Explore West Lake
West Lake is one of the most popular attractions in Hangzhou, China. Temples, pagodas, and traditional Chinese gardens surround this vast lake. However, West Lake has attracted visitors worldwide for centuries, and it’s easy to understand why.
There are plenty of things to do and see around the lake, from boat cruises to gardens. So let’s take a closer look at what West Lake has to offer:
Explore the Lake’s Historical Sites
Explore the lake’s historical sites and appreciate the beauty of nature. Pagodas, temples, parks, gardens, and many other unique attractions fringe the waters of West Lake.
Besides natural scenery, several renowned pieces of Chinese culture and history are found around the lake. Lingyin Temple is one of China’s largest and most influential Buddhist temples, with its majestic white-walled halls and pavilions drawing visitors from far away. Other exciting attractions include Six Harmonies Pagoda, Quyuan Garden, Leifeng Pagoda, and Huagang Park.
At night, admire the Colorful Clouds at dusk as they stretch across West Lake, reflecting a magical sight against the rippled surface of the lake; take a stroll along Su Causeway, which is lined with weeping willows, while stopping at intervals to view pagodas or bridges before heading back to your hotel at nightfall; or enjoy a dinner cruise on board a traditional Chinese junk gazing up at the stars in Hangzhou’s darkened skyline reflected on West Lake’s still surface.
Take a Boat Ride around West Lake
Why not take a leisurely boat ride around the shores of West Lake for a unique view of Hangzhou? Boats are available for hire on the lake, where you can observe traditional scenes from Chinese paintings, with gentle ripples of the lake against lush green hillsides. Enjoy this iconic view as your faithful boatman weaves around the lake and along meandering canals.
You’ll spot many ancient landmarks and temples dotted around, including:
- Lakshmi Temple – the oldest Buddhist temple in Hangzhou.
- Yue Fei Mausoleum – home to Chinese leader Yue Fei who was instrumental in China’s medieval successes.
- Warship Island – named after it resembles a battleship.
Savor these beautiful sights as you drift along in your boat – genuinely mesmerizing!
Visit the Nearby Temples
Visiting the nearby temples is one of the most-activities when in Hangzhou. Many scenic spots surround West Lake, and there are a variety of ancient temples for tourists to explore, most of which have a history as far back as the 10th century. Among these is the Temple of Tianning, the Temple of Military Sage Liang Hongyu, Lei Feng Temple, Hu Xueyan Ancestral Hall, and more.
The Temple of Military Sage Liang Hongyu was built in 1071 during the Song Dynasty in honor of General Lanling Liang Hongyu. It is considered one of the ten historical sites at West Lake. It is notable for being comprised entirely of wood with no nails or surface adhesives used in its construction – a testament to traditional Chinese carpentry techniques.
The Hu Xueyan Ancestral Hall was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) as part of an old residence belonging to Hu Xueyan – a successful merchant and politician. The former residence spans 11 courtyards and covers an area bigger than 800 meters squared. Surrounding it are lush green gardens decorated with Suzhou-style pavilions with red railing balustrades that bring out its old-world charm. Inside, visitors can feast their eyes on intricate carvings, sculptures, and calligraphies – works done by famous artisans from all over China, like Tang Yin, Dingjin, and Huang Binhong – testifying to the wealth that graced this place hundreds of years ago through its craftsmanship today.
Visit Hangzhou’s Tea Plantations
Hangzhou, China, is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and a tourist destination. One of the most popular activities for visitors to Hangzhou is exploring its many tea plantations.
From visiting the famous Longjing Tea Plantation to learning about the production process at local farms, there are many unique experiences to enjoy in Hangzhou. So let’s take a closer look!
Take a Tour of the Tea Plantations
Hangzhou’s green tea plantations are a must-see for all visitors. Here, you can get a firsthand view of the tea production process, from when the leaves are harvested to when the tea is packaged for sale. Tours of these plantations are available, where visitors can learn about how local farmers cultivate their crops and sample teas from some of Hangzhou’s oldest plantations.
At many plantations, worker-led tours take visitors through each step in creating traditional Chinese green tea. From picking the tender leaves off a hundred-year-old linden tree to roasting and drying them in hot woks, everything is done carefully and with detailed knowledge of one of China’s most famous export goods. After learning about each step in making fine Chinese green tea and tasting samples on-site, visitors can purchase batches directly from their tour guide or continue to one of Hangzhou’s renowned tea parlors for more sampling and information on regional teas.
