Hangzhou Travel Guide
As the capital of Zhejiang Province. Hangzhou is an important traffic hub in Southeast China as well as the second center city of the Yangtze River Delta Region. It is a city mixed with classic beauty and modern charm.
With its developed economy, Hangzhou has ranked second in China according to its GDP. Alibaba is one of the most recognized companies.
With a long history of over 2200 years, Hangzhou is one of the seven ancient cities in China. Known as "Heaven on Earth", Hangzhou has become a popular tourist city in China.
- Chinese name: 杭州
- Pinyin: Hangzhou
- Location: Hangzhou is located in the eastern part of China, approximately 180 kilometers from Shanghai. It lies at the center of the East China region and the Yangtze River Delta, with extremely convenient transportation.
Hangzhou’s climate is classified as a subtropical monsoon climate with distinct seasons. Spring in Hangzhou has a variable climate, warm and humid. The summer is hot and rainy. The autumn climate is pleasant, cool, and dry while winter is cool and quite humid.
In terms of temperature, January, April, July, and October serve as dividing points for the four seasons - winter, spring, summer, and autumn - in Hangzhou. It's noteworthy that January is the coldest and is damp cold, so it's advisable to dress warmly during this period. The rainy season in Hangzhou lasts from mid-April to September, so it's advisable to remember to bring rain gear.
Best Time to Hangzhou Travel
The best time to visit Hangzhou is during the months of March to April and September to October. However, when it comes to experiencing Hangzhou, the season and weather don't matter much, as West Lake acts like a magician and can transform into a breathtaking sight in any season or weather condition.
- March to May: is perfect for a leisurely stroll along the Su Causeway, surrounded by fragrant blooming trees and flowers.
- June to August: Hangzhou is at the peak of the summer season with hot weather, but visitors can still enjoy the vibrant lotus flowers blooming under the bright sun around West Lake.
- September to November: is ideal for tourists with crisp and refreshing air, and the sweet fragrance of osmanthus flowers lingers in the air. Mid-Autumn Festival around this time is especially enjoyable, where visitors can witness the Qiantang River Tidal Bore during the day and enjoy a moonlit lake tour at night.
- December to February: It's the severe winter season when the winter-sweet blooms vyingly. Visiting three holy lands to appreciate winter-sweet is a must - Solitary Hill, Lingfeng, and Chaoshan. Also, "Broken Bridge in Melting Snow", one of the top ten scenic spots in West Lake, is at its most charming during this season.
Hangzhou, with a history of over 2200 years, has always been an important city in the Wu-Yue region since ancient times. The Wu-Yue during the Five Dynasties and the Southern Song Dynasty once established their capitals here. Numerous scholars, including Bai Juyi, Su Dongpo, and others have unabatedly praised the beauty of West Lake, spreading the scenic beauty of Hangzhou through poems, thereby marking an important position in the history of Chinese culture.
Hangzhou has a rich tradition of arts and culture. The famous "West Lake Ancient Architectures," "Ten Views of West Lake," and "Song Dynasty Town in Hangzhou" represent the unique cultural features of Hangzhou. In addition, traditional crafts such as Hangzhou brocade and silk are also unique cultural symbols.
How to Get to Hangzhou
As the capital city of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou has extremely convenient transportation. Convenient daily flights and high-speed trains can take you to Hangzhou from almost all cities and popular tourist destinations in the country, such as Shanghai, Suzhou, Ningbo, Nanjing, and Huangshan…
- It is approximately 1125 kilometers from Beijing (4.5 hours by bullet train).
- It is about 165 kilometers from Shanghai (approximately 3 hours by car).
- It is about 125 kilometers from Suzhou (approximately 2.5-3 hours by car).
- It's approximately 190 kilometers from Huangshan (3-3.5 hours by car).
In addition, many international flights closely link Hangzhou with several countries (regions).
Get To Hangzhou by Air
Hangzhou has an international airport Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, with flights to and from all major cities in the country. Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport has opened 190 domestic and international air routes, including 128 domestic routes, 56 international routes, and 6 regional routes.
Get To Hangzhou by Train
Hangzhou has two important train stations - Hangzhou Station and Hangzhou East Station, with many trains from all over the country running to Hangzhou.
Hangzhou Railway Station, also known as the City Station, mainly stops at the ordinary passenger trains at the start and end of the route. It also handles passenger business for some high-speed EMU trains on the Shanghai-Kunming and Hangzhou-Ningbo lines. Hangzhou Station's originating trains are distributed in all directions nationwide, with the surrounding areas of Shanghai, Ningbo, and Wenzhou having the most. It takes just a 10-minute taxi ride to West Lake from the City Station, which is very convenient.
Hangzhou Railway East Station has originating trains to Shanghai, Ningbo, Nanjing South, Hefei, Wenzhou, Changzhou, Huainan, Jinan, Beijing, Nanchang, Fuzhou, Tianjin, Nanchang, Wuhan, Jiujiang, Zhengzhou, Cangnan, Xiamen, Qingdao, Changsha, Lu'an, Longyan, Jinggangshan, Bozhou, Wuchang, Ganzhou, Suzhou, Pingdingshan, Xinyang, Yichang, Shiyan, Huaihua, Nanning, Guiyang, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Kunming, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Zunyi, Zhanjiang, etc., primarily high-speed trains, bullet trains and fast, normal trains, with Hangzhou East Station mainly featuring high-speed trains and bullet trains.
