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Things to Do in Hangzhou: Sightseeing, Biking, Hiking, Shopping…

With the reputation of "Heaven on Earth", Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province in China, is mostly famed for its superior natural beauties at and around the world-famous West Lake. However, the surprises of this city can offer never end here. It is also the homeland to the first-class Dragon Well Tea, a historical city once as the ancient capital of seven dynasties in Chinese history…

There are lots of Things to Do in Hangzhou, including visiting the lakes, taking cruises, watching light shows, biking, hiking, drinking tea, hitting museums, savoring delicious Hangzhou food and snacks and so on. To help you have a better plan about your next Hangzhou tour, here we list all those interesting Hangzhou activities down, with useful information and suggestions like the best time to visit and recommended visiting hours included!

Top Recommended Hangzhou Tour:

✔ 2 Days Essence of Hangzhou Tour

✔ 3 Days Hangzhou & Suzhou Beauty Tour by High Speed Train

✔ 5 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Highlights Tour

No.1: Sightseeing Hangzhou's Poetic Lakes

West Lake in Summer

West Lake in Summer

Xixi National Wetland Park

Xixi National Wetland Park

Whether you are in Hangzhou for the first time or not, the West Lake, without a doubt, is a must-visit. This incredibly picturesque lake area not only offers somewhat the most poetic lake views on earth, but also gathers numerous wonderful causeways, gardens, pagodas, pavilions, islands and tea plantations waiting for your steps. No matter which season you come, you will have lots of things to do and be amazed by its beauty. In 2001, the West Lake was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

In addition to the West Lake, Hangzhou also boasts beautiful Xixi National Wetland Park, which also offers amazing lake sceneries for nature lovers. Xixi National Wetland Park is only one hour away from the West Lake by car. About 45 minutes to 1.5 hours from Hangzhou downtown by high speed train there is also a popular tourist lake named Thousand Island Lake.

• Recommended Visiting Hours: at least half day or 1 day at West Lake; half day or so at Xixi National Wetland Park.

• Best Time to Visit: all year around

• Recommended Hangzhou Lakes Tour: ✔ 2 Days Essence of Hangzhou Tour

No.2: Experiencing the Hangzhou Cruises

West Lake Cruise

West Lake Cruise

Xixi National Wetland Park Cruise

Xixi National Wetland Park Cruise

In Hangzhou, an ideal city with rich and beautiful lakes, canals and rivers, taking a cruise tour is really great. The West Lake Scenic Area, Xixi National Wetland Park, Jinghang Grand Canal (Hangzhou section) and Qiantang River in Hangzhou all offer leisure cruise experiences. The West Lake has both cruises offered during the day and at night, while Xixi National Wetland Park oly provides cruises in the day, and Jinghang Grand Canal and Qiantang River only provide night cruises. When quietly sailing on the West Lake and Xixi National Wetland Park, you will avoid the crowds on the shores and get close to the lotus, islands and bridges in an extremely leisure way. And the Grand Canal Cruise and Qiantang River Cruise will introduce you the splendid night views of the city. Sometimes after the night falls, there are also interesting music fountains and light shows performed at the east shore of the West Lake, Wulin Square and the river banks of Qiantang River. If you are lucky, you will also enjoy the amazing water and light dancing in the air.

Time needed: 1~2.5 hours around for each cruise trip. The time varies according to different cruise and different styles of ship you select.

Opening Hours: The West Lake cruises provide service during 08:00~16:00 in the day and 19:00 at night; the Grand Canal Cruises are operated at 19:00, 19:30, 20:20, 20:40; the Qiantang River cruises open at 18:30. (The cruise schedules are only for your reference. There may be slight changes according to real-time situations.)

• Recommended Hangzhou Tour with West Lake Cruise: ✔ 2 Days Essence of Hangzhou Tour

