Located just to the southwest of bustling Shanghai, the charming and scenic city of Hangzhou is famed for its breathtaking natural beauty, as well as its intriguing historical and cultural heritage. While not matching the hustle and bustle of its metropolis neighbor, Hangzhou is still a city home to a population of 8.7 million, with its present-day modern center balancing perfectly with the surrounding scenes of nature and serenity.

The main attraction of Hangzhou is undoubtedly West Lake. Immortalized by countless poets and artists, the West Lake Cultural Landscape is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its natural beauty, charming bridges, attractive causeways, and encircling temples and pagodas ensuring its particularly evocative location. There are many other awe-inspiring natural sites to visit during a stay in Hangzhou, including Hangzhou Botanical Gardens, Nine Creeks in Misty Forest and the green expanse of Dragon Well Tea Plantation.

There are some truly sublime temples to discover in Hangzhou, including Lingyin Temple. Originally opened in 326 AD, the temple is one of the oldest and largest Buddhist temples in China, with its architectural style and immense sacred halls drawing in visitors and worshippers alike. Leifeng Pagoda, on the southern banks of West Lake, is one of the city’s most famous images, with its five-story tower gazing over the water, having done so since its construction in 975 AD.

When to Go

Hangzhou is located further south than Beijing and Xi’an, thus the autumn season from October to November provides pleasant temperatures, giving respite from the heat of summer and also seeing fewer tourist crowds. Spring (from March to May) is also a good time to visit, although be mindful of public holidays.


What to do

  • Take a boat trip on West Lake and admire the incredible sunset here
  • Explore the charming historic scenery of the nearby water towns
  • Go sightseeing and food sampling in old Hangzhou
  • Visit the tea plantation at Dragon Well Tea
  • Head to Lingyin Temple, one of the largest and most famous Buddhist temples in China

Accommodation in Hangzhou

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