Places of Interest
The capital of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou is one of the most beautiful cities in China, known for both its natural beauty and historic relics. Throughout the centuries, Hangzhou has retained its historical and cultural heritage. It is the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, the longest canal in the world, which begins in Beijing, passes through Tianjin, and links the Yellow and Yangtze rivers.
West Lake (A UNESCO World Heritage Site)
The natural beauty and various historic relics found among the temples, pagodas, gardens, and even artificial islands of West Lake have inspired poets and painters throughout China’s history. In addition, the freshwater lake’s “idealized fusion between humans and nature” has influenced garden design not only in the rest of China but in Japan and Korea as well.
The name “West Lake” was first recorded in the poems of Bai Juyi—renowned poet and official of the Tang Dynasty—who wrote, “Bestowed on guests as returning from West Lake in the evening and looking back to Gushan.”
West Lake features numerous attractions, points of interest such as Flower Pond, Gu Shan, Broken Bridge, Lingyin Temple, and Wansong Temple, which can be explored by bicycle, by boat, and on foot.
Grand Canal (A UNESCO World Heritage Site)
At 1,776 km, the Grand Canal is the longest canal in the world. While it stretches all the way from Beijing, the Hangzhou section of the Grand Canal is particularly alive with history and culture. Visitors are invited to spend 24 hours along the Grand Canal, beginning at sunrise with a stroll along the canal to Xiangji Temple and concluding with dinner featuring the delicious street cuisine available at various restaurants along Da Dou Road Food Street and Sheng Li He Food Street.
Xixi National Wetland Park
Xixi National Wetland Park has inspired artists and writers for over 1,800 years. A nature preserve comprising six rivers including branching streams and fishponds, Xixi is an ideal place for relaxing amid the beauty of nature.
The original site of Chinese South Opera, the park comes alive with Wushu performances, lion and dragon dances, and, in June, the annual Dragon Boat Festival.
Hangzhou has a tea culture that traces its roots all the way back to before the Tang Dynasty in 618 CE. The city’s West Lake Longjing Tea is one of the 10 most famous teas in China, with a unique method of leaf roasting that is protected by the Chinese government. Legend has it that Qianlong, a famous Qing Dynasty emperor, gave the tea to his ailing mother. After drinking the tea, the emperor’s mother made a miraculous recovery.
Longjing tea has a cooling, relaxing effect, and is best enjoyed during the warmer months of the year.
Visitors can explore the history and culture of Chinese tea at the China National Tea Museum located in the secluded and lush Longjing Village.
As a result of Hangzhou’s hilly terrain, Longjing Village is just one of nine tea villages, each with its own identity in terms of tea production and culture: Mei Jia Wu Village, Shuang Feng Village, Fan Vilalge, Yang Mei Ling Village, Manjelong Village, Lingyin Community, and Maojiabu Mountain.
Hangzhou has been producing silk for over 4,700 years. Coveted throughout China’s history, Hangzhou-made silk was once reserved only for the imperial family. During the Southern Song Dynasty, the capital earned the title “The Home of Silk”.
Visitors can learn about the history of silk production at the China National Silk Museum, which also features various styles of silk clothing and silk embroidery. In addition, the Du Jin Sheng Silk Tapestry Museum and Wan Shi Li Silk Culture Museum are sure to satisfy the curiosity of the silk enthusiast. Visitors can then find any silk product they may desire at any price range in the China Silk City, a silk marketplace over 1 km long.
Hangzhou was selected by the China Hotel Association as “China’s Capital of Food” in 2011. Traditional Hangzhou dishes include Longjin Tea Shrimp, West Lake Sour Fish, Song Sister’s Sweet and Sour Fish Soup, Beggar’s Chicken, Dongpo Pork, and West Lake Water Lily Soup. Locals also enjoy fried scallion crepe sticks, steamed buns—Hangzhou’s Xiao Long Bao—“Cat’s Ears”, Pian Er Chuan noodles, Double Happiness Cookies, and Victory Cakes.