Hangzhou China – Top-10 Most Unique Activities to Do
Hangzhou offers both natural and cultural activities. West Lake is usually the first attraction that comes to mind (go see temples, take a boat ride, drink some local tea) but there are a host of other things to do around the city.
Since it’s a populated, bustling city guests may find these serene places a welcome break.
It’s also been an important part of China’s history over the years, so many attractions and activities are culturally based. Here is our list of ten of the best activities in the city.
10. Songcheng Park
240 (kids)- 300 RMB for adults. Small children are free.
An entertaining cultural experience showcasing the Song dynasty. It’s divided into three sections: cultural, performance, and high-tech. For those interested in history, head over to cultural Songcheng to see temples, and traditional activities like knife-throwing.
Take the kids to see high-tech Songcheng- there’s a variety of activities to explore here like two haunted houses, and a spooky street. Also make sure you don’t miss Romance of the Song Dynasty performance. This performance has received global applause, combining dance and acrobatics into a veritable feast for the eyes.
Take a day to fully explore everything.
9. Hangzhou Zoo
Small kids are free, adults 20 RMB
One for the kids, and besides what would a visit to China really be without seeing a panda? It’s covers a massive area- 20 hectares with a collection of 200 species from China and abroad.
The most popular exhibit is the Panda House. Come here to see two giant pandas straight from China’s panda capital, Chengdu. Their antics are a joy to behold, even if they are just being naughty! Also see Monkey Hill, home to over 30 Macaques. Go to Tiger Hill to see massive Siberian Tigers. For something slimier and less majestic, check out the Reptile House for snakes, Hawksbill turtles and Yangtze alligators!
This trip will take you less than half a day, around 2 hours.
8. Quyuan Fenghe – Lingyin Temple bike ride
Rent a bike for only 1 RMB at Quyuan Fenghe
It’s more fun to explore a city in different ways, so get on your bike! We think it’s awesome to ride around without the pressure and constraints of a tour group.
Begin at Quyuan Fenghe- see beautiful red and white lotuses atop the calm waters of West Lake. From here we leave the lake to see Yue Fei Temple, and onto Hangzhou Botanical garden. Here you can see some of the most magnificent fauna and flora China has to offer, and is an active study and research base. Ride through green Longjing tea plantations in Lingyin Road, and finish at Lingyin temple.
It’s about 2-3 hours long, and you can rest wherever you like!
7. Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds
One of West Lake’s top natural attractions, the Twin Peaks on a misty day are a must-see. The North and South peaks tower over the Lake, and in the distance it’s hard to separate cloud from peak. During the Qing dynasty an emperor erected a pavilion from which to drink in the views, near Hongchun bridge.
Nowadays the area is popular with hikers who come to see the peaks in their magnificent, cloudy glory. Walk along one of the many pathways and be amazed by the abundant fauna and flora- also crystal-clear streams and huge rock formations give you an excellent opportunity to enjoy nature at its best.
Take as much time as you want.
6. Chi Spa, Midtown Shangri La
From 480 RMB
“Chi” is an ancient Chinese philosophy that determines your mental and physical health. This spa is situated in one of the most famous hotels in Hangzhou, come here for a true Asian spa experience! They put emphasis on using natural products, the traditional way.
They offer a range of treatments, and the men aren’t excluded, so take the husband along! They have everything: hot rock and foot massages, facials, body polishes, and wraps.
Make sure you make a booking.
5. Meijiawu Tea Village
Of all the tea plantations in Hangzhou, this is rumoured to be the best. It’s a traditional tea village community growing Hangzhou’s famous Longjing tea. Set amongst tranquil mountains and meandering streams, take a walk through the various tea houses. Watch locals do what they’ve done for centuries- turn a tea leaf into an exquisite beverage.
It’s hands-on: take your turn to pick the best tea leaves under the supervision of a local expert. Take the time to walk (or ride) through the magnificent steeping tea fields.
This is a good half-day outing.
4. West Lake Coloured Port View Fish Garden
Something a little less cultural for the kids. Come and see the beautiful pond surrounded by colourful flowering plants. It’s massive-20 acres! Walk around and marvel at the beautiful natural landscape.
The biggest attraction is the fish. The fish have come to learn that tourists usually mean they’re about to get a free meal. Buy some fish food for the kids, who will scream with delight as the massive red, white and yellow Koi lunge out the water to get their share.
There’s a lot to explore in this park, so plan accordingly.
3. Qinghefang Old Street
Free but bring some spending money
Come here to indulge in some retail therapy. It’s also one of the oldest streets in the city, and the area has been a hub since ancient times. It’s been revamped whilst still keeping the traditional feel. Come here to buy some traditional arts and crafts, drink some tea in a tea house, or try a tasty local snack.
Go see the Baohetang pharmacy. For centuries they have taken care of the city’s residents by providing them with traditional Chinese medicine. Or go to Longquan Royal kiln, to buy some celadon artworks. Taiji Tea House is one of the most visited ones, so give it a try.
2. Impressions of the West Lake Show
Coming highly recommended, this is a must-see. Designed by creators of the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony, it draws from Hangzhou’s rich cultural and natural heritage as inspiration. It’s literally performed on the lake- performers are ankle deep.
A performance is based on a cherished love story in Chinese culture, between a man and a snake. Expect an hour-long feast of singing, dancing and various other performances amongst a backdrop that is breathtakingly beautiful. A state of the art auditorium ensures everyone gets a great view.
We suggest you take the time to research the love stories the play is based on- it will add a lot more value.
1. West Lake Boat Cruise
From 100 RMB
It’s clear that West Lake is the central hub of many attractions in Hangzhou, so what better way to take it all in? There are tons of boats to choose from all around the lake, with many stopping at various attractions en route. Take a barge-more expensive but comfortable. Sip on a drink as you slowly snake through the majestic green hills.
A guide can take you on a row boat (if you want to relax it’s better to let someone else do the rowing!). Smaller, but it gives you a more traditional feel. Alternatively, get your own row boat and explore the lake at your leisure. There are also cruises where you can sleep a night on a cruise ship.
Notable attractions on the lake are Su Causeway and Xiao Ying Zhou Islet.
Overall Hangzhou is one of China’s top tourist destinations offering a wide array of activities for everyone. Remember that during peak season it gets very busy.