The Top 10 Things To Do and See in Hangzhou, China

The Top 10 Things To Do and See in Hangzhou, China
Hangzhou is one of the most prosperous cities in China. And, in such a rich town, so many of the ancient architectural and heritage sites are maintained properly that they have become the most popular tourists spots in Hangzhou. Besides the most famous scenic spot, the West Lake, there are indeed many other great constructions worth visiting. If you don’t know where to go, just read our guide to the top things to do and see in Hangzhou.

Xihu (West Lake)

In Hangzhou, the West Lake is definitely a must-see spot. It is an incredibly beautiful lake saturated with a lot of gardens, pagoda, temples, and lovely artificial islands. Because of its heavenly beauty, the West Lake was bestowed as one of the top ten resorts in China in 1985, and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011 due to its influenced garden design. The West Lake is particularly famous for its ten tremendous scenes, which are collectively known as the ‘Xihu Shi Jing’ (Ten Scenic Spots in the West Lake), and each is just heaven-like.

Xihu, Xihu District, Hangzhou, China, +86 571 8717 9617

Lingyin Temple

Opened in 326AD, during the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Lingyin Temple is a nostalgic temple founded by Master Hui Li, a Western Indian monk. It is one of the oldest and largest Buddhist temples in China, and, being very beautiful and solemn, many tourists love going there to appreciate the great architectural style. The temple is very grand, with several sacred halls, like the Heavenly Kings Hall, the Mahavira Hall, and the Yaowang Hall, covering a total area of around 90,000 meter squared.

Lingyin Temple, 1 Fayun Alley, Lingyin Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou, China, +86 571 8796 8665

Fei Lai Feng

Located next to the grand Buddhist Lingyin Temple, Fei Lai Feng, a mountain mainly composed of limestone, is 168 meters high and consists of 345 handcrafted stone Buddha statues. The statues are all ancient, and were mainly crafted during the Song, the Yuan, and the Five Dynasties (the later Liang, Tang, Jin, Han, and Zhou dynasties), an they are really delicate, sacred, and solemn. It is named ‘Fei Lai’ (‘flying’) because there is a folktale saying that the mountain indeed ‘flew’ from another place and landed on the current location (just like a meteorite).

Opening hours: 7.30am-5pm

Fei Lai Feng, Lingxi South Road, Xihu Distict, Hangzhou, China,+86 571 8796 9691

Leifeng Pagoda

Constructed in 975AD, during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, Leifeng Pagoda is an antiquated five-storey tower with eight sides and located on the south of the West Lake. The pagoda is very famous because of a Chinese folktale, The Legend of the White Snake, describing the story of a scholar, Xu Xian, and a snake demon called Bai Suzhen. It is said that Bai was finally imprisoned by a Buddhist monk in Leifeng Pagoda for eternity. The story brings fame to the pagoda, making it well-known to every Chinese person, and a very popular tourist spot in Hangzhou.

Opening hours: 7.30am-9pm

Leifeng Pagoda, 15 Nanshan Road, Xihu District Hangzhou, China, +86 571 8798 2111

Xixi Wetland Park

Xixi Wetland Park
Xixi Wetland Park | © Chiang Jacques/Flickr
Xixi Wetland Park is a very giant tourist spot covering a total area of 11.5 square kilometres. It is one of China’s national 5A-level tourist attractions (a system that rates the quality of tourist attractions in China). There are six main watercourses, a lot of wild animals, natural plants, and beautiful scenery which can definitely provide you with a refreshing and wholesome experience. There are indeed many great scenic spots worth visiting, such as the hazy fisher village, the autumn snow temple, the anchorage thatching, and the Xixi water attic. All are just fabulously picturesque locations that you can find nowhere but here. Opening hours: 8.30am-5.30pm Xixi Wetland Park, Xhoujia Village, Xihu District, Hangzhou, China
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Eat Hang Dim Sum in Zhi Wei Guan

If you want to try some delicious Hang dim sum, Zhi Wei Guan is surely somewhere should not be missed. This eatery opened in 1913, and offers orthodox Hang snacks and desserts. They provide a wide variety of dims sum which are a budget eating option, ranging from only RMB10 to 20, while some traditional Hang dishes can also be tried here, including Xihu fish in vinegar gravy and beggar’s chicken. The dining environment is also incredibly cosy, with a lovely terrace where you can enjoy the beautiful Xihu (West Lake) while eating.

Price: budget

Opening hours: 8am-10pm daily

Zhi Wei Guan, 83 Renhe Road, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou, China, +86 571 8701 8638

Songcheng Park

The Romantic Show of Songcheng
The Romantic Show of Songcheng | © Andri Ratman/Flickr
Opened in 1996, Songcheng is the biggest Song Dynasty theme park in China, receiving around six million tourists per year. The Romantic Show of Songcheng is a must-watch, as it is an amazing show which has already been performed over 17,000. Also, it is a great performance bestowed as one of the ‘Top Three Most Famous Shows in the World’, along with the O Show and the Moulin Rouge. If you love Chinese culture you should surely visit this park, as you will be able to learn about many ancient Chinese custom and stories through their interesting activities. Opening hours: 9am-9pm Songcheng Park, 148 Zhijiang Avenue, Xihu District, Hangzhou, China
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Walk around Hefang Street

Being part of the Qinghe Lane, Hefang Street is an antiqued pedestrian shopping street saturated with many ancient-style vendors, shops and teahouses, such as pillow shops, paper-cutting stores, and sugar candy sculptors. You can also find some famous time-honoured shops on the street, such as Hu Qing Yu Tang and Fang Hui Chun Tang selling Chinese medicine, the scissor store Zhang Xiao Quan, as well as the Wan Long ham store, which are all local and historic. Walking around the street, you can experience the life of ancient Hangzhou people, and this is surely a fabulous experience.

Hefang Street, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou, China

Former Residence of Hu Xueyan

Constructed betwenn 1872 and 1875, during the Qing Dynasty, this grand house complex with beautiful gardens and ponds was built by the famous red topped hat (denoting a second-grade officer in the Qing government) merchant, Hu Xueyan. His residence is extremely luxurious, with plenty of valuable antiques, rare paintings, expensive wooden furniture, and even some trendy Western ornaments, revealing a Sino-Western cultural mix. Besides those precious decorations, the interior design of each room is also incredibly fabulous, with a good layout and delicate sculptures on the doors, window frames, and furniture.

Opening hours: 8am-5.30 daily

Former Residence of Xueyan Hu, 18 Yuanbao Street, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou, China

Dining in Hyatt 28

If you want to have a fine meal in Hangzhou, Hyatt 28, a decent restaurant located in the Hyatt Hotel, is probably somewhere you should go, since it has been one of Asia’s 50 best restaurants for three years. They offer traditional Hang cuisine, which is normally light and delicate. For example, the Dongpo pork pyramid is a very exquisite dish which needs fresh ingredients and great knife skills, as the juicy pork belly has to be sliced into very thin pieces.

Price: fine-dining

Opening hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30-9.30pm daily

Watch out for: the Dongpo pork pyramid

Hyatt 28, Hyatt Hotel, 28 Hubin Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou, China, +86 571 8779 1234

By Katherine Lee Yik Mei