Check more about West Lake Cruise >>

No.3: Admiring Wonderful Hangzhou Shows, Music Fountains & Light Shows

Enduring Memories of Hangzhou

Enduring Memories of Hangzhou

Qianjiang New Town Light Show

Qianjiang New Town Light Show

From the story of oriental Romeo and Juliet to the legend of White Snake and the prosperous ancient history of the city, Hangzhou has a lot to tell, and shows and performances may be the most creative way to tell the visitors the legends. The most notable show in Hangzhou is Enduring Memories of Hangzhou (formerly known as Impression West Lake), which is a grand live-action show performed at the West Lake Scenic Area, with the beautiful real sceneries of West Lake as the backdrop. Besides the Enduring Memories of Hangzhou, the Romance of the Song Dynasty Show offered at the Songcheng Scenic Area is also popular. Except for the ancient charm of the city that you can feel from the night shows, you can also sample its modern energies from its interesting music fountains and light shows. Most popular ones include the West Lake Musical Fountain, Wulin Square Music Fountain & 3D Light Show, and Qianjiang New Town Music Fountain & Light Show. The happy and colorful water columns dancing to the music and the vivid ever-changing images showing on the high-rise buildings will certainly leave you lifelong memories.

Opening Hours: Enduring Memories of Hangzhou show at 19:30, 21:00 of every day; the Romance of the Song Dynasty Show is performed at 12:40, 14:00, 18:00, 19:30 of every day; the light shows and music fountains usually begin from 18:30 or 19:00 of every day. (Please note: sometimes the shows and music fountains may be canceled due to the bad weather conditions. And the above timetables are only for your reference.)

• Recommended Hangzhou Tour with Optional Shows: ✔ 2 Days Essence of Hangzhou Tour

Check more about Hangzhou Nightlife and Shows

No.4: Sampling First-class Dragon Well Tea (Longjing Tea)

Dragon Well Tea

Dragon Well Tea

Dragon Well Tea

Dragon Well Tea

Tea lovers must have heard Dragon Well Tea (or called Longjing Tea) before. Featured by green color, delicate aroma, mellow taste and beautiful shape, Dragon Well Tea ranks the top on the list of Top 10 Famous Teas in China. It is in Hangzhou that Dragon Well Teas are grown and produced. Here, you can sample its most authentic flavor. There are over a thousand of teahouses spreading the Hangzhou city. You can also find many choices on the shores of the West Lake. Some hotels and restaurants there also provide tea services. You can also sample the tea at where it is grown - Longjing Tea Plantation.

• Best Places to Sample Dragon Well Tea: Longjing Village, Meijiawu, West Lake, China National Tea Museum…

• Recommended Hangzhou Tea Tour: ✔ 3 Days Classic Hangzhou Tour Plus Tea Plantation Exploration

No.5: Visiting Various Hangzhou Museums

China National Tea Museum

China National Tea Museum

Flickering Glowworms in Nanjing Tulou

Hangzhou Silk Museum

For the visitors who want to trace the history and learn the culture of Hangzhou, there is nothing better than visiting its various museums. In Hangzhou, there are a dozen of great museums for you to choose. The state-level museums in China, like the China National Silk Museum and China National Tea Museum, can also be found here. Featured by a wealth of introducing about Chinese silk culture and charming displays of Chinese embroidered dresses, the China National Silk Museum is absolutely a must-visit for silk lovers. And at the China National Tea Museum, you can not only learn the background of Chinese tea, but also have opportunities to taste various of teas, enjoy fantastic performances of tea art and tea ceremony and pick the tea leaves by yourself! In addition to the museums about silk and tea, Hangzhou also boasts Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Grand Jing-Hang Canal Museum, Liangzhu Culture Museum, Hangzhou Cuisine Museum, The Museum of Chinese Knives, Scissors, Swords, Umbrellas and Fans, etc.

• Recommended Hangzhou Tour with Museums Visiting: ✔ 2 Days Essence of Hangzhou Tour

No.6: Biking in Hangzhou

West Lake Biking

West Lake Biking

West Lake Biking

West Lake Biking

The flat shores and causeways of the lakes and well-established cycling system makes Hangzhou also an ideal city to enjoy biking. While cycling, you can get close to the scenic spots in a relatively fast and convenient way, with gentle breezes kissing your faces and lush trees accompanying you all the trip. There are many biking trails at and around the West Lake Scenic Area, Taizi Bay Park, etc. And the best Hangzhou biking routes are as follows:

Top 1: Beishan Road - Yanggong Causeway - Nanshan Road

Time needed: 1 hour around / 8 kilometers

Top 2: Yongjin Park - Changqiao Park - Nanshan Road - Taizi Bay Park - Yang Gong Causeway

Time needed: 1 hour around / 8 kilometers

Top 3: Thousand Islands Lake Cycling

Time needed: at least half day

Warm tip: For environment protection reason, the classic Bai Causeway to Su Causeway biking route has been suspended since 2018. Check more about Best Biking Routes in Hangzhou >>

