Archive for the ‘Hangzhou Travel’ Category

How to Visit Grand Canal Hangzhou

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019
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The Grand Canal Hangzhou is the final section of the Grand Canal ( China ), also known as Beijing-Hangzhou (Jinghang) Grand Canal. It is oft-lauded as the earliest and longest artificial waterway in the world starting from Beijing in the north and ending at Hangzhou in the south for a total length of 1776 km.

On June 22, 2014, the Grand Canal was listed as the site of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. It is the 46th world heritage in China including 27 sections and 58 elements of the Grand Canal with a length of 1011 km. The world heritage crowned Grand Canal covers 6 provinces, 2 municipalities and 25 prefecture-level cities.

Visiting the traditional buildings along the canal or cruising on the canal does give you an opportunity to see and touch the Chinese culture and the authentic life of the ordinary people. There are many entry points for visiting the Grand Canal of China including Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, etc.

The Grand Canal Hangzhou is definitely one of the best place to have a glimpse of the world-famous waterway. Hangzhou has two UNESCO World Cultural Heritages and the other is the West Lake.

The West Lake is well-known for its elite culture – The upper-class intellectuals and government officials lived by the lake, cruising on the lake, writing about the lake and painting the lake, hence of the glorified West Lake. By contrast, the Grand Canal was all about the ordinary people – how the low-class people and vendor lived and worked. The two, both the intellectuals and labors create part of the splendid culture in Hangzhou.

So, while planning your Hangzhou tour, the West Lake and the Grand Canal Hangzhou are the two must see attractions that give you a comprehensive picture of the past and modern Hangzhou, a real showcase of the area south of Yangtze River.

Boating on the ancient 6-km waterway in Hangzhou
Basically you have two ways of boating on the Grand Canals in Hangzhou. One is to use the cheap water service bus RMB 3-5, starting from Wulinmen Pier and ends at Hongchenqiao Pier, 7:30am-8:30pm every other hour. Tel: 0571 – 88024368.

The other is to take the night cruise of the canal – the route: Wulinmen Dock – West Lake Cultural Plaza – Imperial Dock-Fuyi Granary – Qianlongfang – Dadou Road – Xiaohezhi Street – Qiaoxizhi Street – Gongchen Bridge – Wulinmen Pier, totally a round trip of 12 km. 7:30 pam RMB 100/person Tel: 0571 – 88024368

Visiting the traditional buildings and cultural sites along the Canal
The Grand Canal once greatly developed the local economy and enhanced the communication between the north and the south. At its prime time, the area around Gongchen Bridge, which still spans the canal, was the busiest and most commercial area in Hangzhou, a transportation hub.

Especially, during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), when the Northern Song Dynasty moved its court to Hangzhou and established Hangzhou as the capital. The canal in Gongchen Bridge suddenly got much busier, becoming a major traffic hub and distribution center.

In the time starting from the South Song Dynasty through Qing Dynasty ( 1644 – 1911 ), boats and ships from all over the country came down the Grand Canal, bringing much business to the area around Gongchen Bridge .

Various shops, snacks, restaurants were open along the river and nearby lanes and streets. Qianxizhi Historic Street Block and Xiaohezhi Historic Street Block are the two areas that have been recently renovated and restored, typical of the Chinese-Western mixed style architectures during the period.

Now follow me to have a glimpse of Qiaoxizhi Historic Street Block. “Qiaoxizhi” literally means “A straight street west of the Bridge”. Here “the Bridge” refers to Gongchen Bridge. Gongchen Bridge is the landmark of the Grand Canal Hangzhou.

“Gongchen” literally means “respect the emperor”. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722) and Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) traveled six times respectively along the canal from Beijing to inspection and sightseeing. Gongchen Bridge stood there respecting and welcoming the emperor.

East of Gongchen Bridge is the Grand Canal Cultural Square where you may visit The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal Museum.

The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal Museum

The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal Museum

The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal Museum

The Bridge was originally built 1631 in the late Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and was rebuilt 1888 in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is the largest stone arch bridge in Hangzhou, now 16 meters high, 98 meters long with the middle part narrower at 5.9 m and two ends wider at 12.2 m.

