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Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and is recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in China. It is an important tourist resort, with visitors attracted by its stunning natural beauty. The famous West Lake area has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, with a history dating back to the 1100s, the city has a rich cultural heritage.
West Lake is Hangzhou's most famous tourist attraction, its beauty celebrated by artists and poets alike.
The city has many beautiful temples and pagodas to explore and the views from Baochu Pagoda in particular are breathtaking.
Hangzhou's green spaces are famous and the garden at Guo's Villa is reputed to be the finest in the region.
Hiking in the mountains around Hangzhou offers spectacular scenery on some superb trails which are easily accessible from the city center.
An afternoon at a tea house in Manjueling Village is a unique Hangzhou experience.
Hangzhou's summer can be hot and very humid. Spring is a beautiful season to see the blossoms in the parks.
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport has regular services across China and Southeast Asia. The 20-mile trip west into the city center will cost ¥90 by taxi or ¥20 by shuttle bus.
Hangzhou has good rail services from other Chinese cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The fare from Shanghai is ¥78.
Hangzhou sits at the center of an excellent highway network, with the G60 running northeast to Shanghai and the G25 running north to Nanjing.
The city has four bus stations, serving connections from north, south, east and west. Trains from Shanghai, for example, arrive at the north bus station and fares cost ¥58.
Hangzhou International Youth Hostel on Nanshan Road is close to the lake and has dorm room accommodation from ¥40. Double rooms are ¥200. The Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale West Lake Hangzhou Hotel on Fengqi Road offers international style luxury with rooms from ¥1,200.
Shangcheng District – is at the city's urban core and is close to the West Lake area.
Binjiang District – is a modern and fast-developing area across the Qiantang River from West Lake.
Xihu District – is next to West Lake and many other city attractions. It has some of the best hotels in the city.
Hangzhou has a good bus service, with local buses costing from ¥2 and dedicated tourist buses serving the main attractions from ¥3 (These bus numbers start with a 'Y').
Taxis are plentiful and drivers usually use the proper metered fare. The initial cost is ¥11 and then you will pay ¥4 per mile.
Remember you'll need a Chinese driving licence to drive in China. Car rental is around ¥190 per day, or you can rent a car with a driver.
Yan'an Road is best for fashion, while Wensan Road is the place for electronics. There is a nightly market at Pinghai Road that sells just about anything.
A quart of milk in Hangzhou will cost around ¥15.60 and a dozen eggs is ¥9.95.
Grandma's Kitchen has restaurants across the city serving good local food from ¥20. Lou Wai Lou sits on an island off Beishan Road and is renowned as perhaps the best restaurant in the city; try the West Lake sweet and sour fish or Beggar's chicken. Dinner costs around ¥120 per person.