Get To Hangzhou by Bus
Hangzhou's highway network is also considerably developed, including expressways connecting all major cities in the country. Hangzhou mainly has four long-distance bus stations, namely the Passenger Transport Center, West Station, South Station, and North Station. Based on the geographical position relative to Hangzhou, the buses at these four stations run in different directions.
1、Hangzhou Passenger Transport Center(Jiubao Passenger Station)
Mainly runs to provinces like Jiangsu, Fujian, Hubei, Shandong, Anhui, Shanghai, and other places.
- Contact: 0571-87650678
- Address: No. 3339 Desheng East Road, Jiubao Town, Jianggan District
- Transportation: 7392, 1707, 1703, 1701, 1704, 1708, 1712, 5704, 69, 100, 104, 170, 225, 328, 365, 387, 393
2、Hangzhou West Bus Station
Runs mainly to Hangzhou's west-lying destinations, with routes radiating to Tonglu, Chun'an, Xin'anjiang, Longyou, Quzhou, Jiangshan, Changshan, Kaihua in Zhejiang Province; Shexian, Tunxi, and Huangshan in Anhui Province; and Nanchang, Jingdezhen, Shangrao, Jiujiang, Boyang, and Yushan in Jiangxi Province, along with Wuhan in Hubei Province etc.
- Contact: 0571-85222237
- Address: No. 357 Tianmushan Road, Xihu District
- Transportation: 49, 193, 310, 382, 70, 91, 179, 193, 277, 353, 381, 596
3、Hangzhou South Bus Station
Mainly undertakes long, middle, and short-distance passenger transportation from Hangzhou southwards, radiating toward Zhejiang (Jinhua, Wenzhou, Lishui, Zhuji, and Tonglu), Guangdong, and Fujian provinces.
- Contact: 0571-86075352
- Address: No. 455 Wujiang Road, Southeast corner of the intersection of Qiu Tao Road and Wujiang Road, Exit D of Wujiang Road Station, Metro Line 1
- Transportation: 14, 20, 44, 64, 84, 139, 315, 317, 360, 514
4、Hangzhou North Bus Station
Operates routes mainly for the northern passenger flow, mainly heading to Anhui, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Beijing, Henan, Shandong, Hubei, Chongqing, and other provinces and cities, with intra-province buses mainly for northern Zhejiang's Huzhou, Jiaxing, etc.
- Contact: 0571-87650678
- Address: No. 3339 Desheng East Road, Jiubao Town, Jianggan District
- Transportation:7392, 1707, 1703, 1701, 1704, 1708, 1712, 5704, 69, 100, 104, 170, 225, 328, 365, 387, 393
International travelers may choose major routes entering China such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, and then choose to transfer by flight or train to Hangzhou. Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport also provides some direct international flights.
Read more on Travel to Hangzhou from Nearby Cities.
Top Things to Do in Hangzhou
As one of China's most renowned tourist cities, Hangzhou has numerous attractions. The most famous and iconic of all is West Lake, the heart and soul of tourism in the city. Other landmark sights include Leifeng Pagoda, Lingyin Temple, Feilai Peak, Six Harmonies Pagoda, and Xixi National Wetland Park.
If you are interested in Chinese history and culture, don't miss out on a visit to Songcheng (Song Dynasty Town) and China Silk Museum. If you like natural scenery or classical architecture, or if you are interested in Jack Ma's story and his Alibaba, Hangzhou is a must-see on your travel list.
From an iconic boat trip on West Lake to a perfect side trip to Wuzhen water town, we've listed the 5 best things you should not miss out on when traveling in Hangzhou.
1. Boat on West Lake
The West Lake is a large lake with several causeways and verdant islets and has been nationally famous for the "Ten Scenes of West Lake" (ten famous scenic spots in West Lake).
However, most of them are seasonal and you can't see all of them at one time. The best way to see most sights of the lake is to walk along the path on a clear day, take a boat ride, or take a ferry to visit one of its islets.
2. Greet the Carved Buddhas in Lingyin Temple
Located to the west of West Lake, Linyin Temple is the oldest temple in Hangzhou with a history of almost 1,700 years.
In front of the temple is Flying Peak. Along the way up you will be greeted by many different statues of Buddha carved into stones.
3. Savor Longjing at Meijiawu Tea Plantation
Renowned for planting and producing high-quality Longjing tea, Meijiawu Tea Plantation is a large and quiet place ideal for experiencing Chinese tea culture.
In Meijiawu, you can enjoy a cup of afternoon tea in a courtyard, pay a visit to the houses of local tea farmers, buy some authentic Chinese teas at reasonable prices, or more luckily, join in the work of producing tea.
