Hangzhou travel guide

Hangzhou Tourism | Hangzhou Guide

You're Going to Love Hangzhou

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and is recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in China. It is an important tourist resort, with visitors attracted by its stunning natural beauty. The famous West Lake area has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, with a history dating back to the 1100s, the city has a rich cultural heritage.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Hangzhou

1. West Lake

West Lake is Hangzhou's most famous tourist attraction, its beauty celebrated by artists and poets alike.

2. The Temples

The city has many beautiful temples and pagodas to explore and the views from Baochu Pagoda in particular are breathtaking.

3. Gardens and Parks

Hangzhou's green spaces are famous and the garden at Guo's Villa is reputed to be the finest in the region.

4. Hiking

Hiking in the mountains around Hangzhou offers spectacular scenery on some superb trails which are easily accessible from the city center.

5. Drink Tea

An afternoon at a tea house in Manjueling Village is a unique Hangzhou experience.

1. West Lake

West Lake is Hangzhou's most famous tourist attraction, its beauty celebrated by artists and poets alike.

2. The Temples

The city has many beautiful temples and pagodas to explore and the views from Baochu Pagoda in particular are breathtaking.

3. Gardens and Parks

Hangzhou's green spaces are famous and the garden at Guo's Villa is reputed to be the finest in the region.

4. Hiking

Hiking in the mountains around Hangzhou offers spectacular scenery on some superb trails which are easily accessible from the city center.

5. Drink Tea

An afternoon at a tea house in Manjueling Village is a unique Hangzhou experience.

What to do in Hangzhou

1. Bringing The Beginnings Of Chan Buddhism To Life

Located not far west of the city center, the Lingyin Temple is more ancient than almost anything else in Hangzhou. Affiliated to the Chan Buddhist sect, Lingyin was founded in 328 AD, and expanded to a 10th century peak when it housed 3,000 monks. These days, it's a much smaller affair, but the historical grandeur remains, not least in the serene Hall of the Heavenly Kings, with its ceiling murals of dragons and other beasts. The Hall of the Great Hero is similarly grand, perhaps more so, with its immense golden Buddha and lineup of holy saints.

2. A Moving Experience

Right next to Lingyin, there's another haul of Buddhist treasure waiting for tourists to discover. This time, it's the Fei Lai Feng grottoes (located on "flying" mountain). There are 345 statues here in all, and it lays fair claim to being one of the birthplaces of Chinese Buddhism. As the story tells it, Fei Lai mountain flew from India to plant the seeds of Buddhist enlightenment, and ever since, devotees have carved impressive statues into the limestone cliffs.

3. Witness One Of Humanity's Greatest Achievements

In itself, Wulinmen is an unassuming quay near Wulin Square in central Hangzhou, but it's where it can take you that's magical. 2,000 years ago, Hangzhou became the end point for the Grand Canal - an incredible waterway linking the north and south of China, over a distance of 1,200 miles. In Hangzhou, you can take cruises along the canal to see this engineering marvel, passing under elegant stone bridges, and reliving the lifestyle of the traders who knitted China together so long ago. History rarely feels so alive.

4. A Magnificent Song And Dance Experience

Hangzhou's biggest amusement park appears quirky on the face of it, being dedicated to reconstructing a Song dynasty (950-1200) city. But it's actually quite a show. You can attend lavish recreations of Song-era romances, featuring acrobats and dance troupes, see traditional ceremonies taking place in reconstructed streets, and even enter a couple of "haunted houses" along the way. Then there's "mysterious street", which provides a range of illusions for visitors to negotiate. It all adds up to an offbeat mixture of history and fun.

5. Pagodas, Peace, And Stunning Scenery

Also known as "West Lake", the UNESCO-protected Xihu is exquisitely beautiful and full of attractions. Surrounded by mountains and dotted with islands, the lake is also home to a couple of breath-taking architectural highlights: the pagodas of Leifeng and Baochu. Leifeng dates back to 975 AD, when it was built to commemorate an imperial birth (although it was carefully rebuilt in 2002), while needle-like Baochu is even older, having gone up in 963. After admiring the pagodas, try to get over to Yuehu on the lake's west side, where every evening you can catch vivid performances of traditional Chinese theater.

1. Bringing The Beginnings Of Chan Buddhism To Life

Located not far west of the city center, the Lingyin Temple is more ancient than almost anything else in Hangzhou. Affiliated to the Chan Buddhist sect, Lingyin was founded in 328 AD, and expanded to a 10th century peak when it housed 3,000 monks. These days, it's a much smaller affair, but the historical grandeur remains, not least in the serene Hall of the Heavenly Kings, with its ceiling murals of dragons and other beasts. The Hall of the Great Hero is similarly grand, perhaps more so, with its immense golden Buddha and lineup of holy saints.