The unique experience offered by visiting an Hangzhou tea plantation is something that shouldn’t be missed while visiting this beautiful city. Plan and schedule your visit to ensure an opportunity to observe firsthand one of China’s most important cultural traditions.
Sample the Various Teas Available
Hangzhou is a tea-lovers paradise known worldwide for its renowned Longjing green tea (Dragon Well in the West). In addition, there are many tea plantations around Hangzhou, where tourists can experience different types of teas and learn about their production processes.
China’s traditional tea ceremonies are an integral part of the culture, making it essential to sample what’s available. The most popular Chinese tea in Hangzhou is green tea, but there are also black, flower, jasmine, and white teas. Some famous varieties originating from Hangzhou include Anji White Tea and Dragon Well. Whether it’s a steaming cup of oolong or a fragrant brew made with orange blossoms, visitors will find lots of variety at the plantations near Hangzhou.
Several tour packages offer visitors an insight into this traditional Chinese activity and invite them to sample some of the finest teas in China. Private and group tours usually involve visiting several view spots, such as Xitang Village or Buddhayana Escape Park, where visitors can take part in tea-picking activities and learn more about Chinese culture while enjoying scenic landscapes along West Lake and surrounding areas.
Learn about the History of Tea in China
China is well known for its tea culture and production of quality teas. Tea has been a key part of Chinese culture for centuries, and visitors can explore the history of tea with a visit to Hangzhou’s tea plantations. Located in the area known as the “Tea Capital of China,” Hangzhou is home to some of the most respected and well-known tea producers in Asia. From Longjing Green Tea and White Monkey Green Tea to Pu’er (red/black) tea, there is something for everyone at Hangzhou’s sprawling plantations.
A tour of Chinese tea plantations in Hangzhou allows travelers to experience firsthand the skillful process of selecting, growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, and brewing the teas that China has grown famous for. Visitors can observe masterful hand-picking techniques or participate in tea ceremony rituals on select plantations throughout the area. Traditional pagodas constructed from vibrant red brick sit nestled among lush green gardens bustling with life – crickets chirping as bees dart between fragrant flowers and fluttering butterflies passing over colorful camellias. It is also not uncommon to find freshly roasted chestnuts sold near designated viewing platforms along specific hiking trails throughout some of Hangzhou’s plantations.
Whether you’re interested in learning about China’s history with tea or just looking forward to savoring some renowned local teas while soaking up stunning views of the surrounding hillsides – numerous opportunities are waiting at Hangzhou’s exquisite tea plantations.
Explore the Ancient City
Hangzhou, located in eastern China, is an ancient city with a rich history dating back to 476 BC. Its many attractions draw tourists from all over the world. A visit to Hangzhou takes visitors back in time, allowing them to explore the city’s ancient culture.
This article will provide a closer look at some of the intriguing historical sites in the city and activities to do while visiting:
Visit the Ancient City Walls
For visitors interested in exploring the history of Hangzhou, a trip to see the ancient city walls is a must. This site is one of China’s best-preserved cities from the past and offers an incredible experience for travelers. The city walls were built in 1098, over 800 years ago, and were designed to protect the city from invasion.
These ancient city walls have been preserved to give travelers an incredible view of history. Walking through this marvel of Chinese civilization, you will notice meticulous craftsmanship in each brick and stone. The walls are full of intricate carvings that reveal the immense power and creativity required to build them all those years ago. In addition, you can explore multiple towers that served as watchpoints for similar invaders and secret weapons stores that held powerful weapons like crossbows or giant stones meant for throwing at enemies.
In addition to exploring these grand structures, you can visit temples along the city wall offering an extra slice of Chinese culture, including Houzhu Temple with its Bronze Bells exhibit. In addition, if you’re feeling adventurous, there is also a scenic 5-kilometer walk along the exterior circumference walls, where you can take in incredible views of lotus ponds and flower gardens, among other picturesque scenes!
Explore the Old Streets and Alleyways
A great way to explore Hangzhou is by taking a stroll through some of the old streets and alleyways in the city. Starting at Hefang Street, you can walk up West Lake Culture Square, past the Twin Pagodas, and finally, along Zhongshan Alley. This route will take you through some of Hangzhou’s iconic sights, including Wansongjiao Square and Song Dynasty Town. Here you can discover ancient artifacts and glimpse life in Ancient China.