4. Stay Overnight in Wuzhen Water Town
Only a 1.5-hour drive from Hangzhou City, Wuzhen Water Town is one of the best choices for travelers in Hangzhou who have one or two days for a side trip.
Blessed with well-preserved old buildings and charming night views, the over-1,300-year-old Wuzhen nowadays serves as a living water town museum with traditional workshops.
5. Visit Alibaba Campus
Besides West Lake and the water towns, Hangzhou is also the home to Alibaba, and "a city without cash" is its new name card.
One of Alibaba's huge successes is that they have built an ecosystem for a range of industries: Alibaba has set up a series of smarter and faster businesses including futuristic hotels, supermarkets, and bookstores in Hangzhou.
Hangzhou offers a wide variety of accommodation choices, ranging from luxury hotels, business hotels, economical hotels to youth hostels. Luxury hotels, such as Four Seasons Hotel and Hangzhou Intercontinental Hotel by the West Lake, provide top-notch services and lake-view rooms, with prices generally exceeding 1,000 RMB per night.
For business hotels near West Lake, the price ranges from 300 RMB to 500 RMB per night, while four-star hotels generally cost between 500 RMB and 700 RMB. Mid-low-end (three-star and economical) hotels are predominantly priced between 200-300 RMB, while beds in youth hostels beloved by backpackers mostly go for about 100 RMB.
Generally, when considering accommodation in Hangzhou, options near West Lake or the city center - Wulin Square and Lakeside Business District - tend to be better. Accommodation near West Lake Boulevard is preferred as it provides convenient access to various places.
Hangzhou cuisine, known for its exceptional quality and reasonable prices, is a highlight of Jiangnan and is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine known as Zhejiang cuisine. Described as "refreshingly unique," Hangzhou cuisine emphasizes fresh ingredients, meticulous preparation, diversity, nutritional value, and a balance between saltiness and freshness.
The average cost of a regular meal per person ranges between 50 RMB and 80 RMB, while high-end restaurants like Louwailou and Zhiweiguan cost around 100 RMB or more per person. For those who prefer street foods like noodles and pan-fried buns, meals can cost as little as 20 RMB - 30 RMB per person.
- Traditional dishes: Dongpo Pork, Longjing Shrimp, Jiaohua Young Chicken, Hangzhou Soy Sauce Duck, West Lake Water Shield Soup, West Lake Vinegar Fish, Song Sao Fish Soup, Fish Head Tofu, Honey Sauce Fire Square, Deep-fried Bell, Red-cooked Rolling Chicken, White Bird Chao Feng, Chestnut Winter Mushroom, Oil Simmered Spring Shoots.
- New Hangzhou dishes: Hangzhou Eight Tastes, West Lake Crab Wrapped, Tree Flower Stew Chicken, Salt and Pepper Pigeon, Dried Bamboo Shoot Stew Old Duck, Fragrant Leaf Roasted Crab, Egg Yolk Green Crab, Abalone Duck, Chicken Juice Cod, White Sand Red Crab, Hibiscus Shrimp, Hand-pulled Chicken, Qianjiang Shredded Pork, Wu Lin Stew Duck, Paper Bag Shark Fin.
- Famous Hangzhou snacks: Zhi Wei Small Steamed Buns, Onion Package Stew, Cat’s Ears, Shrimp-blasted Eel Noodles, Pian Er Chuan Noodles.
Shopping in Hangzhou
Today, most people visiting Hangzhou want more than just local specialties. Hangzhou is becoming a fashion-forward city, attracting more stylish individuals for shopping. Hangzhou-style women's clothing on Wulin Road, Silk Market at Four Seasons Youth, Hangzhou Silk City, and much more will captivate female shopaholics.
Entertainment in Hangzhou
The entertainment life in Hangzhou is rich and colorful, filled with contrasts and harmony. You can taste delicious tea at Meijia Wu or Longjing village and play cards while sipping, experiencing a leisurely life rhythm. Alternatively, you can head to the bar street on Nanshan Road to let off steam and enjoy the nightlife to the fullest.
At West Lake Paradise, you can sit on a spacious patio with a cup of aromatic coffee, getting drunk on the beautiful lake view. Hubin Road pedestrian street is a dazzling place with numerous bars and clubs that will leave you completely enthralled, with music and revelry every night.
Public transportation networks in Hangzhou are well-developed and convenient. The bus routes in the city area cover every corner, offering tourists a convenient and fast travel option. The subway system connects the city's major commercial and tourist areas, making it easy to travel from one place to another. Apart from that, taxis and shared bikes are very common modes of transportation. Whether you want to travel quickly or explore Hangzhou's cityscape while cycling, you can always find a suitable way to travel.
Visiting Hangzhou with China Travel
Our experienced team of travel consultants is prepped to cater to your unique preferences. We focus on delivering only the very best of travel experiences. We are proud to serve millions of happy customers. If you are planning a tour of Hangzhou, see our most popular Hangzhou tour for inspiration o contact us to customize your Hangzhou tour.
- 1-Day West Lake Walking Tour
- 2-Day Essence of Hangzhou Tour
- 3-Day Suzhou and Hangzhou Tour from Shanghai