2. A Moving Experience

Right next to Lingyin, there's another haul of Buddhist treasure waiting for tourists to discover. This time, it's the Fei Lai Feng grottoes (located on "flying" mountain). There are 345 statues here in all, and it lays fair claim to being one of the birthplaces of Chinese Buddhism. As the story tells it, Fei Lai mountain flew from India to plant the seeds of Buddhist enlightenment, and ever since, devotees have carved impressive statues into the limestone cliffs.

3. Witness One Of Humanity's Greatest Achievements

In itself, Wulinmen is an unassuming quay near Wulin Square in central Hangzhou, but it's where it can take you that's magical. 2,000 years ago, Hangzhou became the end point for the Grand Canal - an incredible waterway linking the north and south of China, over a distance of 1,200 miles. In Hangzhou, you can take cruises along the canal to see this engineering marvel, passing under elegant stone bridges, and reliving the lifestyle of the traders who knitted China together so long ago. History rarely feels so alive.

4. A Magnificent Song And Dance Experience

Hangzhou's biggest amusement park appears quirky on the face of it, being dedicated to reconstructing a Song dynasty (950-1200) city. But it's actually quite a show. You can attend lavish recreations of Song-era romances, featuring acrobats and dance troupes, see traditional ceremonies taking place in reconstructed streets, and even enter a couple of "haunted houses" along the way. Then there's "mysterious street", which provides a range of illusions for visitors to negotiate. It all adds up to an offbeat mixture of history and fun.

5. Pagodas, Peace, And Stunning Scenery

Also known as "West Lake", the UNESCO-protected Xihu is exquisitely beautiful and full of attractions. Surrounded by mountains and dotted with islands, the lake is also home to a couple of breath-taking architectural highlights: the pagodas of Leifeng and Baochu. Leifeng dates back to 975 AD, when it was built to commemorate an imperial birth (although it was carefully rebuilt in 2002), while needle-like Baochu is even older, having gone up in 963. After admiring the pagodas, try to get over to Yuehu on the lake's west side, where every evening you can catch vivid performances of traditional Chinese theater.

1. Bringing The Beginnings Of Chan Buddhism To Life

Located not far west of the city center, the Lingyin Temple is more ancient than almost anything else in Hangzhou. Affiliated to the Chan Buddhist sect, Lingyin was founded in 328 AD, and expanded to a 10th century peak when it housed 3,000 monks. These days, it's a much smaller affair, but the historical grandeur remains, not least in the serene Hall of the Heavenly Kings, with its ceiling murals of dragons and other beasts. The Hall of the Great Hero is similarly grand, perhaps more so, with its immense golden Buddha and lineup of holy saints.

2. A Moving Experience

Right next to Lingyin, there's another haul of Buddhist treasure waiting for tourists to discover. This time, it's the Fei Lai Feng grottoes (located on "flying" mountain). There are 345 statues here in all, and it lays fair claim to being one of the birthplaces of Chinese Buddhism. As the story tells it, Fei Lai mountain flew from India to plant the seeds of Buddhist enlightenment, and ever since, devotees have carved impressive statues into the limestone cliffs.

3. Witness One Of Humanity's Greatest Achievements

In itself, Wulinmen is an unassuming quay near Wulin Square in central Hangzhou, but it's where it can take you that's magical. 2,000 years ago, Hangzhou became the end point for the Grand Canal - an incredible waterway linking the north and south of China, over a distance of 1,200 miles. In Hangzhou, you can take cruises along the canal to see this engineering marvel, passing under elegant stone bridges, and reliving the lifestyle of the traders who knitted China together so long ago. History rarely feels so alive.

4. A Magnificent Song And Dance Experience

Hangzhou's biggest amusement park appears quirky on the face of it, being dedicated to reconstructing a Song dynasty (950-1200) city. But it's actually quite a show. You can attend lavish recreations of Song-era romances, featuring acrobats and dance troupes, see traditional ceremonies taking place in reconstructed streets, and even enter a couple of "haunted houses" along the way. Then there's "mysterious street", which provides a range of illusions for visitors to negotiate. It all adds up to an offbeat mixture of history and fun.

5. Pagodas, Peace, And Stunning Scenery

Also known as "West Lake", the UNESCO-protected Xihu is exquisitely beautiful and full of attractions. Surrounded by mountains and dotted with islands, the lake is also home to a couple of breath-taking architectural highlights: the pagodas of Leifeng and Baochu. Leifeng dates back to 975 AD, when it was built to commemorate an imperial birth (although it was carefully rebuilt in 2002), while needle-like Baochu is even older, having gone up in 963. After admiring the pagodas, try to get over to Yuehu on the lake's west side, where every evening you can catch vivid performances of traditional Chinese theater.

