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Hangzhou

Travel Guide Asia China Zhejiang Hangzhou

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Introduction

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Hangzhou (杭州) is home to the famous West Lake and considered one of the beautiful cities in China. It has a population of over six million people, is the present day capital of Zhejiang and has been an important city in Chinese history for the last 1,000 years. It was even the capital of China during the Southern Song Dynasty from the early 12th century to the Mongolian invasion of 1276. Many poets, philosophers and scientist made Hangzhou their home because of it was one of the leading cities in China until the Ming dynasty. During the Ming dynasty the harbour silted up, hurting the economy of Hangzhou.

Interestingly during the 16th and early 17th century the city became an important center for the Chinese Jewish community, which slowly assimilated into Chinese culture over the next two hundreds years. Today modern day Jews are helping Chinese Jews revive the culture. Hangzhou is also a great jumping spot to the countryside with amazing tea plantations on terraced fields. There is more to Hangzhou than just the wonderful West Lake. Experience amazing hikes, the clean air and amazing culture of one of China's best cities.

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Sights and Activities

West Lake

West Lake, or in Chinese Xihu (西湖), located west of the city is sorrounded by stunning mountains on three sides, with a surface area of about 6.5 square kilometres and a circumference of 15 kilometres. The lake was originally created in order to provide irrigation for farmers roughly 2,000 years ago. Over the years the lake was built up more and more, and a few time actually fell apart and had to be started all over again. Today West Lake is one of the most popular tourist sights in all of China and is featured on the 5 元 bill.

Other sights and Activities

  • Cheng Huang Temple is a spectacular building that is a temple, museum and tea centre, and one of many structures that dominate the Hangzhou skyline.

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Events and Festivals

2009 West Lake Music Festival

  • 2009 West Lake Music Festival (2009 西湖音乐节) will be starting on October 31st at 2pm and lasting until November 1st at 10pm. It will be at the The Lawn in Orioles Singing in the Willows Park (柳浪闻莺大草坪) which is at the intersection of Nanshan Road (南山路) and Hefang Street (河坊街), on the east side of the West Lake. Tickets are 200 RMB (two-day pass) or 150 RMB (one day), and bands include October Capricorn (十月摩羯), Mushroom (蘑菇团), Moriz (from Mauritius), Carsick Cars, Lions of Puxi, Zhang Xuan (张悬), Zheng Jun (郑钧), Flying Fruit (羽果), Sugar Mama (from the USA), Pet Conspiracy (宠物同谋), and Muma (木玛).

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Weather

Hangzhou has a pleasant climate though summers can be hot and humid. Maximum temperatures during the June to September period are around 30 °C and nights are a balmy 24 °C or 25 °C. Winters last from December to March when it's between 8 °C and 12 °C during the day and still above zero at night. Occasional frost and snow are possible though. Rainfall (or some snow in winter) is possible in all months, though summers see more heavy showers with higher amounts in total.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max8 °C9 °C13.7 °C20.2 °C25.1 °C28.4 °C33.1 °C32.6 °C27.4 °C22.4 °C16.9 °C10.8 °C
Avg Min1 °C2 °C6 °C11.8 °C16.8 °C21 °C24.9 °C24.5 °C20.3 °C14.5 °C8.7 °C2.9 °C
Rainfall59 mm88 mm115 mm130 mm159 mm185 mm129 mm145 mm171 mm89 mm58 mm48 mm
Rain Days1213161616151213131199

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Getting There

By Plane

Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) is a major airport with extensive domestic service and some limited international service. All major cities in and most minor cities in China have direct flights from Hangzhou. International flights mainly serve other cities in North East Asia like Tokyo and Seoul. Since May 2010, KLM flies 3 times weekly between Hangzhou and Amsterdam, the first direct flight to Europe. Low-cost carrier Air Asia X operates the Hangzhou - Kuala Lumpur route. To get to and from the airport there are buses to downtown Hangzhou. There are also buses to other areas nearby in Zhejiang and a direct bus to downtown Shanghai.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) has a direct shuttle bus connection to Hangzhou. It costs around 25 RMB. There are airport buses to downtown Hangzhou and Xiaoshan as well as to prefectures further away such as Yiwu.

By Train

Hangzhou Railway Station (杭州火车站) is a major rail hub in the southeast coast of China. There are many trains every day to Shanghai and several overnight trains every day to Beijing. Every major city in China is connected to Hangzhou. There are also fast trains to Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai.

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Getting Around

By Car

A taxi ride is very affordable. It starts at 11 RMB (10+1 fuel surcharge). All the taxi drivers are required by law to use the meter.

By Public Transport

You should have your change ready (usually RMB 2 per person) before board the bus. Use the front door to board the bus, and use the rare door to get off the bus. Try to remember the Chinese pronunciation of the stops. Each bus has an audio stop announce system so you won't miss it.

By Foot

A walk beside the west lake is really pleasant when the weather is nice.

