Hangzhou

Hangzhou (杭州; Hángzhōu) is in Zhejiang Province, China. It is one of the most important tourist cities in China, famous for its natural beauty and historical and cultural heritage.

Heaven has paradise; Earth has Hangzhou and Suzhou. Chinese proverb

Hangzhou is the political, economic and cultural center of Zhejiang province. It is a prosperous and highly developed city that gets many migrants from poorer provinces coming to seek work. It's annoyingly humid in summertime, which is from early June to early September.

Understand

View over West Lake

Famed for its natural scenery, Hangzhou and its West Lake (西湖; Xīhú) have been immortalized by countless poets and artists. The city was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 until the Mongol invasion of 1276. The city's population is estimated to have been as high as one million in those days, making it the largest city in the world at the time. Even Marco Polo claimed to have passed through, calling it beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world. The West Lake Cultural Landscape has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2011.

With the gradual silting up of its harbor, much of the city's trade and industry passed north to nearby Shanghai, but the city still has a bustling population of 8.7 million and ranks as one of China's most popular tourist attractions.

Get in

Hangzhou in China

By plane

Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (IATA: HGH) serves domestic and international flights. There are frequent services to Beijing, Hong Kong and other Chinese cities. The only European destination is Amsterdam with KLM. There are a few cities in other parts of East Asia and South East Asia with direct connections.

Hangzhou airport charges lower landing fees than nearby Shanghai, so a few budget airlines fly there.

Airport transfers

The airport is about 30 km east of the city centre, taking between 30 minutes and 1 hour by taxi. A taxi to or from the airport from the city centre is around ¥90; on the way back, you should ask if the driver is willing to take you that far before just jumping in the car with all your bags. No additional fee is payable for travel to/from the airport, the normal metered fare applies.

A shuttle service (¥20) to/from the Xiaoshan Bus ticket office on Tiyuchang Road next to the KFC just west of Wulin Square. The shuttle bus also stops at the main railway station en route. Buses run every 30 minutes during the daytime and take about an hour; join the queue for your ticket at the booth just outside the exit before boarding the bus.

Buses from the airport run

The times refer to waiting time from the first passenger boarding the bus. After all the seats are taken, the bus takes off within 30, 20 or 15 minutes. The Shangri-La Hotel also has a shuttle service to/from the airport for ¥50.

Shanghai Airport

The main international hub for the region is Pudong International Airport in Shanghai; there are direct buses to Hangzhou which take a couple of hours, or one could take the go into downtown Shanghai and catch a train. Buses leave from the 2nd floor parking lot across from Gate 15 of Pudong Airport, departing every 90 minutes during 10:30-19:00, costing ¥100. These buses arrive at the Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Sports Center (football stadium), 3 km to the west of the city centre. The reverse trip from Hangzhou to Pudong Airport is also possible; the buses leave from the Yellow Dragon Sport Center as well as Hangzhou Xiaoshan Bus ticket office on Tiyuchang Road next to the KFC just west of Wulin Square.

Shanghai's other airport, Hongqiao, serves mainly domestic flights and is located right next to Hongqiao Railway Station which has high speed trains to Hangzhou.

By train

The high speed (CRH) train from Shanghai's Hongqiao Station to   Hangzhou East Station is 50 minutes non-stop (¥78) and is frequent. There are also trains from Guangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, and everywhere in between. There is a main   Hangzhou Station at the end of the line as well, recently reopened after a period of renovation although it lacks the facilities of Hangzhou East, as well as serving fewer trains.

By bus

Hangzhou has four bus stations (N, E - "Jiubao" on Shengjia Rd, W, and S). Usually, the direction of your destination corresponds to the bus station's name, e.g. if you are going to Shanghai, you will want the East Bus Station. If you are going to Huangshan, buses leave from the West Bus Station; Nanjing is served by a frequent service from the North Station, and so on. Wuzhen (90 mins by bus, frequent morning departures) is now serviced by Jiubao Bus station, no longer the defunct Genshan Xilu bus station. It costs ¥50 and 45 mins to get to Jiubao bus stn from the eastern shore of West Lake by Taxi. Bus K12 then bus K101 can also make the trip, allow 90 mins to arrive at the Jiubao bus stn, and another 90 mins to get to Wūzhen.

