News and Travel Editor
There’s one Chinese city that’s been on everyone’s lips over the last weekend, and that’s Hangzhou.
Unless you’ve been off the grid for the last few days, you will have noticed the buzz online about the G20 taking place in China. It’s brought a lot of attention to a city that you may not have heard of before, but you will see a lot more of in the future.
So, what’s there to do in Hangzhou? Here’s a list of top 10 things to do that’ll make you want to add Hangzhou to your travel bucket list.
- Hire a bike from the biggest bike share scheme in the world. With over 70,000 bikes available from 2,700 stations you’ll never be without a ride (especially as this number is expected to DOUBLE by 2020).
- Climb the steps of the Leifang Pagoda for panoramic views of the city. The five-storey tower was originally built in 975AD, but the version we see today dates back to 2002 as the original tower sadly collapsed in the 1920s!
- Be sure to make time for a leisurely paddle across the West Lake. The stunning freshwater lake has inspired poets, scholars and artists since the 9th century. It even appears on Chinese money!
- Grab a cup of tea with a view at the Meijiawu tea plantation, renowned for producing Longjing Tea for over 600 years. (Don’t know your Longjing from your Oolong? Read this)
- Take a selfie outside Alibaba, the world’s largest retailer founded in 1999 in Hangzhou by Jack Ma.
- Visit a paradise for bookworms and architecture lovers alike at the Zhangshuge bookstore.
- Give in to temptation and try local Street food at Hangzhou Snack Street. Want to try a local delicacy? Grab a beggar’s chicken, the city’s signature dish. The flavour comes from coating the chicken in MUD before roasting!
- Southern Song Imperial Street was built during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279AD). Back then, it was used only by emperors when offering sacrifices to their ancestors and to heaven. Now, you don’t have to be an emperor to stroll along the street. Visit after dark to enjoy the sights and sounds of the vibrant night market!
- For a glimpse into old Hangzhou, step into Hefang Old Street to experience Southern Song Dynasty architecture and traditional Chinese crafts, such as sugar-blowing, paper-cutting and hand-made dough figurines.
- Lingyin Temple, or ‘Temple of the soul’s retreat’, is perfect for catching your breath after a day spent at bustling markets. The temple dates back to the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317 – 420AD), and it remains one of the largest and most visited Buddhist temples in China. As you enter, an inscription on the door reads: ‘Let us sit and wait upon the threshold, where we shall see another peak flying from afar. Let us welcome spring with a smile as the snow melts and the brook starts to flow once more.’.
How would you spend a weekend in Hangzhou? Have we missed off something that you’re desperate to try, or a recipe you just have to recommend? Let us know in the comments below!