Hangzhou

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Hangzhou - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. China Tea Museum

    Surrounded by tranquil tea plant fields, this engaging museum explores all facets of China's tea culture. Galleries contain fascinating information about the varieties and quality of leaves, brewing techniques, and gathering methods, all with good English explanations. A shop offers a wide range of teas, without the bargaining you'll encounter at Dragon Well Tea Park.

    88 Longjing Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310003, China
    0571-8796–4221

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Tues.–Sun., 8:30–4:30
  • 2. Evening Sunlight at Thunder Peak Pagoda

    On the southeastern shore of West Lake is the Evening Sunlight at Thunder Peak Pagoda. Local legend says that the original Thunder Peak Pagoda was constructed to imprison a snake-turned-human who lost her mortal love on West Lake. The pagoda collapsed in 1924, perhaps finally freeing the White Snake. A new tower, completed in 2002, sits beside the remains of its predecessor. There's a sculpture on each level, including one that depicts the tragic story of the White Snake. The foundation dates from AD 976 and is an active archaeological site, where scientists uncovered a miniature silver pagoda containing what is said to be a lock of the Buddha's hair; it's on display in a separate hall. The view of the lake is breathtaking, particularly at sunset.

    15 Nanshan Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310000, China
    0571-8798–2111

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y40, Daily 8 am–8:30 pm
  • 3. Lingyin Temple

    One of the major Zen Buddhist shrines in China, Lingyin Temple (Temple of the Soul's Retreat) was founded in AD 328 by Hui Li, a Buddhist monk from India. He looked at the surrounding mountains and exclaimed, "This is the place where the souls of immortals retreat," hence the name. This site is especially notable for religious carvings on the nearby Peak Flown From Afar (Feilai Feng). From the 10th to the 14th century, monks and artists carved more than 300 statues in and around these grottos. Uprisings, revolutions, and wars have changed the face of the shrine. The main temple was restored in 1974 following the end of the Cultural Revolution. About 5 km (3 miles) west of West Lake, the temple and carvings are among the most popular spots in Hangzhou and as such are positively teeming come weekends. To avoid crowds, visit on weekdays.

    End of Lingyin Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310012, China
    0571-8796–8665

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Carvings Y45, temple Y30, Park daily 5:30–5:30, temple daily 7–5:30
  • 4. Cathay View Foot Massage

    Spa–Sight

    Reward yourself with a heavenly foot or full-body massage at Cathay View Foot Massage. For a quick respite, try the 45-minute foot massage (Y158), or settle in for a 90-minute body massage (Y228) that includes a generous spread of tea, fruit, and snacks in a cozy, dimly lit private room. This spot is just off Nanshan Lu, down a small street near the

    7 Qingbo Jie, off Nanshan Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310002, China
    0571-8768–0118
  • 5. China National Silk Museum

    From worm to weave, the huge China National Silk Museum explores traditional silk production, illustrating every step of the process. By the end, you'll comprehend the cost of this fine fiber made from cocoons of mulberry-munching larvae. On display are looms, brocades, and a rotating exhibit of historic robes from different Chinese dynasties. The first-floor shop has the city's largest selection of silk, and sells it by the meter. The museum is south of West Lake, on the road to Jade Emperor Hill.

    73–1 Yuhuangshan Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310002, China
    0571-8703–5150

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Daily 9–4:45
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  • 6. Dragon Well Tea Park

    This park is named for an ancient well whose water is considered ideal for brewing the famous local longjing (Dragon Well) tea. Distinguishing between varieties and grades of tea can be confusing for novices, especially under high pressure from the eager hawkers. It's worth a preliminary trip to the nearby tea museum to bone up on what's what. The highest quality varieties are very expensive, but once you take a sip you will taste the difference. Prices are intentionally high, so be sure to bargain.

    Longjing Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310003, China
  • 7. Dreaming of the Tiger Spring

    According to legend, a traveling monk decided this setting would be perfect for a temple, but was disappointed to discover that there was no source of water. That night he dreamed that two tigers had ripped up the earth around him. When he awoke he was lying next to a spring. On the grounds is an intriguing "dripping wall" cut out of the mountain. Locals line up with jugs to collect the water that pours from its surface, believing that the water has special qualities—and it does. Ask someone in the temple's souvenir shop to float a coin on the surface of the water to prove it.

    Hupao Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310011, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y15, Daily 6–6
  • 8. Orioles Singing in the Willows

    Along the eastern bank of West Lake is Orioles Singing in the Willows, a nice park from which to watch boats traverse the water. The park comes alive during Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month, usually in February or March. Paper lanterns are set to float on the river under the willow boughs.