By Bike

Bikes are both numerous and an excellent way to get around Hangzhou. The way it works is you pay a deposit of around 600 RMB and the rental is between 15-30 RMB per day (depending on the condition and type of bike). On the return of your bike your deposit is returned. (interestingly, the deposit is roughly the price of a new bike!) Rental outlets are scattered all over, but especially around West Lake.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
4 Eyes Backpackers Youth HostelNo 66, Siyanjing Cun, Hupao Road West LakeHostel74
Emerald HostelNo.16, Four Eyes Well, Hu Pao RoadHostel83
Hangzhou International Youth HostelNo.101-3 Nanshan RoadHostel81
Hangzhou West Lake Youth HouseNo.62-3Nanshan Lu HangzhouHostel85
Hangzhou JingShang Youth HostelNo.148-5 Nanshan RdHOSTEL81
Tang HostelNo.73, Si Yan Jing, Hu Bao RoadHostel-
Touran Backpacker HostelNo.3 Si Yan Jing, Hupao Road West Lake DistrictHostel85
Wushanyi International Youth HostelNo.22 Mid Zhongshan StreetHOSTEL85
The Spring Flower HostelNo.79 4 eyes well,HuPao RoadHostel85
Migrator Youth HostelNo.1 Yu Quan Qing Zhi WuHostel-
Go West China Youth HostelNo.246 Baileqiao RoadHostel-
Linbaoke Hotel Apartment143 Xixi Road, Xi Hu DistrictApartment-
Song HostelNo.86 SiYanJing HuPao RoadHostel-
Hangzhou Hofang International Youth HostelNo.67 DaJing LaneHOSTEL86
Yuyuan Backpackers Hostel#1 Siyanjing Hupao Rd.HOSTEL-
LingYin Temple GuesthouseNo. 289 BaiLe BridgeGUESTHOUSE-
Star Light Hostel#53 SiYanJing Hupao RoadHOSTEL-
Fiona's Trip Hostelhangzhou west lake districtHostel86
Hangzhou Fiona's trip HostelNo 12 Xia Man Jue Long Xi Hu DistrictHOSTEL80
Half Bottle Inn17# Lianhuafeng Road Close to Yuhuangshan RoadHostel-
Inlake International Youth HostelNo.5 Lvyang Road Shangcheng DistrictHOSTEL81
West Lake Tonight HostelNo.178 Bai Le Qiao LingYin Zhi Road Westlake DistrictHOSTEL-
Hi Inn WestlakeNo.2 BaoShiEr Road Westlake AreaHOSTEL80
The Green Youth HostelNo. 88 Qing Zhi Wu West Lake DistrictHOSTEL-
Hangzhou Zhuyi Guest HouseNo.158 Qing Zhi Wu Road West Lake DistrictGUESTHOUSE-
Hangzhou Joyspring International Youth HostelNo.110, Siyanjing, Hupao Road, Xihu District, HangHOSTEL-
Hangzhou YMCA International HostelNO.27 Qingnian Rd, Shangcheng DistrictHOSTEL-
Magnolia Avenue HostelNo.155, Baile Renjia, Lingyin Branch Road West Lake DistrictHOSTEL-
JW Hostel#83 Four Eyes Well ,Hupao Road Xihu DistrictHOSTEL-
UU GuesthouseNo. 176 Shu Guang RoadGUESTHOUSE-
V+ Theme Inn - Lingyin Temple BranchNo. 292 Bai Le Bridge, Lingyin Temple area West Lake DistrictGUESTHOUSE-
Man Cun Guesthouse248 Xia Man Jue Long Road Xi Hu DistrictGUESTHOUSE-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Wangba (联网) means internet bar in Chinese. Almost every town will have an internet bar or gaming center. The best way to spot an internet bar is to look for the 网(ba) character, which means net, and large digitized images of computer game characters. Often, there will be a sign saying Green Power in English at the entrance. Most gaming centers cost about RMB3 an hour. You prepay at the main desk and are then given a plastic card or a piece of paper. Once you are done you return the card or piece of paper and get reimbursed for the money you didn't spend. Be prepared for a place that might be dingy, basic and messy. Internet bars in China tend to get crowded starting in the late afternoon to the late evenings.

Some hotels provide access from the rooms that may or may not be free; others may provide a wireless service or a few desktops in the lounge area.
Also, quite a few cafes provide free wireless Internet service. Some cafes, even provide a machine for customer use.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to China is 86. To make an international call from China, the code is 00.

When making international phone calls it is best to buy an IP card. They typically have a value of ¥100 but sometimes can be had for as little as ¥25. The cards have printed Chinese instructions, but after dialing the number listed on the card English-spoken instructions are available. As a general indication of price, a call from China to Europe lasts around 22 minutes with a ¥100 card. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are advertised to be another 20% cheaper. There is no warning before the card runs out of minutes.

If you already have a GSM 900/1800 cellphone, you can roam onto Chinese networks, but calls will be very expensive (¥12-35/minute is typical). If you're staying for more than a few days, it will usually be cheaper to buy a prepaid Chinese SIM card; this gives you a Chinese phone number with a certain amount of money preloaded. Chinese tend to avoid phone numbers with the bad-luck digit '4', and vendors will often be happy to offload these "unsellable" SIM-cards to foreigners at a discount. If you need a phone as well, prices start around ¥100/200 used/new. Chinese phones, unlike those sold in many Western countries, are never "locked" and will work with any SIM card you put in them. China's two big operators are China Mobile and China Unicom. Most SIMs sold by the two work nationwide, with Unicom allowing Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan usage as well. There is usually a surcharge of about ¥1/min when roaming outside the province you bought the SIM, and there are some cards that work only in a single province, so check when buying.

Post

China Post (中国邮政) is the official postal service of the People's Republic of China, operated by the State Postal Bureau of the People's Republic of China (website in Chinese only), and has more details about price to send letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. The Chinese postal service is very good. Remember that in more remote places usually only one post office in a city can handle sending international boxes or letters. Also many times it might be worth having the name of the country you are trying to send to in Chinese characters, because small town people might not know what Estonia is in English. Post offices have a striking green logo and can easily be found everywhere in the cities. They are mostly open every day (including weekends!) from 8:00am to 6:00pm, though small offices might have shorter opening times, while the bigger ones in central and touristic areas are sometimes open during evenings as well.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 30.252501
  • Longitude: 120.165024

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This is version 36. Last edited at 7:28 on Aug 21, 13 by Utrecht. 15 articles link to this page.

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