“In heaven there is paradise, on earth there is Hangzhou”. Once an ancient capital of China and rumoured to have been visited by Macro Polo, Hangzhou is an eclectic mix of old and new, built on the stunning banks of West Lake. Famous throughout China for its beauty and culture, Hangzhou has become one of the most visited tourist cities in the world.
The weather in Hangzhou is similar to Shanghai. The temperature can drop below freezing in the winter, however it doesn’t normally snow. Summer’s can be hot and humid and autumn is often damp. Spring is the best time to visit, when the flowers are in bloom, the weather is mild and the sky is blue!
What to Do
In Hangzhou The Dragon Trip will take you to visit the gorgeous West Lake, before climbing Moganshan, where you will hike through a bamboo forest up towards Chairman Mao’s Summer House. The next day, you will hike through rural villages and rice paddies.
The West Lake truly is a beautiful. Stroll around its banks and take a gentle boat ride before grabbing a coffee in a waterside cafe. After a relaxed morning, head to Hangzhou’s historical street He Fang Jie for handicrafts and Chinese medicines. Other famous historical and cultural sites include: Solitary Hill, the Tomb of General Yue Fei, the Six Harmonies Pagoda and the Ling Yin Temple.
Slightly north of Hangzhou lies the quite town of Moganshan in the shadow of Mount Mogan. Its stunning landscape and mild climate has made it a favourite retreat of Shanghai’s elite. Away from China’s booming cities, Moganshan is a place for relaxation hidden among the peaceful mountains and bamboo forests.
Having only been discovered around a century ago by foreigners, the secret is out and a group of elite, missionaries, foreign diplomats and businessmen pooled their money to buy the mountaintop as their exclusive hideaway. They then built a European manor with villas, holiday homes, public halls, tennis courts, outdoor pools and churches.
Turned into a luxury get away, Moganshan actually has a whole wealth of activities to unleash your adventurous spirit like mountain biking and hiking. You can hike up to the peak of Moganshan, almost a 3 hour mission, where your hard work will be rewarded when you see the stunning views of the valleys and hills below.
If it was a relaxing stay you were after, take a seat in a coffee shop or bar and enjoy a locally brewed Moganshan beer– made using spring water from the mountain itself! For some history, head over to Chairman Mao’s summer house where you can wander through its lavish grounds. Moganshan was once a favourite spot of Du Yuesheng, Shanghai’s opium gangster king of the 1930s – but you don’t have to worry about gangsters nowadays. The villa that once belonged to Du is now a hotel with a decent pub, which is much more in keeping with Moganshan’s sleepy rural vibe.
What to Eat
Moving onto one of the best parts of travelling- the food! The Hangzhou cuisine is noted for its elaborate preparation, sophisticated cooking and refreshing taste. While in the city, you should try Beggar’s Chicken (a chicken baked in clay), West Lake Fish in Sweet Sour Sauce (vinegar coated fish, fresh caught from the lake), Dongpo Pork (braised pork) and Fried Shrimps with Longjing Tea, just to name a few. Also, try one of Hangzhou’s most popular restaurants, Grandma’s Kitchen, if you are willing to wait in line.
The city has much to offer in terms of nightlife. If it’s a relaxing evening at a teahouse or local bar that you’re looking for, Hangzhou has several options to choose from. When you’re in town, you might as well take in the atmosphere surrounding West Lake while sipping a cocktail from one of the bars by the lake.