Hangzhou is called "the paradise on earth". It is located only about one hour from Shanghai via train.
Hangzhou is a medium-sized city situated in East China and has a perfect mix of history, culture, nature and modern city life. It is located only about one hour from Shanghai via train.
Hangzhou is one of the most famous cities in China, having the most famous lake in China, the West Lake. The West Lake has beautiful hills, springs, ancient pagodas, and more. While it is one of China's ancient capitals with much cultural and historical heritage, it is also one of China's most modern cities. The city is quite developed with cafes, shopping malls, an efficient transportation system, and vibrant nightlife.
Hangzhou city is one of the safest in China as well as one of the most clean. The city's pleasant living environment has received many civic awards, including:
- United Nations Human Habitat Award (2001)
- International Garden City Award by the International Park and Amusement Association (2002).
- No. 1 City in China with Best Investment Environment awarded by World Bank (2003 and 2004) and Forbes Magazine (2004).
- Ranked as the most secure city in China by China's National Public Security Bureau.
Hangzhou is known as a laid-back city with a nice living environment. The city is dotted with many gardens, parks, cafes, nice restaurants and tea houses. Hangzhou's museums and parks are also free - you can hardly find those in other Chinese cities nowadays! This is a major factor for many deciding to come and live in China who want to avoid bigger developed cities such as Beijing or Shanghai. The pace of life is not so rushed, and the skies and cityscape are clean and clear instead of dark and grey.
You can take a stroll around the main city area to immerse yourself in the daily activities of the locals, or around West Lake to enjoy the natural scenery. Walking in summer might be unbearable due to the scorching heat. In winter, despite the cold, it is still worth a stroll due to beautiful snow scenes. Look out for the huge crowd rushing from Shanghai to watch the snow melt from Baidi's "Broken Bridge" (Duanqiao ææ¡¥). It takes 3 hours to walk around the 12 kilometers circumference of West Lake.
There are three main causeways across West Lake: Baidi which is 2 kilometers long and takes around 30 minutes; Sudi at a distance of 2.7 kilometers and takes about 40 minutes; Yanggongdi, 3 kilometers long, takes about 50 minutes.
There are many bicycle rental kiosks around the city but the bicycle rental card can only be applied at four locations. Bring along your passport for identification purposes when applying for the bicycle rental card.
The main entrance of Orioles Singing in the Willows Park (Liulangwenying 柳浪闻莺) at No. 11 Nanshan Road (Nanshan Lu 南山路) near West Lake Museum. The main entrance of Wushan Square (Wushan guangchang 吴山广场) at Hefang Street (Jefang Jie 河坊街) near Wushan Square public transport station (Wushan guangchang gong jiao zhan 吴山广场公交站). The main entrance of Youth Palace (Qingshao niangong青少年宫) at Beishan Road (Beishan Lu 北山路), Baochu Road (Baochu Lu保俶路) near "Broken Bridge" (Duanqiao 断桥). At Hangzhou Bus IC Card Service Center (Long xiang qiao). Address: 20 Longxiang Road.
Public bus services to tourist places are Y1, Y7, Y9 and K7. K7 departs from Hangzhou Railway Station. 'K' buses stop at several places of interest and 'Y' buses are tour buses with tour guides to introduce places along the way in Chinese. There are English and Chinese announcements at every stop.
Do note that "Y" buses end their services early. Y1 (round trip from Lingyin Temple and back): 8am - 5pm. Y2 (Lingyin Temple to Hangzhou Railway Station, both ways): 8am - 6pm. Y7 (zoo to Hangzhou East Railway Station): 8am - 5pm, Y7 (Hangzhou East Railway Station to zoo): 7am - 4.20pm. Y9 (round trip from Huanglong Sports Center, huanglong ti yu zhong xin黄龙体育中心 and back): 8am - 5.15pm.
For more information on bus routes, go to: http://www.hzbus.com.cn.
Tickets: Bus tickets are bought upon boarding so make sure that you have small change as there will be no change given.
Fares: 1.50 to 2 yuan for common buses, 3-5 yuan for tour buses.
For K7, the normal fare is 2 yuan, except for March, April, October and November (1 yuan) when air-conditioning is not necessary.
Empty cabs or cabs for hire usually have a green or yellow-orange light on the dashboard of the car. It is important to note that if you are rushing to catch a train or a flight, it is difficult to flag down a cab between 4pm to 7pm as it is rush hour and cabs are in the midst of changing shifts. If you cannot speak Chinese, make sure that you have a map with you so that you can point out your destination.
Fare: Basic at 11 yuan (10 yuan for the first 3km and additional 1 yuan for fuel fee). For distance within 10km, the rate is 2.5 yuan/km; for distance above 10km, the rate is 3.75 yuan/km. The waiting charge is 2.5 yuan/4 minutes. No peak hour or night surcharges.