There is a Chines saying : there is a heave on top and Su Hang (Suzhou and Hangzhou) below. How one can imagine how beautiful Hangzhou is. It could be compared with heaven!
Hangzhou is a large city situated 180km south west of Shanghai, Hangzhou is renowned within China for its striking natural beauty, something which – considering the abundance of impressive of must-see natural sights in China - is more than enough reason to visit on its own. Throw in the ‘old world China’ feel, with an abundance of ornate pagodas and a sense that some things haven’t changed over years, and most don’t need too much more convincing.
Viewing the famous West Lake from a number of wooded hills or riding across it to the central islands is perhaps the essential Hangzhou experience. Many parts of the lake’s surroundings are decorated with iconic art, dragons and wispy statues stood against a watery backdrop or placed on the corners of ramshackle wooden piers. Drifting across the water to the Lotus Pool – especially when its in bloom – is an almost otherworldly experience, especially aboard the lake’s largest boat, which itself houses an oversized pagoda so large it’s a wonder the sizeable barge floats at all.
The 4th century Ling Yim Temple is another must see, drenched throughout the day in air thick with incense, and – despite the ample visitors – still living up to the translation of its name, ‘The Temple of Inspired Seclusion’. Then there’s Six Harmonies Pagoda, a navigational aid overlooking the Qiantang River which also dates back to the 4th century, towering in numerous layers and surrounded by alluring relics like decorative bells and an exhibition center explaining the soaring pagoda in full.
If you’re a fan of Chinese history, head for the 12th century Yue Fei Mausoleum, home to the notorious war generals grave, though fortunately he’s not preserved in the style of Mao. Peaceful statues and ornate, delicate graves are revered by locals and can make for a sedate break from the more full-on tourist attractions.
Popular dishes one should not miss:
West Lake fish in vinegar sauce, Beggars chicken (chicken wrapped in lotus leave,Long Jing tea leave shrimp
In truth, though, as famed as Hangzhou is you’ll struggle to find a corner of the lakes and woods that isn’t a great break from the normal pace of life, with the city acting as a perfect aside from the fast-paced, fashion focused world of nearby Shanghai.