Hangzhou has been placed firmly on the list of “best domestic tourist destination in China” for the sixth time in Ctrip’s annual online poll. With tourism attractions as great as the seven following wonders, it is not hard to see why…
#1 West Lake
It would be impossible to write a list of the seven wonders of Hangzhou without first writing about the incredibly beautiful XiHu or ‘West Lake’. As mentioned in the introduction, Hangzhou is actually one of the most popular cities in China for domestic tourism and I strongly believe that the West Lake and its surrounding area is the main reason for this.
There are several old stories or myths that you can find out about while touring the lake and these bring a different perspective to landmarks such as the broken bridge once you hear the history behind them. If you time your trip right and come in the evening it is even possible to watch a light show.
The West Lake is just a short walk from 3 metro stations – Fengqi Rd, Wulin Square and Longxiangqiao.
#2 Lingyin Temple
Lingyin Temple is a Buddhist temple located quite close to West Lake and just a short bus journey from the city centre. It features lots of shrines and rock carvings from periods throughout China’s history. If you can walk to the upper part of the temple then you can be served tea in the teahouse and have a traditional Buddhist lunch.
Lingyin Temple is usually best avoided on national holidays as it is very busy due to Chinese people coming on these days to pray and donate. Get to the temple by bus from the East railway station, or a cheap taxi ride.
#3 Longjing Tea Village
West Lake is not the only thing that has put Hangzhou on the map. It is also famous for two of its exports, ‘Longjing’ or ‘Dragon Well’ Tea and world class quality silk. If you want to sample the tea, then the best thing to do is to head up to Longjing tea village.
Here you can buy some to take home or just taste some of this famous tea. Come at the right season and you can even pick some actual tea leaves yourself!
#4 Xixi Wetland National Park
Number four on this list is a little way out of town but still worth a visit. The Xixi Wetlands are a fairly large expanse of land full of wildlife and stunning foliage. There are multiple bus routes so that you can come here to get away from the hectic city centre and embrace the natural side of this Chinese city.
#5 Hangzhou Grand Canal
The Grand Canal is a world UNESCO heritage site and, although it may be hard to believe, it runs all the way from Beijing to Hangzhou. This makes it the largest artificial river in the world passes through four separate Chinese provinces!
What makes it even more incredible is that it was completed in 618 AD!
You can take a relaxing cruise on this canal or even take a boat further afield to see another of China’s beautiful cities- Suzhou.
#6 China National Tea Museum
So, going to a tea village was not enough for tea for one trip? Well, then there is always the China national tea museum!
Drinking tea and tea culture is kind of a big deal here in China. So, as you can imagine, if somewhere calls itself the China national tea museum, it must be a pretty important place. Here you can learn all about the history of tea and the best way to prepare the different types.
Take bus number 27 or 87 to get here.
#7 Baochu Pagoda
Just on the edge of the West Lake there is a tower called the Baochu Pagoda. It was built in around 960 AD so that people could pray for their king to have a safe journey into central China. Maybe that seems an excessive construction for just one trip, but at least it still looks nice today.
If you climb the mountain that the pagoda sits on you will also be rewarded with a panoramic view of the West Lake and Hangzhou city.
The 7 Wonders of Hangzhou is written by Chris Berry. Chris Berry is a teacher living in China. Follow Chris Berry at With A Backpack and Facebook.
Have you visited Hangzhou? What are the places that you have visited in Hangzhou that you feel should make into the list of 7 wonders?