Recommended Tour with West Lake Cycling: ✔ 2 Days Hangzhou Sightseeing Tour with Cycling Fun

No.7: Savoring Delicious Hangzhou Food & Snacks

Braise Dongpo Pork

Braise Dongpo Pork

West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy

West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy

Hangzhou Cuisine is an important branch of Zhejiang Cuisine which is one of the Eight Famous Cuisines in China. When it comes to Hangzhou food, Braised Dongpo Pork and Aunt Song Fish Broth are the must-try. If you are in Hangzhou, you won’t be surprised to find that almost every restaurant have these two dishes on the menu. Braised Dongpo Pork was created by the famous litterateur and governor in Song Dynasty (960-1279) - Su Dongpo. During the renovations of the West Lake in Hangzhou, he treated the hard-working workers with this dish, hence the name. This dish has a taste of "melting in the mouth", because the meat is very tender. Aunt Song Fish Broth is a thick soup made with fish, pepper, ginger, wine, ham and vinegar. It has enjoyed its popularity for over 900 years.

Besides the Braised Dongpo Pork and Aunt Song Fish Broth, Sweet and Sour West Lake Fish, Beggars’ Chicken, etc. in Hangzhou are also popular.

• Best Hangzhou Restaurants: Louwailou, Grandma's Home, Zhiwei Guan, etc.

• Recommended Hangzhou Food Tour: ✔ 2 Days Hangzhou Excellent Gourmet Tour

Check more about Hangzhou Food & Restaurant >>

No.8: Enjoying Amazing Shi Li Lang Dang Hiking

Shi Li Lang Dang Hiking

Shi Li Lang Dang Hiking

Shi Li Lang Dang Hiking

Shi Li Lang Dang Hiking

Up the hills and the forests on the southwestern part of the West Lake Scenic Area, there are many hiking opportunities. The most popular hiking trails gather at the Longjing Mountain area, which is known as "Shi Li Lang Dang". While hiking, you will be rewarded with grand views of thousands layers of Longjing Tea fields. Sometimes, you can also see workers picking tea leaves in the field. When you feel tired, there are tiny pavilions with stone benches for your relaxing. Once hiking up to the top of the mountain, you will also get a panorama view of the West Lake in a distance.

Recommended Hangzhou Hiking Routes:

Top 1 (about 3 hours): Longjing Village (龙井村) - Sanfencha (三分岔) - Meijiawu (梅家坞)

Top 2 (about 2~3 hours): Longjing Village (龙井村) - Manjuelong (满觉拢)

Top 3 (about 2~3 hours): Yunxi Bamboo Diameter (云栖竹径) - Meiling South Road (梅岭南路) - Meijiawu (梅家坞) - Lingyin Temple (灵隐寺)

• Recommended Hangzhou Tour with Hiking Opportunities: ✔ 3 Days Classic Hangzhou Tour Plus Tea Plantation Exploration

No.9: Taking Part in the Interesting Hangzhou Festivals

Dragon Boating Event

Dragon Boating Event

Qiantang River Tidal Bore

Qiantang River Tidal Bore

Hangzhou also offers visitors a rich array of festivals throughout the year. Flower lovers should never miss the West Lake Lotus Festival held in June and August and West Lake Osmanthus Festival held in September and October. The Hangzhou Dragon Boat Festival held in the summer from June to August is also a delight. It is held at the Xixi National Wetland Park. During then, visitors will enjoy grand Dragon Boat Races. Every September, during the Tidal Bore Festival, groups of visitors will also gather at Hangzhou or the nearby Haining to admire the world’s most spectacular tidal waves of Qiantang River Tidal Bore. If you are going to visit Hangzhou during the festivals times, you can just join the locals to enjoy the lively atmosphere with them.

No.10: Shopping Silk, Tea and Other Specialties and Souvenirs in Hangzhou

Hangzhou Chinese Silk City

Hangzhou Chinese Silk City

Hangzhou Hefang Street

Hangzhou Hefang Street

Hangzhou is also a paradise for shopping. Here, you can not only buy the world-class Dragon Well Tea at the tea plantation where it is grown, but also find great silk treasures. Besides, there are lovely fans and other souvenirs that you may want to pack to home.

