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Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and is an economic, political and cultural hub which is popular with travelers. Famed for its stunning landscapes, perhaps the best of which is the beautiful West Lake, Hangzhou also has many important historical sites and is one of the more laid back cities in China.

Tours and activities in Hangzhou

Hangzhou has a stunning array of natural, historical and modern attractions, so consider taking one of the many well-organized tours through the city and its surroundings. Guided tours can be arranged for hiking in the mountains, with both easy and challenging routes available, or for touring the city by bike, on foot or by car.

Local guides can also help you book tickets for special events and shows, including the fireworks extravaganza in October, and for visits to temples, tea gardens and more. See our selection of handpicked tours below, or talk to us for more information.

Best time to visit

Hangzhou has a warm and mild climate with two rainy seasons. Plum Rain Season runs from late June to early July and through August and September, there is heavy rain and a chance of typhoons. The best time to visit is between March and May or September to November when the weather is at its mildest.

Top Attractions in Hangzhou

You will surely fell in love with the city and forget the rest of the world for the time you are here. The city offers tons of facilities, fun spots, architecture amazes, food wows, etc.

West Lake (Xi Hu)
1. West Lake (Xi Hu)
Landmarks and icons

One of the most important sites to visit in Hangzhou is the West Lake (Xi Hu). This stunning, romantic lake is surrounded by three mountains with both natural and man-made islands throughout its watery landscape. There are also many important historical sites on its shores, including the Leifeng Pagoda, Solidarity Hill, and the Boachu Pagoda.

China National Tea Museum
2. China National Tea Museum
Museums, galleries and exhibitions

If you’re visiting Hangzhou, you must see the China National Tea Museum. This paean to China’s famous tea culture was opened in 1991 and is the only museum of its kind in the country.

Bordered by fields of tea plants on all sides, the museum has no external walls, which highlights the sense of interrelationship between the halls and the plants that grow around it. Four halls take you through the history of tea production in China, with the Tea Customs Hall being the most essential for visitors.


Tiantai Mountain Scenic Area
3. Tiantai Mountain Scenic Area
Nature, parks and outdoors

For the nature-loving visitor to Hangzhou, the Tiantai Mountain Scenic Area is an essential stop-off. This beautiful landscape is known as being the home of the Tiantai Sect of Chinese Buddhism and has many wonderful natural and historical features.


Guoqing Temple
4. Guoqing Temple
Nature, parks and outdoors

For an unforgettable historical experience, the Guoqing Temple at the foot of the mountain should be high on your list. Built according to the last wishes of ‘Wisdom’, an eminent monk of the Sui Dynasty, the Temple is a grand architectural feat that is comprised of over 600 rooms and 14 halls. You won’t see a better-preserved temple of this size in the whole of China.


Longjing Tea Fields
5. Longjing Tea Fields
Nature, parks and outdoors

During the harvest season, which runs from early March to after the May holiday, you can enjoy a visit to the Longjing Tea Fields, where you can watch everyone picking tea and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed leaves for yourself. Nearby you’ll also find the Xixi National Wetlands Park, a perfect spot for birdwatching, and Guo’s Villa, the most impressive traditional private garden in Hangzhou.


Hangzhou Zoo
6. Hangzhou Zoo
Things to do with kids

Hangzhou Zoo is an ideal place to visit with the family; a forest-style animal kingdom with over 2000 species of rare animals, including the famous Giant Panda. The panda house currently houses two giant pandas and eight smaller cousins. This is an ideal venue to see the formidable but gentle giants in as close to their natural habitat as possible.


Silk City
7. Silk City
Leisure and shopping

Shopping in the city was once limited to local products and crafts, but in recent years has grown to include modern plazas and supermarkets. One of the most famous products of Hangzhou is its wonderful silks, and Silk City is a wholesale and retail market with over 600 stores.