From Shanghai: Buses depart from the north bus station (Hengfen Lu), the PuDong bus station (Bailianjing, PuDong Nan Lu), and from Xujiahui Bus Station, tickets cost ¥58. These buses arrive at the north bus station of Hangzhou.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport : direct long distance bus from the Airport to Hangzhou on Tiyuchang Rd, avoiding transfer via Shanghai. From Arrivals in the Airport, follow the clearly marked signs to the Long Distance Coach Terminal (well after the Maglev Terminal) and take the elevator down one level to the concourse. Hourly departures, on the hour in the evenings. Last departure is 21:00. Take cash for fare.

To Shanghai Pudong International Airport: There are buses between Yellow Dragon Stadium and Pudong Airport (direct) and Wulinmen Ticket Office and Pudong Airport (with a stop en route at Hongqiao). Tickets can be purchased at the area with all the buses in front of the Yellow Dragon Stadium or at the Wulinmen Ticket office near the KFC on Tiyuchang Rd. (¥100, 2.5 hour journey)

To Hongqiao Airport (direct),: Wulinmen Ticket Office near the KFC on Tiyuchang Rd (¥100).

By boat

The overnight boat service between Hangzhou and Suzhou/Wuxi has been discontinued. You can still take a ferry along the Hangzhou-Beijing Grand Canal to the north of Hangzhou proper (see "water taxi" section below).

Get around

By bus

Hangzhou has an extensive bus network, and bus schedules, routes, and on-board announcements are all in Chinese. Hangzhou taxis are notoriously expensive compared to other Chinese cities, and using the public bus system will save you money.

There are a number of bus types:

For those arriving in Hangzhou by train, note that bus K7 goes from the Hangzhou Rail Station to the West Lake for ¥1.

Fares can be paid in cash (coins or bills, no change given), by using a dedicated bus card, or by tapping the same card used to rent bikes (see below). The fare will be displayed on the bus stop and on the farebox.

You are expected to board via the front doors and leave through the rear (with the exception of the B routes). Buses have very little empty space even when they are not full (which is not common) so do not plan on bringing baby strollers or other cumbersome items. Be prepared at all times for fast turns and sudden braking. The suspension usually is not up to modern standards, and the driving can be aggressive.

By taxi

Hangzhou has a large number of taxis which allow for quick and convenient travel within the city proper. Most of the city's taxis are turquoise-green in colour and easily identifiable by the word Taxi printed in both English and Chinese on the vehicles. Taxis for hire are marked by the green (or sometimes yellow-orange) light-up signs above the dashboard on each car.

Hangzhou taxi drivers almost always use the meter as required by law. Trips start at ¥11 and are priced by the kilometre, with surcharges for idling time and trips over 10 km. It's advisable to take a receipt each time use you a taxi, should you wish to contact the taxi company or driver at a later time to dispute a fare, recover a lost article, etc. Avoid the taxi touts at the train station and major tourist attractions and, instead,, use the designated taxi queue or flag one off the street.

Hardly any of the city's taxi drivers speak English or any other foreign language, and it's important that you be able to point out your destination on a map, present the driver with the name of the destination (in written Chinese), or properly pronounce the name of the destination in Chinese.

Hangzhou taxis are not allowed to carry more than four passengers, although you may be able to convince or bribe a driver to allow you to "hide" an extra passenger on the back seat. This can be worth the trouble or expense if it saves your group from needing to take two taxis. It's also not unusual, especially at late or slow hours for the taxi driver to collect multiple customers to make the journey more profitable. This will normally be explained in Chinese. This is uncommon at normal hours, however.

Taxis, like all public transport, are difficult to come by during the tourist weeks (Chinese New Year, May Golden Week, and October National Week); also, available taxis at 07:30-08:45 and 16:30-19:00, and every time it rains, are difficult to find, as they are always full or in the middle of a shift change. A taxi with an imminent shift change - which usually occurs about 15:00-17:00 - will be showing a plate in the windscreen (Chinese characters of course) and will only take you if your route coincides with theirs. Being familiar with areas that taxis frequent or places where taxi passengers are likely to be dropped off will aid you in finding a ride. Try not to get upset when your hailing position is gazumped by a new arrival 20 metres before you on the road. The only rule is: it is the quick and the dead.

Taxi drivers will also negotiate for long distance trips, or full-day/half-day hiring. A trip to Pudong airport in Shanghai will be ¥600-1,000 depending on time of day or night.

In outer centres of Hangzhou, small five seater vans are usually available at bus terminals for onward transfers. These operate quite independently and the normal taxi rules do not apply. They will take you anywhere at a negotiated price.

By subway

Hangzhou Metro

The easiest way around Hangzhou is the recently built metro system, with a total of 8 lines covering over 200 km have been planned. Line 1 opened in late 2012. Line 2 is expected to finish early 2015.

