Hangzhou, China was my home for close to a year. I taught English as a second language at a kindergarten and absolutely loved it. There’s a saying in China that goes “ If Heaven has paradise, the Earth has Suzhou and Hangzhou”. My school was a 15 min walk to the biggest attractions in Hangzhou. So I spent a lot of time in these locations.
So here it is!
Top 8 Things To Do In Hangzhou
Go To West Lake
Bring your camera because this is absolutely beautiful. Do not leave Hangzhou without visiting West Lake. West Lake is named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. There are several ways to get here, I personally lived here, so I would take the train and get off at Ding’an Road Station exit C then take an additional 15 min walk there. You can get off at Longxiangqiao Station Exit C. Longxiangqiao is also connected to a HUGE shopping mall. Also, you can take the bus, but I wouldn’t recommend this if your Chinese isn’t strong. Taking a Didi ( Chinese Uber) would be the fastest way but not the cheapest.
I would recommend taking the train to Ding’an( if you like to walk ) or Longxiangqiao( easiest shortest option) Station. You can enter west lake into the GPS to begin walking towards the lake. For an even more accurate location enter Starbucks West Lake location which is :
147 Nanshan Rd, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Yes, Starbucks is there and you should try it. This Starbucks is huge and has a patio area for you to get your drinks and sit near the lake. West Lake offers a lot of tours so you can pay for a boat tour across the lake or take a minibus ride along the lake or simply just walk .. that one is free.
There’s also a lot of restaurants.
#Traveltip Didi drivers prefer not to use cash, so try to have exact change or use Alipay tourist pass.
#Traveltip if you are taking the train you need a metro/train card. You will see a Ticket Machine that’s where you will get your metro card, Pick your station you like to arrive in, pay the fare fee, and when on the train listen for your stop.
2. Qinghefang Ancient Street
I accidentally discovered this while on my lunch break while Teaching. As a teacher, I had a 2-hour break while the kids napped so I would explore the area I was in which was Ding’an Road Station. There’s a lot to do at Qinghefang Ancient Street, food, Tea, souvenirs, silk, Chinese traditional Medicine, and Restaurants.
So, to get to Qinghefang Ancient Street you would take Metro Line 1 and get off at Ding’an Road exit C. As soon as you are out of the train station and off both sets of the elevators take a left and walk straight for 15 minutes, you will run into Qinghefang Ancient Street which will be on your left.
Hangzhou is famous for its Longjing Tea. This tea comes from Longjing Tea Village. Spend the day or half the day here. The best way to get to the village is to start from West Lake area and take a Bus. The village is surrounded by Green Terrance. The village is far from the city and is peaceful and quiet. Bring your sneakers because you will be doing a lot of walking and sightseeing.
4. Nightlife Go to Clubs and Bars
Chinese clubs are a lot of fun. Now, this all depends on who you are with, when you are going, and if it is a popular night. My first time out was the best time ever! It was because of the friendships I’ve built and I had an open mind.
So while you’re staying in Hangzhou visit these clubs.
#TravelTips Sometimes as a foreigner the owner or other people may offer you free drinks
Here are the clubs to visit while in Hangzhou :
SOS is amazing, Its like a huge EDM club with a mosh pit and huge Tank filled with Baby Sharks … yes, SHARKS. They have a variety of DJs for different nights.I would make this your last stop on your night out or come late. It’s fun when it jam-pack.
Basement is a chill spot it can be your first stop, think of it as the pregame spot. They often have a drink special and plays a variety of music but primarily hip hop.
Wade’s is a foreign bar. So all of the foreigners living and working in Hangzhou come here to socialize. They have really good western food here. It’s a bar/restaurant so some nights are hit or miss but if you arrive early they usually have a special for drinks like buy one get one free
5. Try Hot Pot
Can’t visit Hangzhou without trying Hot Pots
I personally am not a fan of Hot Pot unless I make it myself. There’s a lot of foreign Ingredients I personally do not like, so I only go to the create your own Hot Pot. There are hot pot restaurants that you can make your own. I had a really good one right below my apartment. Also create your own Hot Pot was my first dish when I arrived in China. At a create your own Hot Pot, there are different ingredients and you chose what you want in your hot pot which is like a soup and then they weigh it and they make it for you
Depending on how long you are staying in Hangzhou, take a 2-hour bus trip to Wuzhen to get the most out of your trip.Wuzhen is known as a water town and it is beautiful. Once leaving modern Hangzhou and arriving in Wuzhen you will feel like you are in ancient China. There are also a few attractions in Wuzhen where you can take a boat ride, visit museums, and attend Shadow plays. Shadow Plays is an ancient art of storytelling that is a form of entertainment created by displaying the shadow of handmade characters onto a screen along with Traditional Chinese musical instruments.
How to Get to Wuzhen Water Town from Hangzhou
1. Take a bus from Hangzhou Passenger Transport Central Station (Jiubao Passenger Transport Center). The bus departs about every 25 minutes from 7:00 to 18:20, with a fare of CNY 31.
2. Take a train from Hangzhou Railway Station or Hangzhou East Railway Station to Tongxiang Railway Station. Then change to local city bus K282 going to the site.
3. Travel by bus from Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport. The bus departs at 9:10, 10:00, 10:40, 11:10, 12:10, 13:00, 13:50, 14:40, 15:20, 16:10, 17:00, 18:00, 18:40, 19:10, 20:10 and 21:10. Ticket fare is CNY 42 and the duration is about 110 minutes. Upon arrival, take a local city bus to reach the scenic site.
Shanghai is a one-hour fast train away. If you are familiar with Hangzhou train station then taking a quick trip to Shanghai is the must. Go to the Hangzhou Railway Station, purchase your ticket, and walk to the gate. There will be employees that can help some may or may not speak English but just use your google translate when needed.
Make sure you visit The Bund and try to stay in Shanghai until night to see The Bund light up. The light show is really cool but be mindful of your departure time.
8. Go To Cirque Du Soleil
Cirque de Soleil is a famous french circus that travels around the world. They recently open a based location in Hangzhou that performs year-round. Usually, Cirque Du Soleil comes to different cities and performs for a few weeks then leave but this one is located in Hangzhou year-round. The show is fantastic it so well thought out. The performance is called The Land of Fantasy Cirque du Soleil describes it as “an epic and thrilling quest to reunite two ancient kingdoms, Petra and Aria, torn apart centuries ago. Harmony disrupted by a broken seal depicting a ‘yin-yang’ crest of a Dragon and Phoenix. The captivating legend is guided by The Watcher, a wise elder whose mechanical box unleashes the story. One that begins with two innocent infants, each left on the doorstep of the opposing kingdom’s palace. They both grow to emerge as the hero and heroine who challenge dangers and fight seemingly invincible forces, in the name of good for all.”
This is a must as well I really enjoy this performance I have been to other Cirque du Soleil shows and to me this is the best one.
That’s it! The 8 Best Things to do in Hangzhou China. Hangzhou is a beautiful place its the perfect combination of city and nature and I truly enjoy my time here. I hope this list helps you with your travel.