When the famous Italian traveler Marco Polo came to Hangzhou at the end of the 13th century, he exclaimed Hangzhou ‘the City of Heaven, the most beautiful and magnificent in the world”. The landscape of West Lake, which is considered the finest and subtlest, has influenced the outlook of Chinese garden landscape. Throughout the centuries, the Chinese have tried to ‘perfect’ the natural landscape of the West Lake, by building causeways, islands, pagodas and pavilions. Sights (total 10) are identified and given poetic names. The West Lake, comprising temples, pagodas, pavilions, gardens, and the willow trees, surrounded by lush rolling hills, fragrant fields of green tea plantation, is indeed charming, and eventually, acclaimed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Its landscape has inspired numerous poets, scholars and artists since the 9th century.
Hangzhou is romantic too. The West Lake area is the setting for legend of the White Snake, who is said to have fallen in love with a mortal man, captivate many young lovers and gives the West Lake and the nearby ancient structures a romantic touch. Their love story is brought to the stage or rewritten as plot of movies from time to time. The landscape in Hangzhou is so enchanting that the Qing Emperor Qianlong visited the city a few times, leaving behind a number of stories about his ‘romantic’ encounter in the city of Hangzhou.
The Natural Landscape
West LakeThe Chinese says, ‘Beyond the paradise, its Hangzhou and Suzhou’. You can imagine how picturesque the natural landscape is. The West Lake is surrounded by rolling green hills on three sides, willow trees along the lake side and lotus pond all around the lake. The area is rich, too. It is the major tea and silk producing area – the two commodities which are sought after by foreign countries. The distinct four seasons: the fresh dewy spring, lush green summer, golden autumn and silvery white winter, as well as the sun rise / sun set capture the imagination of many artists. No wonder Hangzhou breeds so many romantic legends and even the Qing Emperor longed to come back time after time.
The Man-made Landscape
Six Harmony Pagoda, Lingyin Monastery and Leifeng Pagoda are the focal points. In addition to pagodas and temples, Hangzhou has been a thriving commercial city since ancient time. You’ll find hundred years old shops, selling Chinese medicine, China brand scissors, handicrafts and silk products as well as restaurants. The mansion of Hu Xueyan, a very rich merchant during the Qing dynasty, also worth visiting, and you can imagine how powerful and wealthy a merchant can be by looking at his mansion, his furniture and decoration.
A Place of Retreat
Pick up from hotel in Hangzhou. Tour to the Lingyin Temple, literally meaning ‘Temple of Soul Retreat’, the oldest Buddhist Temple in Hangzhou first found in 328 AD, and the Six Harmonies Pagoda. Enjoy a boat cruise on the West Lake followed by a leisure walk along the Su or Bai Causeway.
A Leisure Bicycle Tour
Take a leisure bicycle ride along the West Lake, passing through tea villages, bamboo forest and scenic valleys. Enjoy a freshly brewed Chinese tea at one of the tea house or tea plantations. Enjoy a leisure walk along Hefang Street, and ancient commerical street where you'll find some hundred years brand and shops in China.
|Day 3|| Back to Nature
Visit the Xixi Wetland Park, It will be a refreshing stop with watercourses crisscrossing the Park and abundant of wild life: egret, wild geese, Common Kingfisher, Mallard and Silver Pheasant, as well as aquatic animals such as carp, eel and crab. Transfer to the train station or airport to embark for the next destination of your China trip.
Place to Relax and Recharge
Looking for a place to relax and refresh, away from feverish city life? Hangzhou is a retreat just 2 hours ride from Shanghai. Stay a few more days at a tranquil secluded dwellings in Hangzhou, close to the local villages surrounded by tea fields and natural forests. Linger around the Buddhist temples and pagodas, learn how to pick tea leaves and brew a cup of Chinese tea and pamper yourself with a refreshing spa.
Contact us for options for a retreat!
Xixi Wetland Park
The Xixi Wetland Park is the only national wetland park in China. You’ll feel like entering a labyrinth of watercourses, ponds, lakes and swamps, amidst the willow haze and mist.
Dragon Well Tea and Tiger Spring
Hangzhou area produces the best quality ‘Dragon Well’ or Longjin green tea and you’ll find fragrant tea plantation throughout Zhejiang province where Hangzhou is located. The tea goes best with Tiger Spring water.
Hangzhou is a rich area producing fresh farm products, as well as river fish and shrimps. The Hangzhou people mix it with the fragrant green teas, and ‘Stir Fried fresh river shrimps with fragrant green tea’ is a light and refreshing dish loved by the locals. Fresh catch from the West Lake, bamboo shoots and asparagus, lotus root, lotus seed become popular ingredients of the local cuisine.
Throw a Party
Hangzhou is perfect for parties. Arrange an dinner party at the City God Pavilion – one of the cultural landmarks of Hangzhou, or cocktail on a dragon’s boat, or at a tea plantation.
From Hangzhou to…
There are daily flights from Hangzhou to/from Beijing, Chengdu, Xian etc as well as daily flights to/from Hong Kong. You can also take the train to Shanghai, or arrange a private transfer from Hangzhou to Shanghai.