The weather in Hangzhou is usually warm and mild with plenty of sunshine, making the city a great place to get out, walk about, and enjoy the multitude of unique attractions it has to offer.  There is a reason that Hangzhou is known as “heaven on earth” in China, as you will no doubt discover after you have explored this amazing city!

Pagoda on Hangzhou's West Lake
Pagoda on Hangzhou’s West Lake. Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Mlq4296.

Take a Walk by the West Lake

The West Lake is one of China’s best known lakes and Hangzhou’s biggest attractions.  The best time to visit the lake is early in the morning so you can soak in the tranquil and beautiful views and maybe even learn a little Tai Chi with some locals before hordes of tourists arrive.  There are plenty of things to see and do around the lake including the Leifeng Pagoda, twisted and broken bridges, and boat rides to the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon islets.

Visit a Famous Tea Plantation

Located in the hills behind the West Lake lies a unique treasure in Hangzhou, a tea plantation where one of China’s favorite beverages is grown – lóngjǐng chá, translated as “Dragons Well Tea.” This tea is known around China for its four treasures- the bright green color, slightly sweet taste, perfumed flavor, and calming effect.  The tea plants flourish in the wet and mild climate in the hills around the lake and plantations can be found in the Longjing Village, Shi Feng peak and Yun Xi Mountain areas which are all short bus rides from the city.  Locals will be more than happy to let you sample your tea but remember to bargain for it!

Party on Bar Street

Located on Nanshan Road south of the West Lake, Hangzhou’s “bar street” is a popular destination for locals and tourists and does exactly what it says on the tin!  The bars, lining the street, come in all shapes and sizes from western-style pubs to converted Chinese 1920’s-style villas.

Explore the Lingyin Temple

Translated as the “Temple of the Souls Retreat,” the Lingyin Temple is located in a northern peak overlooking the West Lake and one of the ten most famous temples in China.  The temple is a great place to learn more about Chinese and Buddhist culture.  Furthermore, after you have worked up an appetite exploring the temple, you can visit the popular Lingyin Restaurant to try some delicious vegetarian fare.

Climb the Six Harmonies Pagoda

Considered a treasure of Chinese architecture, the Liu He/Six Harmonies Pagoda is a jewel located in the south of the city overlooking the Qiantang River.  The pagoda, constructed during the Southern Song Dynasty, is made of wood and brick, almost 60 meters high, and is octagonal in shape.  Once you climb the spiral staircase within the pagoda, you will be rewarded with one of the best views in the city!

Stroll Down Zhongshan Road

Hangzhou served as the capital of China during the Song era.  Zhongshan road is also known as the “royal street” of the Southern Song Dynasty and is great place to soak in some traditional Song architecture.  Don’t miss the opportunity to eat, drink, and leisurely stroll your way down one of Hangzhou’s most unique pedestrian areas.

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