Qinghefang Street
8. Qinghefang Street
Leisure and shopping

Qinghefang Street preserves ancient buildings and a stroll down here will lead you to many local craft sellers including silks, brocades and fans. Conversely, Yanan Road is a bustling, 3km long road which has rapidly become the new commercial centre of the city. Here you’ll find theatres, hotels, restaurants and plenty of opportunities for shopping.


Golden Autumn International Tourist Festival
9. Golden Autumn International Tourist Festival
Regular festivals and celebrations

Hangzhou has a wealth of annual festivals to choose from. The month-long Golden Autumn International Tourist Festival starts in September and is one of the biggest events in the city. Showcasing the city’s historical and boating culture, there are temple fairs, firework shows and folk performances.


West Lake International Fireworks Show
10. West Lake International Fireworks Show
Regular festivals and celebrations

In mid-October, the West Lake International Fireworks Show commands an audience of thousands and is a breath-taking display of China’s formidable fireworks culture. The entire skyline is lit up as new products from fireworks manufacturers across the globe are displayed for the first time.


Getting here and getting around

Xiaoshan International Airport lies roughly 27km from the downtown area of the city, serving Hangzhou and other nearby cities. International and domestic flights arrive here daily from other parts of China such as Shaoxing, Huzhou, and Jiaxing. International operators offer connections to a variety of destinations including Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Bangkok, and Tokyo.

The city has three railway stations; East Railway Station is one of the biggest high-speed train stations in east China, allowing travel to cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, and Guangzhou.

Travel within the city itself is easy, with plenty of modes of transport to choose from. City buses are the most popular mode of public transport and are cheap, with prices between ¥1-4. If you purchase a Transportation Smart Card, you can enjoy a 50% discount off standard fares.

Hangzhou’s first subway line opened in 2012 with more to follow by 2020. Four lines are currently operational, with prices between ¥2-8. There are also over 10,000 taxis operating across the city. Tourists are advised to negotiate a flat rate if flagging down taxis near popular attractions, but the flag-down rate for other taxis starts at ¥11.

For transportation with a difference, you can take the ‘water bus’, a regular ferry which travels down the Grand Canal, providing access to the Culture Square, historical Xiaohe Street, and Gongchen Bridge. To get to the islands on West Lake, choose from Dragon boats, pleasure boats, and power boat taxis.

Eating and drinking

Like many cities in China, Hangzhou dining is an eclectic mix from all parts of the country, however, there are some notable local dishes that are well worth trying out. The West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy and Beggar’s Chicken are worth trying if you want to sample local food.

The city has a number of snack streets where you can sample a variety of teas and traditional snacks. He Fang Jie near Wu Shan Square is probably the most famous. The best restaurants for sampling Hangzhou cuisine are Lou Wai Lou (Tower Beyond Tower), which opened in 1848, and Zhi Wei Guan which has branches across the city.

The former is a fantastic experience where you can taste local delicacies surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of West Lake, or go for the boat restaurant which floats on the lake itself. The latter is a large, modern restaurant where you can try authentic dishes and snakes like crab steamed buns and wontons.

The drink of choice in Hangzhou is green tea, with the Longjing tea fields providing some of the best quality tea in all of China. If you’re looking for something a bit stronger, the options down Nanshan Road will keep you in bars and nightclubs all night, every night.

Getting a good night's sleep

There’s no shortage of accommodation in Hangzhou, whatever your budget. For luxury, the Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale offers large, comfortable rooms and many extras including a fitness center, pool, and sauna. Private balconies offer fantastic views of West Lake and the hotel is close to many must-see tourist spots.

Huachen International Hotel is a great mid-range hotel located only 10 minutes from West Lake. Rooms have lots of natural like and there is a fantastic Western-style hotel and buffet with great views of the lake.

If you’re traveling on a budget, you’ll be glad to know that Hangzhou is serviced by many hostels. The Lanshui International Youth Hostel is only 2 minutes’ walk from Xueshi Park and has fantastic historical architecture. There is also a delightful garden that guests can relax in and you can choose from private rooms or dormitory style accommodation.