Marco Polo’s ‘city of heaven’, Hangzhou retains the elegance and historic charm of its ancient Imperial heritage. Set out from your boutique hotel and wind your way through serene gardens and lakeside parks. Seek out centuries-old temples and Buddhist shrines. Or walk out into rolling countryside lined with tranquil tea plantations.
A city of tea, temples and gardens, wrapped around the legendary Xi Hu lake.
Things to do
Xi Hu lake is Hangzhou’s star attraction. Unwind in the shade of willow trees lining the lakeshore. Island hop with a lake cruise, on anything from a colourful dragon boat to a luxury yacht. Or take some time to yourself at a luxury lakeside spa.
Besides the lake itself, Hangzhou has many fine historic and religious landmarks to discover. Visit the famous Ling Yin Temple – an elaborate Buddhist temple built in the 4th century. Or climb up to towering Leifeng Pagoda for stunning views across the lake.
Just over an hour away from Hangzhou is the ancient water town of Wuzhen. Delve into a maze of historic Chinese buildings, criss-crossed with canals and pretty bridges. Visit the bustling water market, where traders sell their goods straight from their boats. Or learn about ancient customs at folk museums and traditional crafts workshops.
Sunrise is the best time to view Xi Hu in all its glory. Take a peaceful stroll to see the lake set against a stunning backdrop of hills and early morning mists.
Top tip from SLH