Gongchen Bridge

Gongchen Bridge

Walk across Gongchen Bridge that spans the Grand Canal, only pedestrians and cyclists allowed

Walk across Gongchen Bridge that spans the Grand Canal

Walk across Gongchen Bridge that spans the Grand Canal

On the bridge, you have a clear picture of the ships coming and going on the canal, carrying coals, sand and construction materials. Many sections of the Grand Canal are still in use.

Taking a picture of the bridge and the canal

Taking a picture of the bridge and the canal

Taking a picture of the bridge and the canal

After crossing Gongchen Bridge, turns left side ( south) and walk visit Xiqiaozhi Street. The street is lined with quite a few two-story old buildings, reproducing the past wooden structures that were both for commercial and residential use.

Usually the shops are on the first floor and bedroom on the second floor. Many of the exterior walls look old, but with modern facilities.

Xiqiaozhi Street. The street is lined with quite a few two-story old buildings,

The street is lined with quite a few two-story old buildings

The street is lined with quite a few two-story old buildings

Qiaoxi modern dwellings are a combination of Chinese and western style. Simple patterns without elaborate carvings.

Qiaoxi modern dwellings are a combination of Chinese and western style

Qiaoxi modern dwellings are a combination of Chinese and western style

The Qiaoxi Historic block includes Qiaoxizhi Street, Qianlong Street, Tianxian Alley, Tongyuanli, Jixiang Lane, former Hangzhou No.01 Cotton Mills, etc. An arrow lane branching off the main street – Qiaohe Historic Street will be changed.

An arrow lane branching off the main street

An arrow lane branching off the main street

China Umbrella Museum and China Scissors Museum. The two museums are housed inside the former factories.

China Umbrella Museum and China Scissors Museum

China Umbrella Museum and China Scissors Museum

A public Bar on along the canal and by Qiaoxizhi Street

A public Bar on along the canal and by Qiaoxizhi Street

A public Bar on along the canal and by Qiaoxizhi Street

A dock along the Grand canal at Congchen Bridge area.

A dock along the Grand canal at Congchen Bridge area

A dock along the Grand canal at Congchen Bridge area

The old tea house

The old tea house

The old tea house

The old and traditional houses

The old and traditional houses

The old and traditional houses

A tw0-story building in Jingshengli Hutong ares.

A two-story building in Jingshengli Hutong ares.

A two-story building in Jingshengli Hutong ares.

Huichun Tang Pharmacy

Huichun Tang Pharmarcy

Huichun Tang Pharmarcy

Further Readings


1. When is the best time to visit Hangzhou? 2. Where to stay in Hangzhou
3. Hangzhou Airport Arrival Hall 4. Hangzhou airport shuttle bus
5. Hangzhou Airport Taxi 6. Hangzhou Taxi
7. Hangzhou Bicycle Hire 8. Pedestrian Streets in Hangzhou
9. Musical Fountains in Hangzhou 10. Hangzhou’s Best Bars & Nightclubs
11. Walk around West Lake in early morning Hangzhou 12. The Best Place to View Sunrise over West Lake Hangzhou
13. The Best hiking trail in Hangzhou 14. How to Visit Leifeng Pagoda
15. How to Visit Yellow Dragon Cave in Hangzhou 16. How to visit Hupao Spring (Tiger Spring) Hangzhou
17. How to Visit Liuhe Pagoda 18. Wuzhen Pictures – Wuzhen Photo Gallery
19. Guozhuang Garden Hangzhou 20. Beishan oad Hangzhou
21. The Post-Rain West Lake 22. Hanting Hangzhou
23. Hangzhou World Heritage 24. Hangzhou Trip
25. Hangzhou Group Tour 26. Best Places to See Autumn Leaves in Hangzhou

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Leifeng Pagoda

Monday, September 23rd, 2019
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Plan your Hangzhou tour? As one of the landmarks in Hangzhou, Leifeng Pagoda is also the best place for having a panoramic view of West Lake. If it is your first time to visit Hangzhou, you are advised to include Leifeng Pagoda on your Hangzhou activity list.