By "water bus"

Ferry down the Grand Canal takes 30 minutes but only makes 5 trips per day, the first at 07:30 and the last at 18:00. It starts at Wulin Gate/West Lake Culture Plaza and ends at Gongchen Bridge, with one stop at Xinyifang Grand Canal Culture Plaza. The boats stop first at Xinyifang, then to the newly developed Canal Culture Square, where you can see the Canal Museum, see if there are any events in the square, and check out the new Xiaohe Street- a series of "historical" alleys with shops and restaurants similar to Hangzhou's Hefang Street; the area's renovation was completed in 2008. Cost is ¥3.

While really worth taking the trip, Hangzhou now has plans to connect a series of canals and streams throughout the city with the Grand Canal, West Lake, Yuhang River, and Qiantang River, making for increased water transport and a Venetian feel when completed.

There are also passenger boats running along the Grand Canal from near the Qiantang River

Getting to the islands on West Lake, you get to choose between tourist trap Dragon or "Gaily-painted" pleasure boats (¥45 and ¥35). There are also medium-sized power boats (¥25), or for ¥160 you can hire a driver to paddle you around for about an hour. The boats are available in Hubin #X (1, 3, 6) parks and other obviously marked areas all over the lake.

By bike

While traffic in Hangzhou may seem chaotic to some foreigners, the city is comparatively bike-friendly. All but small side roads have dedicated bike lanes, often divided from motor traffic by barricades or medians.

Making use of the city's extensive public bike system can be a cheap and convenient way to experience the city. These fire engine red public bikes are ubiquitous on the street of Hangzhou, and the rental stations that dispense them are generously spread across the core of the city and around West Lake, stretching all the way up to the suburbs and down to the river near the Six Harmonies Pagoda.

Bicycles you can rent from Hangzhou's bike system; they aren't the best for anyone over 6 ft, but they include a lock.

To use the bikes, you'll need to purchase a stored value card at one of 5 sites such as 20 Longxiang Qiao across from the Agricultural Bank of China. If you have trouble finding it, go to the Hyatt and ask for directions; they will point you down the correct street. As well, each bike station will give out free tourist maps including a bike map that shows all the bike stations around the city. To obtain a value card (also known as an IC card), you must present ID (such as a passport) and pay ¥300, of which ¥200 is a deposit with the remaining ¥100 to cover rentals fees. Bikes may then be rented by tapping the card against one of the automated bike racks holding the bikes. A beep and the audible sound of the rack unlocking will indicate that the bike can be removed. One can use any of the available bike racks scattered about the city if he or she wishes to visit an attraction or get a new bike. The bike is free for the first hour, ¥1 an hour for the two hours after that, and ¥3 an hour thereafter. For example, if you rent a bike for six hours when you return to the main bicycle "hub", you'll receive ¥289 of this deposit back, which covers the ¥11 worth of bike riding.

IC Cards or the bike rental cards can also be used on local buses (9% discount on public buses). More than one person may use the same card for their bus fare. Simply swipe the card the number of times equivalent to the number of people getting on the bus.

Be careful to choose a bike with air in the front and back wheels, working brakes and appropriate seat height. However none of the bikes were designed for reasonably tall people, so if you have long legs you may end up chaffing your knees on the handlebars. During rush hour, local residents also actively use the bikes. Therefore, most bike stalls will be full and you might not easily find a station with empty racks to return your bike.

Bikes are returned by reinserting them into an empty bike rack and tapping one's card against the top of the rack. Another beep, a solid green light, and the sound of the rack locking will indicate when the bike has been received successfully. Make sure the bike rack lock receives your bike; it is doesn't, the bike won't be registered returned in the system, and you will lose both your bike rental and deposit money and get no refund. The system opens for business at 06:00, and bikes not returned by 21:00 each night must be taken back to the Longxiang Qiao location (open 24/7) - so keep an eye on the clock during evening rides. After ten days from purchase of the card, it may be returned for an 89% refund.

It is perfectly all right to rent bikes and return them within the hour and then immediately rent another bike so you never have to pay anything.

Maps

Buy maps near the Train Station or Bus Station from street vendors or stalls when you arrive. Price is often marked on the maps themselves, if you are wondering how much to pay (under ¥10). Street-bought maps are usually written in simplified Chinese with no pinyin. You can find pinyin maps at foreign language bookstores and magazine stalls near the West Lake. The main foreign language bookstore in Yan An Road has a reasonable selection of maps as well as travel books.

