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
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
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.|
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