Longjing Tea Plantation and Hangzhou Chinese Silk City are the best places to buy tea and silk. Hefang Street, Wulin Square and Hubin Shopping District are more popular for other items you are looking for.

• Recommended Hangzhou Tour with Shopping Opportunities: ✔ 2 Days Essence of Hangzhou Tour

How to Plan a Hangzhou Tour

Things to Do in Hangzhou: West Lake, Lingyin Temple, Longjing tea Plantation, Hefang Street, Xixi National Wetland Park, China National Tea Museum, China National Silk Museum…

How to Get to Hangzhou: International flights from Singapore (5 hrs.), Seoul (6.5 hrs.), etc., domestic flights from Guangzhou (2 hrs.), Beijing (2 hrs.), etc., or high speed trains from Shanghai (1~2 hrs.), Suzhou (1.5~3 hrs.), Huangshan (1.5~2 hrs.), etc.

Best Time to Visit Hangzhou: all year around

Usually, visitors spend 2 days around to enjoy a classic Hangzhou tour to visit the West Lake Scenic Area, including the amazing West Lake, Lingyin Temple, Longjing Tea Plantations, etc. If you want an in-depth Hangzhou tour, you can also pay another half day or so to visit Xixi National Wetland Park, one day around to Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, or one day or so to Thousand Islands Lake, etc. Check all Hangzhou Tours >>

☛ 2 Days Essence of Hangzhou Tour

☛ 3 Days Classic Hangzhou Tour Plus Tea Plantation Exploration

Also, you can spend 1 day to take a side trip to the nearby water towns like Wuzhen and Xitang in Jiaxing, 2~3 days to Putuoshan - one of the four sacred Buddhist Mountains in China, or 1 day to the popular Nanxun Old Town in Huzhou. Check more about Zhejiang Tours >>

☛ 3 Days Best Hangzhou Tour with Wuzhen Water Town

Besides, compared with just travelling Hangzhou, most of the visitors prefer to travel the metropolis Shanghai, Suzhou Gardens and Hangzhou Lakes in One Go! Such an amazing tour will take 5~6 days.

☛ 3 Days Hangzhou & Suzhou Beauty Tour by High Speed Train

☛ 5 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Highlights Tour

Some visitors also ride a high speed train to Huangshan to visit the world-famous Yellow Mountain. A Hangzhou Huangshan tour needs about 5 days around.

☛ 5 Days Yellow Mountain Tour from Hangzhou

Have your preferences? Please feel free to tell us your likes and let our professional travel consultants customize a personal tour for you!

Hangzhou West Lake Hangzhou West Lake Summer Sightseeing Our Customers visited Meijia Dock Longjing Tea Plantation, Hangzhou Our Customers visited Meijia Dock Longjing Tea Plantation, Hangzhou

Get Inspired by Real Travel Stories of Our Customers

Since 2012, we China Discovery have helped numerous customers to visit Hangzhou and surroundings. With our fully-inclusive private tour packages, all of our customers enjoyed their trips to the West Lake, Lingyin Temple, etc. Some of them kindly shared their precious photos and stories about their Hangzhou journey, just get inspired now.

"Impression Show is a must see when visiting Hangzhou…" - shared by Nguyen (Read her entire travel story: The Pursuit of Natural Beauty with the Beloved one - 14 Days Beautiful China Exploring Tour)

"This last night in Hangzhou led us to explore a different side of West Lake, vastly changing our erstwhile bland impression of the famed tourist site…" - shared by CS from Singapore (Read her entire travel story: Delightful Journey to Poetic Jiangnan Area)

Besides the wonderful travel stories, many customers who visited Hangzhou with China Discovery also send us their first-hand feedbacks about their trip, feel free to read the Hangzhou Reviews and learn what they say about their experience. If you want to start your Hangzhou tour now, don't hesitate to contact us.

Our Customers visited the West Lake, Hangzhou Our Customers visited the West Lake, Hangzhou (Check more Customers Hangzhou Travel Photos)

Recommended Hangzhou Tours

Top 3 Hangzhou tours chosen by most customers to explore Hangzhou in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

West Lake Sunset at Changqiao Park
2 Days Hangzhou Essence Tour (Most Time-Efficient)


West Lake Summer
5 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Highlights Tour

Shanghai / Hangzhou / Suzhou / Shanghai

Humble Administrator's Garden
3 Days Hangzhou Suzhou Beauty Tour by High Speed Train

Hangzhou / Suzhou

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