Home to the exquisite Longjing Green Tea
Famed for it's West Lake, Hangzhou is the capital city of Zhejiang province, one of the wealthiest regions in China, was described by Marco Polo as “beyond dispute the finest and noblest city in the world”. The lake has been a source of inspiration for many poets and artists for hundreds of years. The city is ringed by mountains full of tea plantations which produce the world-famous Longjing Green Tea, and a good quality, 500g bag of Longjing Tea will cost you more than £50! Lush gardens, forests, nature walks, temples, pagoda’s and of course the tranquil West Lake all await you in Hangzhou.
Here we have selected a few of the sights and experiences that you really should see on a visit to Hangzhou.
The pride and joy of Hangzhou, West Lake is one of it’s most popular destinations for tourists and locals alike, attracted by the panoramic scenery, weeping willow trees, flowering peach trees, ancient stone bridges and hills dotted with temples and pagoda’s.
Hangzhou’s West Lake is one of the birthplaces of Chinese green tea. The term “Long Jing” means Dragon Well referring to a local dragon who used to live in the wells. The ancient legend says during a period of drought a monk sought help from a lucky dragon who duly brought forth rain to save the crops. You can sample a cup of the local brew on a visit to a plantation – the best time is during the harvest season (March-May) where you can see the leaves being hand-picked.
Ling Yin Monastery
The Ling Yin Buddhist Monastery was originally founded by a Buddhist monk from India, it was constructed in 326 AD and is an example of one of China’s most significant and beautiful Buddhist Monasteries. The entrance to the temple is lined with rock grottoes that contain detailed carvings of the “laughing Buddha”. The centre-piece inside the temple a statue of Buddha, covered in gold leaf.
Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine
An eye opening cultural spot that shows the history of ancient Chinese herbal medicine – including displays of exotic ingredients being grown, cultivated and dried. The museum itself was originally a Chinese pharmacy founded in 1873, enjoying a reputation for it’s high quality medicines.
The food in Hangzhou is typical of Zhejiang province and has a reputation for it's smooth, fresh flavours and tender meats. Famous dishes like West Lake Sour Fish, Dong Po Pork, Longjing Shrimp Meat, Jiaohua Young Chickens, Steam Rice Flower and Pork Wrapped by Lotus Leaves, are well known and popular among both local people and tourists.
Built in 1851 and opened to the public in 1991, after being restored, the villa faces Spring Dawn, by the Sudi Causeway which crosses West Lake, and has a distant view of Southern Screen Hill and the Baochu Pagoda. The villa has two sections; 'Living in Quietness', where the owner lived and the 'Sky in the Mirror' garden, which has a pond surrounded by pretty covered, paths, ornate bridges, plants, and a traditional rock garden.
A selection of our tours to Hangzhou
China Group Tour Culture
Memories of China
15 day tour from £3,148
Cruise the Li river, see Pandas in Chengdu and visit the remarkable West Lake