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.
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.