"Maria's Hangzhou" Top 5 Page for this destination Hangzhou by maria_hz

Hangzhou Travel Guide: 621 reviews and 1,839 photos

Heaven on earth

The Chinese have a saying; Up there is Heaven, down here we have Hangzhou and Suzhou.
I don't have much experiences of other places, but I find Hangzhou with its famous West Lake (Xi Hu) wonderful with its beautiful parks and flower blossom all year round. This was apparently also the case when Marco Polo visited the place during the 13th century.

Being famed for its lake, Hangzhou receives tens of millions of tourists a year, of which an increasing number are from abroad. Tourists have plenty of sights to choose from; dozens of big and small temples and pagodas, beautiful scenery as well as places known in Chinese history or literature and arts.

Hangzhou is a provincial town by Chinese standards, and does not have the distinctly international feel of cities the likes of Shanghai. Hangzhou is still very much Chinese, where a slower pace of life is valued. Though very Chinese, foreigners will find Hangzhou also a good place to live in long-term; the number of foreign restaurants and supermarkets donning imported foods keeps increasing, so you can get your crisp bread, French cheese, maple suryp or tortillas should you want to.

The main sources of income are manufacturing (especially silk and other textiles) and increasingly also high-tech manufacturing and R&D. Hangzhou is one of the designated IT spots in China, and increasing numbers of foreign It companies are setting up shop here. Hangzhou is a second-tier city, where costs and personnel turnover are lower than in first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Hangzhou tourist hot spot in days yonder and today

Hangzhou is famous for its West Lake, one of many namesakes in China. It is a natural lake that formed by the combination of water from three rivers that got cut off and became a lake. It has long been a centre for writing and poetry, and some famous poets and writers have called Hangzhou their home, incl. Su Dongpo who got a local pork dish called after himself.

By the time Marco Polo visited in the 13th century, he mentioned it especially as the most beautiful city in the world. At the time Marco Polo visited, Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty. The Song Dynasty moved the capital to Hangzhou as the threat of invasion from the North grew ever greater. Hangzhou became an important city as the capital and retained some of that importance for long after the capital was moved northwards again. Also Emperors of the later Qing Dynasty enjoyed Hangzhou and spent quite some time there (Qianglong and Kangxi). It was also during this time that Hangzhou became a popular tourist destination, to this day.

During national holidays, people flock Hangzhou. For the May Holiday 2006, 6 million visitors crowded the city. The city is being discovered by foreign tourists groups too, and is one of the top destinations in China.

Autumn in Hangzhou

The autumn in Hangzhou is called the golden season and could be considered lasting from the start of October until end of November.

This time of year is characterised by sunny but relatively cool weather (compared with summer) with pleasant temperatures of around 15-25 degrees. This is the time the Chinese do their tourist travel, and for anyone who has spent summer in China, it is clear why this season is so popular.

The National Day Holiday the first week of October is top tourist season in Hangzhou. People crowd the sights and especially the lakeside. A lot of weddings take place around this time, and if you walk around the lake, you can go wedding photo spotting. They usually walk around in groups; photographer, assistant and happy couples.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lots of sights, well kept city which is comparatively clean and rather tidy
  • Cons:terrible traffic at rush hour, the traffic situation and pollution worsens all the time
  • In a nutshell:Beautiful city with lots of greenery and canals
  • Last visit to Hangzhou: Jul 2006
  • Intro Updated Oct 6, 2006
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Reviews (26)

Comments (4)

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Jun 10, 2007 at 10:46 PM

    Good page!

  • hangzhoulover's Profile Photo
    Sep 27, 2006 at 6:01 AM

    Hi Maria, thanks for visiting my page. Too bad we missed each other in Hangzhou. You have some great pages here! Love the pics! ?F-?j

  • cheezecake_deli's Profile Photo
    Aug 27, 2006 at 3:32 PM

    Hi Maria! You have the best and most informative Hangzhou page on VT as far as I'm concerned! I'm planning a visit in two weeks' time and will be using your fantastic tips! Best wishes, Cheese.

  • Gili_S's Profile Photo
    Jul 7, 2006 at 12:17 AM

    huh, you are far away from home. Next time when in your home town and your parents home, I hope you will be there too ;-)

maria_hz Used To Live Here!

maria_hz

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. ~St. Augustine”

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