Feifeng Pagoda is situated on the Sunset Hill on the south of West Lake. First built in 975 AD, it was made of brick and wood with its base built out of bricks. 

During the Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644), Japanese pirates burned down Leifeng Pagoda’s wooden structure, leaving only the brick skeleton for suspecting the pagoda contained weapons. On the afternoon of September 25, 1924, the pagoda finally collapsed due to disrepair.

Hangzhou City and Zhejiang Province decided to rebuild Leifeng pagoda on the ruined base in 1999. The new tower opened on 25 October 2002. It has four sightseeing elevators, and modern facilities including air conditioners in the Pagoda, TV and speakers.

A huge iron and steel structure is built on the original base of the pagoda which has been kept in good condition. At the entrance to the pagoda there are one autonomous escalator to take visitors to up to the pagoda’s base.

With the backdrop of Leifeng Pagoda, a tablet engraved with the five Chinese characters meaning “Leifeng Pagoda Scenic Area”.

Leifeng Pagoda Scenic Area.

The Main Entrance to the Leifeng Tower

The Main Entrance to the Leifeng Tower.

One autonomous escalator to take visitors to up to the pagoda’s base.

One autonomous escalator to take visitors to up to the pagoda’s base.

The original pagoda’s brick base is kept in goog condition.

The original pagoda’s brick base is kept in goog condition.

The four sightseeing elevators take visitors up to different floors.

The four sightseeing elevators take visitors up to different floors.

On the top floor with goldden ceiling.

On the top floor with golden ceiling.

The Jinci Temple is just to the south of Leifeng Pagoda.

The Jinci Temple is just to the south of Leifeng Pagoda.

Huagang Park, to the west of Leifeng Pagoda.

Huagang Park, to the west of Leifeng Pagoda

Su Causeway and San Tan Yin Yue (Three Pools Mirroring The Moon)

Su Causeway and San Tan Yin Yue (Three Pools Mirroring The Moon)

Three islands on the West Lake

Three islands on the West Lake.

Hangzhou city skyline to the northeast of Feifeng Pagoda.

Hangzhou city skyline to the northeast of Feifeng Pagoda.

Wushan Hill is a major town center in Hangzhou to its east.

Wushan Hill is a major town center in Hangzhou to its east.

Tip:  Hassle-free Hangzhou Guided Tours
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If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Hangzhou Guided Tours:

Hangzhou Classic Day Tour  from US$ 70 p/p
Hangzhou 3 day Tour Package  from US$ 365 p/p
Hangzhou – Wuzhen Water Town – Hangzhou Day Tour   from US$70 p/p
Hangzhou – Suzhou – Hangzhou Day Tour  from US$80 p/p
Hangzhou Huangshan Hongcun 3 Day by Car  from US$410 p/p
Hangzhou Car Rental

Further Readings


Any questions, just drop a line.

Best Way to Visit Hangzhou from Shanghai

Sunday, September 15th, 2019
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Hangzhou is historically oft-lauded as a paradise on the earth and now has become world famous with its West Lake Landscape listed as World Culture Heritage in 2011.

With its picturesque landscape and rich cultural and historical sites, Hangzhou has become a lively backyard garden for Shanghai, a metropolitan city, only 200km to the northeast of Hangzhou.

Many Shanghai leisure and business travelers would choose to make a day trip to Hangzhou when they plan a Shanghai tour. So what’s the best way or the most convenient and economic way of visiting Hangzhou from Shanghai for a day trip?

A one-hour high speed train from Shanghai Plus 15-minute subway ride in Hangzhou takes you to the core of the scenic Hangzhou – the West Lake Landscape.

Daily over 50 high speed trains darting from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Hangzhou East Railway Station and Hangzhou Railway Station (  the old station). Check out the following steps to plan your Shanghai Hangzhou day trip.

Step 1: Early Highspeed Train from Shanghai to Hangzhou (One Hour Train Ride)
There are over 50 daily high speed trains from Shanghai to Hangzhou. Try to go to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station for an early train ride to make more time for your day trip in Hangzhou. The earliest train starts at 6:30am.

