Hangzhou’s beautiful scenery has made it the wedding photo capital of China. The capital of Zhejiang Province, and located 45 minutes by high speed train from Shanghai, Hangzhou is centered around the famous West Lake (Xi Hu), which has been immortalized by countless Chinese poets and artists. Hangzhou was capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 until the Mongol invasion of 1276. During this time the city’s population is estimated to have been as high as one million, making it the largest city in the world. Even the great Marco Polo claimed to have passed through, describing Hangzhou as “beyond dispute the finest and noblest city in the world“. Hangzhou has a subtropical monsoon-type climate with four distinct seasons, although it’s possible to visit all year round.
- Leifeng Pagoda (雷峰塔) 15 Nanshan Road（杭州市南山路15号) is an octagonal 5-storied wood-and-brick pagoda located on Sunset Hill south of West Lake. It’s the landmark of Hangzhou which is of great historical and cultural importance, and noted as one of Ten Scenes of West Lake (西湖十景), as well as has a deep connection with popular legends. The original pagoda was erected in 975 AD during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. During the Ming Dynasty when Japanese pirates invaded Hangzhou, they set the whole pagoda on fire for suspecting a Chinese army of having hidden in it. The fire destroyed the pagoda’s wooden elements, leaving only the brick skeleton. Later, superstitious people believed that the bricks of this time-honored pagoda had special magic which could prevent diseases. And they took bricks from its lower storeys as a talisman which weakened the pagoda, and led to its collapse in 1924. However, due to its great importance, it was rebuilt in 2002 according to original style and meanwhile preserved its remains at the base of the new Leifeng Pagoda.
- Impression West Lake Show is a large-scale performance in the Yuehu Lake Scenic Area. It focuses on the ancient folklore between Xu Xian and Bai Suzhen, and the sad love storey between Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. It consists of five acts: encounter, falling in love, farewell, memory, and impression. The dance, music, and lighting all contribute to the performance. The first performance lasts from 19:15 to 20:15, while the second one lasts from 20:45 to 21:45. Ticket prices range from ~RMB 260 to ~RMB 600
- Wulin Square (武林广场) Tiyuchang Road (杭州市体育场路) is located to the north of the West Lake, right in front of Hangzhou Grand Theatre (杭州剧院). It’s a very prosperous square with many high buildings and shopping malls standing around, like Hangzhou Tower (杭州大厦), Zhejiang Exhibition Hall (浙江展览馆) and the Hangzhou Department store (杭州市百货大楼). The Piano Stairs were completed in October, 2012. Every step of the stairs represents a note. When you are walking on them, the stairs will play “your song”.
- Qiaoxi Historic Block (桥西直街) is located west of the old Gongchen Bridge, along the bank of the Grand Canal is this grand residential block featuring designs from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Restored by the government in 2008 it has since been developed to include a number of new attractions. Boasting a range of services such as Chinese medicine culture, ceramic making and is also home to a number of restaurants, cafes, bars, gift shops and museums. Once old and frayed this residential block is now buzzing with charm and beauty but still maintains its sense of tranquility and style. Walk along any one of the cobbled streets that make up this block and you will discover a world of culture.
Shopping specialties include:
Bamboo Chopsticks, Silk Parasols, Green Tea, Brocade, Silk and Fans.
- Hangzhou silk has a long history as more than 4,000 years, featuring gentle texture, gorgeous colors and wide varieties. The silk produced in Hangzhou has 14 varieties, including satin, spin, crepe, damask silk and silk fabric. The silk products include landscape painting, cushions for leaning on, curtain and clothing.
- Xihu silk umbrella features bright color and exquisite appearance, with the “bone” is made of bamboo. It not only can be used as common umbrella for sunshade, but also can be used as ornament to decorate your house.
- Hangzhou Longjing Tea (Dragon Well Tea) is famous for its unique green color, fragrant aroma, sweet taste and flat appearance, and it is usually regarded as a health elixir, which is quite popular throughout China.
- Wangxingji Paper Fan (王星记扇子) The paper fans produced in Hangzhou are famous in China since ancient times. The most famous three local products in Hangzhou are paper fan, silk and Longjing tea. Wangxingji fan is the best known brand of fan in Hangzhou. The history of the factory can go back to 1875, and in that time, it was regarded as the tribute for imperial household.