Where to Eat in Hangzhou

Grandma's Kitchen has restaurants across the city serving good local food from ¥20. Lou Wai Lou sits on an island off Beishan Road and is renowned as perhaps the best restaurant in the city; try the West Lake sweet and sour fish or Beggar's chicken. Dinner costs around ¥120 per person.

When to visit Hangzhou

Hangzhou in February
Estimated hotel price
$185
1 night at 3-star hotel
Hangzhou in February
Estimated hotel price
$185
1 night at 3-star hotel

Hangzhou's summer can be hot and very humid. Spring is a beautiful season to see the blossoms in the parks.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Hangzhou

Plane

Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport has regular services across China and Southeast Asia. The 20-mile trip west into the city center will cost ¥90 by taxi or ¥20 by shuttle bus.

Train

Hangzhou has good rail services from other Chinese cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The fare from Shanghai is ¥78.

Car

Hangzhou sits at the center of an excellent highway network, with the G60 running northeast to Shanghai and the G25 running north to Nanjing.

Bus

The city has four bus stations, serving connections from north, south, east and west. Trains from Shanghai, for example, arrive at the north bus station and fares cost ¥58.

Plane

Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport has regular services across China and Southeast Asia. The 20-mile trip west into the city center will cost ¥90 by taxi or ¥20 by shuttle bus.

Train

Hangzhou has good rail services from other Chinese cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The fare from Shanghai is ¥78.

Car

Hangzhou sits at the center of an excellent highway network, with the G60 running northeast to Shanghai and the G25 running north to Nanjing.

Bus

The city has four bus stations, serving connections from north, south, east and west. Trains from Shanghai, for example, arrive at the north bus station and fares cost ¥58.

Airports near Hangzhou

WUXWuxi

Airlines serving Hangzhou

Lufthansa
Good (4,691 reviews)
KLM
Good (839 reviews)
SWISS
Good (960 reviews)
British Airways
Good (4,670 reviews)
Delta
Good (4,561 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (2,235 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (482 reviews)
Air France
Good (983 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (2,112 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (4,987 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (2,405 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (6,058 reviews)
Finnair
Good (841 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (933 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (792 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (1,178 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (839 reviews)
Ethiopian Air
Good (412 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Good (536 reviews)
Egypt Air
Good (191 reviews)
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Where to stay in Hangzhou

Shangcheng District – is at the city's urban core and is close to the West Lake area.

Popular Neighborhoods in Hangzhou

Binjiang District – is a modern and fast-developing area across the Qiantang River from West Lake.

Xihu District – is next to West Lake and many other city attractions. It has some of the best hotels in the city.

Binjiang District – is a modern and fast-developing area across the Qiantang River from West Lake.
Xihu District – is next to West Lake and many other city attractions. It has some of the best hotels in the city.

Where to stay in popular areas of Hangzhou

Most booked hotels in Hangzhou

West Lake State Guest House
5 stars
Excellent (9.3, Excellent reviews)
$287+
JW Marriott Hotel Hangzhou
5 stars
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
$200+
Sofitel Hangzhou Westlake
5 stars
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
$187+
Grand Hyatt Hangzhou
5 stars
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
$321+
Huachen International Hotel
4 stars
Poor (0, Poor reviews)
$67+

How to Get Around Hangzhou

Public Transportation

Hangzhou has a good bus service, with local buses costing from ¥2 and dedicated tourist buses serving the main attractions from ¥3 (These bus numbers start with a 'Y').

Taxi

Taxis are plentiful and drivers usually use the proper metered fare. The initial cost is ¥11 and then you will pay ¥4 per mile.

Car

Remember you'll need a Chinese driving licence to drive in China. Car rental is around ¥190 per day, or you can rent a car with a driver.

Public Transportation

Hangzhou has a good bus service, with local buses costing from ¥2 and dedicated tourist buses serving the main attractions from ¥3 (These bus numbers start with a 'Y').

Taxi

Taxis are plentiful and drivers usually use the proper metered fare. The initial cost is ¥11 and then you will pay ¥4 per mile.

Car

Remember you'll need a Chinese driving licence to drive in China. Car rental is around ¥190 per day, or you can rent a car with a driver.

The Cost of Living in Hangzhou

Shopping Streets

Yan'an Road is best for fashion, while Wensan Road is the place for electronics. There is a nightly market at Pinghai Road that sells just about anything.

Groceries and Other

A quart of milk in Hangzhou will cost around ¥15.60 and a dozen eggs is ¥9.95.

Cheap meal
$4.73
A pair of jeans
$80.35
Single public transport ticket
$0.48
Cappuccino
$5.82
Other popular cities in Zhejiang