Along the way, be sure to indulge in some local delicacies like steamed buns and sweet treats from street vendors who are scattered along the street side. In addition, plenty of shops offer traditional Chinese items such as tea sets, Fans, and other souvenirs for you to buy. Finally, to complete your exploration of this ancient city, visiting Chenghuang Pavilion, which offers an impressive view of West Lake at night, is well worth it.
Visit the Traditional Markets and Shops
No trip to Hangzhou is complete without a visit to the traditional markets and shops of the city. For centuries, Hangzhou’s markets have provided locals and travelers access to art and crafts, traditional textiles, spices, tea, medicinal ingredients, and local cuisine. In addition, many of these markets are vibrant centers of culture and commerce.
Stroll along the winding alleys of Shihuqiao Market, where shoppers can find almost anything and enjoy a snack while they bargain with merchants. Spend time at Qiuci Cloth Store picking out beautiful fabrics for new garments, or explore the workshops at Hangzhou Silk Market to learn more about local techniques used in creating silk products.
No matter where you go in Hangzhou’s traditional marketplaces, you’ll get an up-close look into daily life in this ancient city.
Visit the Lingyin Temple
Lingyin Temple is one of Hangzhou, China’s most popular tourist attractions. Located northwest of the city, the Lingyin Temple is sacred among worshippers and non-Buddhists. This thousand-year-old temple has numerous statues, a tranquil pond, and several temples. Visiting the temple is a great way to explore the city’s rich history and learn more about this spiritual destination.
Explore the Temple Grounds
Lingyin Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple on the northwest side of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Established in 326 AD during the Eastern Jin dynasty, it is one of China’s largest and most important Buddhist temples.
As you explore the grounds of the Lingyin Temple, you’ll be able to appreciate its ancient beauty and modern renovations. The most eye-catching feature is its magnificent mountain backdrop: numerous steep peaks covered in lush vegetation towers behind it. Other attractions include halls and courtyards, statues from influential Buddhist figures throughout history, including Mi Le Fo (an incarnate responsible for introducing Buddhism to China during the Eastern Jin Dynasty), and Yin Shun (a renowned scholar best known for his advocacy of Humanism).
The setting features a small lake surrounded by old trees and greenery – a stunning backdrop that truly captures what makes Lingyin such a captivating destination. Inside the temple complex, several gardens are filled with colorful lotus plants and buildings adorned with carvings reminiscent of early Chinese temples. You can also find various inscriptions scattered around, which exhibit tremendous skill on the part of the sculptors.
If you’d like to purchase souvenirs from your visit to Lingyin Temple, several shops are selling traditional Chinese handicrafts and books dedicated to Buddhism and culture inside the grounds. There’s also an intriguing Fortune Hall near one of the entrances where visitors can receive fortunes written exclusively for them based on their life paths!
Learn about the History of the Temple
The Lingyin Temple is an important Buddhist temple on the northwestern outskirts of Hangzhou in eastern China. The temple was founded in 326 AD by an Indian monk, Huili. It is one of the most visited tourist spots in China. Its elegant yet peaceful atmosphere and its spectacular surroundings often leave visitors awestruck.
The name Lingyin Temple translates to ‘the soul’s retreat.’ Over the centuries, the temple has long been a spiritual haven connecting man and nature. Initially, it was populated with members of the Chinese aristocracy but later opened its doors to everyone regardless of caste or social standing.
The main hall contains five Buddha statues carved from sandalwood trees. These include Shakyamuni Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, Medicine Buddha, Vairocana Maha Bhaisajya Guru, and Mahavira, which stand side by side around an impressive altar open to the appreciation of Buddhists throughout China.
Every year more religious pilgrims visit to pay homage to this famous Chinese Buddhist temple than any other in China. Visitors can explore 36 distinct halls inside Lingyin Temple, including the Hall of Heavenly Kings and Grand Hall of Three Sages, or enjoy a stroll through its lovely gardens or scenic hiking trails just outside the walls.
Take in the Stunning Views of the Surrounding Area
Taking in the spectacular views from the Lingyin Temple is a significant highlight of your visit. The temple sits atop Mount Yuelun and offers stunning views of Hangzhou and nearby West Lake. However, it would help to ascend steep stairs before reaching the peak to get these picturesque views.