Basically you don’t have to reserve your train tickets, just buy and go ( except on China holidays when you have to reserve your tickets online well in advance).

Step 2: The Right Train Station in Hangzhou
There are two railway stations in Hangzhou ( Hangzhou East Railway Station and Hangzhou Railway Station ) which both receive high speed trains though the newly built Hangzhou East Railway Station handles most of the high speed trains in and out of Hangzhou. So make sure at which station you will alight in Hangzhou.

Step 3: Interchange for the Subway Line 1 in Hangzhou
No matter you get off at Hangzhou East Railway Station or Hangzhou Railway Station, you can easily interchange for Subway Line 1 in Hangzhou to get to the core of the West Lake Scenic Area.

The Subway Line 1 connects the two railway stations with its mid-way stop ( Longxiangqiao Station ) near the West Lake, the biggest draw in Hangzhou. Line up for buying your train ticket for the stop of Longxiangqiao Station (龙翔桥站).

Step 4: Exit from Exit C at Longxiangqiao Station (龙翔桥站)
A 15-minute metro will bring you to Longxiangqiao Station which is about 100 meters away from the world famous West Lake. When you alight at Longxiangqiao Station, you need to exit from Exit C ( don’t be distracted by C3 or C4), and go up straight onto the ground.

Step 5: Turn Right and Walk about 100 meters for the West Lake
Exit from Longxiangqiao Station, you are on the east-west Pinghai Road (平海路), you turn right ( to the west ) for a 100-meter walk, you will be at the West Lake.

Step 6: Centrally Located Hotels along Pinghai Road (平海路)
If you’d like to stay overnight in Hangzhou, you may book your hotel along Pinghai Road with easy access to the West Lake.

Exit from Longxiangqiao Station, if you turn left and walk for a few minutes, you are able to find some nice hotels such as Marco Polo Garden Hotel, Hangzhou Friendship Hotel, Hangzhou Zhongshan Hotel and Hangzhou Continental Hotel on Pinghai Road.

Step 7: Walk from Longxiangqiao Station ( Subway Line 1 ) to the edge of the West Lake
The 100-meter stroll allows you to see the largest Apple Store in Asia, a public bike rental booth, Starbucks and Hyatt Regency Hotel by the lake. You may rent a bike for a leisure rice along the lake.

Step 8: A Stroll along the Lake
Once you reach the lake, you may either walk along the north or down to the south around the lake, a 15-km in circumference.

Step 9: Backtrack for Shanghai from Hangzhou
You may go back to Shanghai by the same way you come. Keep in mind the last high speed train leaves from Hangzhou to Shanghai at 21:31.

Just show you some pictures for your glimpse of your walk from Longxiaoqiao Station to the edge of the West.

Once you get off at Longxiangqiao Station, you will see 4 exits, please exit from Exit C.

Exit from Exit C

Exit from Exit C

Walk to the right side from Exit C, you will see the largest Apple Store in Asia

Apple Store

Apple Store

Walking by a public bike rental booth

Public Bike Rental Booth

Public Bike Rental Booth

Starbucks by the Lake

Starbucks by the lake

Starbucks by the lake

Hyatt Regency Hotel Hangzhou facing the lake

Hyatt Regency Hotel Hangzhou facing the lake

Hyatt Regency Hotel Hangzhou facing the lake

Early Morning at the lake shore 100 meters west of Longxiangqiao Station of Subway Line 1

Early Morning at West Lake

Early Morning at West Lake

Pinghai Road (平海路), your starting point for your Hangzhou day trip.

Pinghai Road

Pinghai Road

Tip:  Hassle-free Hangzhou Guided Tours
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If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Hangzhou Guided Tours:

Hangzhou Classic Day Tour  from US$ 70 p/p
Hangzhou 3 day Tour Package  from US$ 365 p/p
Hangzhou – Wuzhen Water Town – Hangzhou Day Tour   from US$70 p/p
Hangzhou – Suzhou – Hangzhou Day Tour  from US$80 p/p
Hangzhou Huangshan Hongcun 3 Day by Car  from US$410 p/p
Hangzhou Car Rental

Further Readings


Any questions, just drop a line.