A recent addition is the tourist information booth near Wulin Square Metro station where you can pick up a bilingual tourist map. Walking south past Hangzhou Tower until you hit Shuguang Road, you should see an olive green booth. Very little English is spoken but if you can ask for a map (dìtú) they will be happy to help.

There is a useful 'what's on' magazine called More Hangzhou that has a good pull-out map in Chinese and English. The magazine is free and can be found in many hotels and bars.

Talk

The local language in Hangzhou is Wu Chinese (generally known these days as Shanghainese, although each city has a different variation). It is spoken over quite a broad area including most of East China. Wu is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin (standard Chinese) or any other Chinese dialect. However, as anywhere in China, most locals are bilingual in the local dialect and Mandarin and, like other prosperous coastal cities, Hangzhou has many migrants from other provinces who speak Mandarin but not the local dialect. If you speak Mandarin you will be able to talk to almost anyone in Hangzhou except a few elderly or rural folk.

English is not widely spoken, though the more expensive hotels will likely have staff who speak at least basic English. Be sure to have the names of your destinations written in Chinese to show taxi drivers so they can take you to where you want to go. Carry a business card for your hotel so you can always get back there.

See

West Lake (西湖 Xī Hú)

Hangzhou's most famous scenic sight. Technically, there are 10 Scenes of the West Lake and 10 New Scenes, but they are overrated, and often seasonal (Snowfall Over Broken Bridge, etc.). Rather than make a checklist and walking back and forth looking for them, simply spend a clear day wandering the circumference of the lake and the causeways, take a ferry to the islands, and you will probably cover most of the sites anyway. The "West Lake" itself can be divided into countless smaller sites, from Mr. Guo's villa to "Orioles Singing in the Willows".

The "West Lake Scenic Area" itself is very large. This section only covers areas in the immediate vicinity of the lake. Other spots are covered in later sections.

Sitting on a bench, overlooking West Lake

Temples, pagodas and churches

Gardens, forests, nature

On the northern side of Baochu hill near the soccer stadium is Huanglong Cave (For "Scenes of The West Lake", this cave covers "Yellow Dragon Cave Dressed in Green").

Liangzhu

Liangzhu is an area in the suburbs of Hangzhou with a major archaeological site where an ancient city is being excavated. There is a museum nearby.

The Liangzhu Culture flourished in the region around Lake Tai 3400-2250 BCE, while cities such as Thebes, Nineveh and Mohenjo-daro flourished further West, and before the first dynasties of the Chinese Empire arose. They are now known mainly by the high-quality jade artifacts they left behind. In some ways they were quite advanced for the time period, with extensive irrigation and some cities, and their influence seems to have extended as far as Shanxi and Guangdong. However, they were still a Neolithic (late Stone Age) culture; they were to be the last such culture in this region.

DNA studies show that the Liangzhu people were of the Austronesian ethnic group, more closely related to today's Filipinos, Malays, Indonesians and Polynesians than to modern Chinese. This region was probably one of the sources for that group's migration into the Pacific. Some historians even suggest that this region was the ancestral home of the entire Austronesian group, but that theory is quite controversial.

Do

Maitreya and disciples carving in Feilai Feng Caves

Learn

Buy

"IN TIME shopping mall" : The intime shopping mall locates at the center of Hangzhou, the Yanan road, the intime mall gained the public praise as its prices and services. The first floor is the cosmetics selling floor. From floor two to floor six are all clothes selling stores. Floor two sells fashionable brands.

Eat

The Song Dynasty Liuhe Pagoda, built in 1165

Hangzhou is one of the premier places to eat in China, and its local cuisine features dishes that consist more of pork and seafood rather than the beef and lamb, as those typically found in the north and west regions of China. Typical Hangzhou specialties include dongpo rou, an extremely fatty chunk of pork in a syrupy sauce, and cuyu, which is fish with a vinegar sauce. If you do not like Hangzhou's cuisine, you can find plenty of excellent Sichuan, Shanxi, and Xinjiang restaurants throughout the city. Hangzhou:There are some characteristics snacks, for example,small steamer bun,Xiaoshan dried turnip,Orecchiette,Noodles with Preserved Vegetable.In the wushan square,you can see a lot of foods that l listed,and its price is cheaper and fine, The most important thing is that taste delicious.One of the greatest happiness of life is to eat.so everybody can travel hangzhou and pay more attention to Appreciate the scenery and eat snacks.It will make you linger!!!

Budget

For budget restaurants, even near the lake, just head into an alley and get some food from a small restaurant or street-side stand. You should judge for yourself how sanitary the food is, but Hangzhou is generally fairly civilized in this respect relative to other Chinese cities. These restaurants are all quite similar.

