesting learning about Hangzhou's famous green tea amongst other things. Overall a very worthwhile experience. Well done China Highlights and Fiona. --Kathryn，Gundagai, Australiamore
Jun 2019, Kathryn
Recommendable if you are just for a short time in HZ
I went to Hangzhou last year with my mom and we were there just for a couple of days, so we decided to do a guided tour.Gerry was our guide, he was informative and friendly. To every place he took us, he was explaining the history. Also, my phone broke that day and he helped me to go to the store and arrange the reparation. He was very helpful because no one in the shop could speak English. --Miriammore
Jun 2019, Miriam
Great one-day tour of Hangzhou with Gerry -- I enjoyed his knowledge of the city's history and culture and his enthusiasm while conducting the tour. He kept the itinerary flexible in order to adapt the tour to my interests. The visit to West Lake was very interesting, and the highlight for me was the chance to see Meijiawu, one of the villages renowned for growing and producing longjing tea. The beautiful landscape consists of terraced tea plants stretching high up the hillsides. After a demonstration from Nana, the tea plantation owner, of the proper technique for picking and drying the tea leaves, we had the chance to sample the longjing tea and learn more about its history. Overall this one-day tour was a great introduction to the sites of Hangzhou. --Michael Tmore
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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 Lake Tourist Map
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 Airport – without 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|
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.|
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.|
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.|