At the top, visitors are rewarded with a birds-eye view that takes all of Hangzhou as far as the eye can see. The main building at Lingyin Temple is surrounded by many smaller pagodas and monuments that take advantage of the incredible vista around them. The vantage point is perfect for individuals looking to capture a few great shots or relax and take in their surroundings.
Regardless, there’s something magical about taking some time to appreciate this beautiful, natural scenery that has attracted visitors to Lingyin Temple since its founding during the Eastern Jin dynasty (A.D 265-420). From this peak, it’s possible to glimpse two of China’s five tall mandarin ducks statues scattered throughout critical points in this city’s natural landscape, adding a bonus for those who make it up to the mountain’s peak!
Enjoy the Cuisine
Hangzhou is known for its delicious cuisine, and the city has no shortage of delightful dishes. Savory soups, fresh seafood, steaming dumplings, and mouth-watering desserts are all available. In Hangzhou, you can easily find everything from simple street food to high-end cuisine.
Let’s learn more about some of the best local delicacies:
Taste the Local Delicacies
Hangzhou, China, is renowned for its various flavors and local delicacies. With its combination of the four main Chinese cuisines – Shandong, Sichuan, Cantonese, and Jiangsu – and unique regional specialties, visitors to Hangzhou can enjoy a unique culinary experience.
A wide selection is available for those who wish to try some of the traditional dishes that characterize Hangzhou cuisine. Popular dishes include Dongpo pork (braised pork cubes), Beggar’s chicken (stuffed chicken cooked in lotus leaf and clay), West Lake vinegar fish (fish cooked in vinegar sauce), and Ping-Bee Bee pastry (a light pastry filled with red bean paste).
Visitors may also sample some of the region’s other specialties like Liangxi chops (steamed buns made with shrimp and chives filling), husband-and-wife lung slices (a plate of marinated beef and donkey meat) or bee puffs (puff pastries filled with sweetened bean paste). There are also numerous other options for the adventurous diner, including foods like duck blood soup, steamed black carp head, or tofu made with jellyfish!
No matter your taste preferences, you will find something delicious when visiting Hangzhou, whether it be a classic comfort food or an exotic specialty. From street snacks to five-star restaurant fare and remote villages to buzzing city streets–the flavors of Hangzhou are one-of-a-kind. So explore this vibrant city and enjoy all it has to offer your palate!
Enjoy the Street Food
Hangzhou has a vibrant street food culture, with a fantastic array of snacks, sweet treats, and local specialties. Some of the most popular dishes include dumplings, scallion pancakes, noodles, and grilled skewers of fish or meat. Also, look out for stalls selling shaobing – sesame-coated layered bread served hot with sugar. Street food is cheap and delicious – the perfect way to refuel after a day exploring the city’s sights.
When it comes to drinks, tea culture reigns supreme in Hangzhou. Visitors can find some of the best teas in China here – from traditional yellow tea and Longjing green tea to fragrant jasmine teas and homemade fruit juices. So whether you’re looking for a refreshing beverage or something more substantial to fill you up during your travels, Hangzhou has something for everyone’s taste buds!
Sample the Local Dishes
Hangzhou is a city in eastern China and home to some of the most delicious cuisine in the entire country. Locals and visitors enjoy sampling the delectable dishes highlighting the area’s many culinary influences. With its rice fields, fish markets, and vegetable gardens, Hangzhou boasts an array of unique dishes you won’t find anywhere else.
Among Hangzhou’s native food favorites are:
- West lake fish in vinegar sauce
- Lion’s head meatballs
- Longjing shrimp
- Beef or pork with bamboo shoots
- Steamed buns stuffed with sweet paste
- Steamed cakes made from preserved bean curd
The city also enjoys a particular prominence regarding various soups and broths. Be sure to stop at restaurants like Louwailou for its famous soup dumplings called xiao long bao.
Vegan-friendly eateries like Pure Lotus Vegan offer savory bites for those looking for something lighter. At the same time, Sincerity Cafe & Roastery specializes in artisanal coffee roasts that pair well with treats like macarons, muffins, and scones.
You can find it all in Hangzhou, no matter what cuisine you’re searching for — from traditional street food to upscale gourmet eats!