    11 Nanshan Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310007, China
  • 9. Pagoda of Six Harmonies

    Atop Moon Mountain stands the impressive Pagoda of Six Harmonies, also referred to as the Liuhe Pagoda. Those who climb to the top of the seven-story pagoda are rewarded with great views across the Qiantang River. Originally lanterns were lit in its windows and the pagoda served as a lighthouse for ships navigating the river. On the 18th day of the eighth lunar month, the pagoda is packed with people wanting the best seat to view the Qiantang Tidal Bore. On this day, the flow of the river reverses itself, creating large waves that for centuries have delighted observers. Behind the pagoda is a large park, one of our favorite family-friendly spaces in Hangzhou. The grounds house an exhibit of 100 or so miniature pagodas, representing every Chinese style. The pagoda is 4 km (2½ miles) south of West Lake.

    16 Zhijiang Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310011, China
    0571-8717–9617

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y30, Daily 6:30 am–5:30 pm
  • 10. Precious Stone Hill

    The slender spire of Baochu Pagoda rises atop the romantically named Precious Stone Hill Floating in Rosy Clouds. The brick and stone pagoda is visible from just about anywhere on the lake. From the hilltop you can see across the lake to the city. Numerous paths from the lake lead up the hill, which is dotted with Buddhist and Taoist shrines. Several caves provide shade from the hot summer sun.

    North of West Lake, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310000, China
  • 11. Solitary Hill Island

    A palace for the exclusive use of the emperor during his visits to Hangzhou once stood on Solitary Hill Island, the largest island in West Lake. On its southern side is a small, carefully composed park with several pavilions and a pond. A path leads up the hill to the Xiling Seal Engraver's Society, where professional carvers design and create seals. The society's garden has one of the best views of the lake.

    Bai Causeway, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310002, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Daily 8–dusk
  • 12. Three Pools Mirroring the Moon

    Here you'll find walkways surrounding several large ponds, all connected by zigzagging bridges. Off the island's southern shore are three Ming Dynasty–era mini stone pagodas. During the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, held in the middle of September, lanterns are lit in the pagodas, creating the reflections that give the island its name. Leisure boats from several spots around the lake, including a dock near Yue Fei's memorial, will shuttle you to the pagodas for around Y55.

    Southern side of West Lake, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310002, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y55, includes boat ride, Daily 7–5:30
  • 13. Tomb of Yue Fei

    Near Solitary Hill Island stands this shrine to honor General Yue Fei (1103–42), who led Song Dynasty armies against foreign invaders. When he was a young man, his mother tattooed his back with the commandment "Repay the nation with loyalty." This made Yue Fei a hero both for his patriotic loyalty and filial piety. At the height of his success, a jealous rival convinced the emperor to have Yue Fei executed. A subsequent leader pardoned the warrior and enshrined him as a national hero. Statues of Yue Fei's accusers kneel in shame nearby. Traditionally, visitors would spit on statues of the traitors, but now a sign near the statue asks them to glare instead.

    80 Beishan Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310017, China
    0571-8798–6653

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y25, Closed Mon., Daily 7:30–6
  • 14. West Lake

    With arched bridges stretching over the water, West Lake is the heart of Hangzhou. Originally a bay, the area has been built up gradually throughout the years by a combination of natural changes and human shaping of the land. The photogenic shores are enhanced by meandering paths, artificial islands, and countless pavilions with upturned roofs. Two pedestrian causeways cross the lake: Bai in the north and Su in the west. They are named for two poet–governors from different eras who invested in landscaping and developing the lake. Ideal for strolling or biking, both walkways are lined with willow and peach trees, crossed by bridges, and dotted with benches where you can pause to admire the views. The lake's pathways are jam-packed on weekends and during holidays, particularly Golden Week (first week of October).

    Along Nanshan Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310002, China
    View Tours and Activities
  • 15. Yellow Dragon Cave

    At the foot of Gem Hill is Yellow Dragon Cave, famous for a never-ending stream of water spurting from the head of a yellow dragon. Nearby are a lovely garden plus a stage for traditional Yue opera performances, and you can take a pleasant 25-minute hike through the woods to the Tomb of Yue Fei from the site.

    69 Shuguang Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310007, China
    0571-8797–2468

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y15, Daily 8–6
  • 16. Zhejiang Provincial Museum

    Solitary Hill Island is home to the Zhejiang Provincial Museum, which has a good collection of archaeological finds, as well as bronzes, paintings, and exhibits focusing on the province's ethnic minority groups. English signage isn't great here, but the visuals themselves are enticing.

    25 Gushan Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310000, China
    0571-8798–0281

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon., Weekdays 8:30–4:30

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