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● Hangzhou

Hangzhou

Hangzhou ,formerly romanized as Hangchow, is the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang Province in east China. It sits at the head of Hangzhou Bay, which separates Shanghai and Ningbo. Hangzhou grew to prominence as the southern terminus of the Grand Canal and has been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in China for much of the last millennium. The city's West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, immediately west of the city, is amongst its best-known attraction.


Climate

Hangzhou climate is generally warm and mild  all year round, with abundant sunshine and rainfall. There are four clear-cut seasons – a short and rainy spring, a hot and humid summer, a cool and clear autumn, and a dry and cold winter. There are two rainy seasons in the region – one is the Plum Rain Season beginning in late June through early July; the other comes with heavy rains and potential typhoons in August and September.High tourist season occurs in spring from March to May and autumn from September to November when the weather in Hangzhou is pleasant with an average temperature of 17C (63F).


Attractions

1.West Lake 

Embraced by mountains on three sides, the West Lake knits itself into the North Inner Lake, the Yuehu Lake, the West Inner Lake, the South Lake and the West Outer Lake by the fabric of the Bai Causeway, the Su Causeway and the Yang Causeway. Between the North Inner Lake and the West Outer Lake lies the largest natural island called the Solitary Hill. In addition, three man-made islands stand in the West Outer Lake: the Lesser Paradise Island, the Mid-lake Pavilion, and the Ruangong Islet; and two famous pagodas by the lake: the Leifeng Pagoda to the south and the Baochu Pagoda to the north.  Nowadays, West Lake is one of the top ten scenic areas in China, getting listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011. It is famous for the romantic legends and intoxicating scenery.

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2.Leifeng Pagoda

The Leifeng Pagoda stands on Leifeng Peak of Sunset Hill to the south of West Lake, echoing the Baochu Pagoda in the north. It is the oldest colorful bronze pagoda in China. Standing on the top of the pagoda, tourists can appreciate the nearby Jingci Temple, enjoy the landscapes of West Lake, and even see the city of Hangzhou from a distance. At dusk, the colorful evening glow and green mountains are mirrored in the rippling lake, forming a picturesque scene renowned as "Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow", one of the top ten scenes of West Lake.

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3.Temple of Soul's Retreat

You will find Temple of Soul's Retreat (Lingyin Temple) in a long, narrow valley between Peak Flown From Afar (Fei Lai Feng) and North Peak to the northwest of the West Lake at Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. It is without doubt a premier showpiece in the West Lake environs and is notable also as one of the ten most famous Buddhist temples of China. In 1961 it was listed for protection as a key provincial historical and cultural site and is considered a leading centre for research relative to Chinese Buddhist culture.

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4.Song Dynasty Town

Song Dynasty Town (Songcheng) is the largest theme park in Hangzhou, featuring the cultural characteristics of the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 AD), and also the first theme park built in Zhejiang. With Wuyun Mountain in the north, and West Lake to its northeast, it is on the northern bank of the Qiantang River. Its layout and architectural style are based on a precious ancient painting, 'Along the River during the Qingming Festival', which was made by famous painter Zhang Zeduan, displaying the urban landscape and people's living condition of that dynasty.

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Shopping

Hangzhou is well known for producing excellent silks, including satins. Throughout its long history, a variety of its silks and satins have been sold throughout the world. The best place for purchasing silk is at Silk City, the biggest silk wholesale and retail market in the country with more than 600 silk enterprises dealing in a wide variety of pure silk fabrics, garments, handicraft articles, scarves, and ties.

Hangzhou Longjing Tea (Dragon Well Tea) is considered China's best. It is not only famous for its unique green color, fragrant aroma, sweet taste, and flat appearance, but is also regarded as a health elixir. The tea falls into different grades; the best is the first pick of a year, normally in late March or early April. Besides its good quality, Longjing Tea also enjoys a famous long history. If you are interested in tea culture and history, Meijiawu Village in West Lake District is the ideal spot where you can have a cup of tea, watch a tea ceremony, and select tea under professional guidance.

Qinghefang Street, one of the most famous historic streets in the city, reflects features of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Most preserved buildings are from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Strolling on this street, you will be attracted by the antique buildings and local crafts, such as silk parasols, brocades, noted Zhang Xiaoquan scissors and Hangzhou fans.


Transportation

Air

Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH), around 17mi (27km) from the downtown, mainly serves Hangzhou and nearby cities like Huzhou, Shaoxing, Jiaxing, and Zhuji. It operates many air routes with Terminal A (International) and Terminal B (Domestic). Besides Hong Kong, Macau and Taipei, the international destinations include Singapore, Souel, Amsterdam, Pattaya, Phuket Island, Osaka, Tokyo, and Chiengmai. Domestic air routes from/to Beijing, Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou, Guangzhou, Guilin, Xian, Kunming, Lhasa, and Xiamen are available. The airport enjoys 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit policy, which is a great convenience for short-term visits.


Train

There are three railway stations in the city. High speed lines from/to Shanghai, Nanjing, Ningbo, and Changsha transport the most passengers.

Hangzhou Railway Station: Located at East Ring Road, Shangcheng District, it is also known as Chengzhan Railway Station. The station mainly operates trains that arrive at the city as a terminal station.

East Railway Station: It lies on Tiancheng Road, Jianggan District. Opened in 2013, it is now one of the largest high speed train hubs in east China, transporting a large amount of passengers daily.

South Railway Station: Originally named Xiaoshan Railway Station, it is around 17mi (27km) from Chengzhan Railway Station. The station hosts trains passing through the city. Now it is closed for renovation since Jul. 2013 and is expected to reopen by 2017.


Long-distance Bus

Five long-distance bus stations are in operation, serving passengers who travel in and out of Zhejiang. They are Passenger Transport Central Station (Jiubao Passenger Transport Center), West Bus Station, North Bus Station, South Bus Station and Hangzhou East Railway Highway Bus Station. Besides, local Tourist Dispatch Center plays an important role for long-distance travels and many buses are available to attractions near the city.


Ship / Cruise

Endowed with many rivers and lakes, the city supplies pleasant cruise, ferry and water bus travels. At present, the West Lake Cruise and Grand Canal Cruise enjoy the highest popularity. In addition, several routes of water bus assist in relieving the transportation pressure. The main routes are Pujia / Wulinmen – Gongchen Bridge (line 1), Wulinmen – Xixi Wuchang Pier (line 2), Datieguan – Banshan (Line 3), Chaomingsi Lane – Meihuabei (Line 7).


Metro

The city commences the metro era of Zhejiang with the opening of line 1 in 2012. According to long-term plan, there will be 10 metro lines by 2020, and the number will be 13 by 2050. By now, only line 1, line 2, and line 4 are operational. The fare ranges CNY2-8.


Public Bicycle

Touring the city, especially around the West Lake, by bike is the option of many locals and tourists. Just register a regular IC card or Z card, and one can easily rent a bike. The rental sites are easily accessible along the street, near scenic spots and busy passenger transport hubs, and some are even open for 24 hours. Hence rental and return services are quite convenient. The cost is free within an hour, CNY1 for 1-2 hours, CNY2 for 2-3 hours, and CNY3 for each additional hour if renting over 3 hours.

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