If you like dumplings and have just come down the north side of Baochu hill (past the cave and in view of the soccer stadium), one option is to continue across Shuguang Road and up Hangda Road (0.5 blocks east and 1 block north) to Tianmushan Road. At the corner of Tianmushan and Hangda Roads are 2 decent dumpling restaurants with English menus available (one is upstairs from the other). They have many of varieties of dumplings, including all-vegetable. From ¥6-18 for a plateful.

Mid-range

For American junk food, Hangzhou has many KFCs, several McDonalds, and an increasing number of Pizza Huts throughout town, especially near the lake. If you like Pizza Hut style pizza, but don't want to pay Pizza Hut prices, there's a much cheaper Pizza Hut 'clone' on You Dian Road, corner of Hubin Road, right near the lake.

Other restaurants that are good and aren't as tourist-trappy can as Lou Wai Lou are located near the West Lake, usually to the East past Hubin Road in the Yan'an Road area.

For Xinjiang, try Jade Dragon Xinjiang Special Restaurant (龙翠阁新疆特色餐厅) inside the Handnice Hotel (Originally of Tiandu Hotel on Zhongshan Bei Road) at the east side of Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Sports Stadium. Some say the Xinjiang restaurant on the 5th floor of Sanrui Tower (三瑞大厦) on Qingchun Road is better and more authentic, and on the east side of town, Xinjiang Pamir Muslim Restaurant (新疆帕米尔餐厅) has many Xinjiang people dining there.

Location: 1. ShangCheng Area, JieFang Street, No.154. 2. The WenHui Street, No.346. TEL: 0571-87029012

Splurge

Chinese

Japanese

There are lots of Japanese restaurants, many of which offer the "all you can eat and drink" deal for between 120 and 200 renminbi, which is a good deal when you consider sake and plum wine are included, and is a good way to start off a weekend night.

South-East Asian

Western

Indian

Delivery

Drink

The drink of choice in Hangzhou is tea, as the local Longjing (龙井, also Lung Ching, literally "Dragon Well") is the most famous green tea in China. Longjing is divided into seven grades, the two top being Superior (旗枪 qiqiang) and Special (雀舌 queshe), and the rest numbered from 1 down to 5. Prices for the very best stuff are extremely high in 2005, a mere 100g plucked from Qing Dynasty emperor Qian Long's personal trees sold for over US$17,000 but a few cups in a local teahouse shouldn't cost you more than a few dozen yuan. There is a wholesale market in Zhuangtang, however, most of the tea comes from trees outside of the "special" fields in Hangzhou. Prices are ¥15-1,000/500g depending on a multitude of variables.

Traditionally, tea from Longjing is best served with spring water from Hupao (虎跑, "Tiger Run"), which is located next to the West Lake. You might have to purchase the tea from the tea shop in Hupao, instead of bringing your own. It's about ¥20 per cup, but you get a thermal full of hot water with the purchase. Do consider mixing the leaves with bottled water, as construction project run off introduces chemicals other than water into the streams.

For bars, Nanshan Road all night every night should keep any visitor occupied. An up-and-coming part of town is on Shuguang Road has several old and new bars that are a little less hectic than those of Nanshan Road, including local expat hangout Maya Bar, packed-out local You To, rock music bar Travellers, and many more. Shuguang Road runs north from the north-west corner of the Lake. The Huanglong soccer stadium is full of dance / performance bars around the perimeter of the building.

Bars

Cafes

Cafes in Hangzhou normally fit a Hangzhou norm and do not always resemble a cafe in the West. Places like Liangan and UBC serve Western food, which is pretty inedible to a Western palette. Coffee is expensive and usually made over a candle, more for novelty than for good coffee. Some of the more 'international' style cafes are listed here.

Nightclubs

There are several large popular clubs in Hangzhou that cater to a generally un-sophisticated house music crowd, although they often have famous DJs visiting. Tables are hard to come by later on at night, and usually you cannot book. Tipping the server may help you find a table. Drinks may take a while to come, so perhaps ordering a bottle of liquor and mixers for the table would reduce the amount of time waiting for drinks. Clubs are generally safe, but bouncers are in-effective so stay away from trouble.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

You can find mid-range hotels all over the city, most of which will take foreigners. Try to bargain for a room. Ask how much they want for one night's stay, then say "what if I stay for 3 nights?" or something to that extent and it will become cheaper.

Splurge

Cope

The West Lake is home to many biting insects that may cause allergic reactions in visitors from outside the area.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, January 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.