How to Spend 1 Day in Hangzhou
Hailed as one of the most beautiful cities in China, Hangzhou and its scenic West Lake has been a source of inspiration to poets and painters for centuries; it’s also the source of some of the best tea in the world. Here’s how to make the most of one day in Hangzhou.
Morning: See the Sights of West Lake
Early risers should watch the sunrise over the Su Causeway, one of the Ten Scenes of West Lake. Afterwards, take a boat cruise around the lake; tours tend to stop at either Solitary Hill (Gu Hill), the only natural island in the lake, or Huagang (Flower Harbor) Park Wharf to explore Flower Harbor Park and Red Carp Pond.
After West Lake, head to either Lingyin Temple or Six Harmonies (Liuhe) Pagoda. Lingying Temple, known for the hundreds of stone Buddhist statues carved into the hillside. The 6-sided, 7-story Six Harmonies Pagoda is a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architecture and offers panoramic views over the Qiantang River.
Afternoon: Experience Tea Culture
Spend the afternoon learning about tea culture, in particular Longjing (Dragon Well) tea, considered one of the finest teas in China. Head to the terraced green hills of either Meijiawu Tea Village or Dragon Well Tea Village—also home to the National Tea Museum—on a tour, which typically comprise lunch in a teahouse and a tea ceremony, during which you’ll learn about tea planting and how to properly pour a cup. This is also a great opportunity to purchase tea under the supervision of an expert guide.
Night: Experience Local Culture
Head back to Hangzhou to catch a performance of Impressions West Lake. Directed by the acclaimed Zhang Yimou, it uses West Lake as its stage and combines music, dance, singing, opera, and other cultural highlights for a dazzling rendition of a local Hangzhou legend.
Afterwards, head to Qinghefang Ancient Street, the best-preserved historic street in the city, to appreciate classical architecture, grab dinner and drinks, and shop for souvenirs.