6 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Hangzhou
One of the best ways to enjoy life in Hangzhou is to simply relax and soak in the atmosphere. After all, there is little else to do in this ancient city. Aside from attending the famous Hangzhou Summer Olympics, when a marvellous view of the Gulf of Zhoushan, the beautiful Yellow Sea, is on display, the attractions in Hangzhou are limited.
However, the culture of this city, dating back thousands of years, has had a profound impact on how China's 7th largest city has evolved into one of China's modern cities. It is perhaps no surprise then that there are many compelling sights to see here.
The stunning Temple of the Dragon’s Nest was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Dating back to at least the Tang Dynasty, this architectural masterpiece is where one of China's best-known philosophies, Taoism, originated. As an important part of the local religion, and China's best-preserved ancient temple, this landmark is also worth seeing.
Many people come to Hangzhou not only for its important sites, but also for its inexpensive high-end shopping. The Hangzhou Longtan markets are particularly popular among high-end tourists. Many Chinese shops here sell products that are hard to find in other parts of the country, such as linen, shoes, and traditional dresses.
Finally, of course, Hangzhou is also the most beautiful city in China. Its well-groomed gardens, bridges, temples, and quaint, old-fashioned streets all make for an idyllic visit.
Built in 1120 during the Song Dynasty, West Lake (West Lake Scenic Area) comprises Hangzhou's largest body of water and third-most-important reservoir in China. Legend holds that emperor Qin Shi Huang drained all China's lakes in order to construct a model of his capital city, and that the emperor hoped to escape from death by drowning in the lost waters of all his subjects. Today, West Lake is perhaps the best-known tourist spot in Hangzhou. Boating trips leave from near the lake's north end to visit Zhejiang's largest island (now topped with a hill), which boasts China's longest and deepest canal.
Jade Buddha Temple
Located in the northwest corner of Hangzhou, Jade Buddha Temple is one of the largest Buddhist temples in China. Although smaller than the magnificent Jingdezhen Buddha Temple in Jiangxi, it is no less impressive for it. Surrounded by gardens and walls, the entire complex, including its pavilions, temples, shrines, and a huge pagoda, is not only the work of the Ming Dynasty painter Xu Wei, but also the largest statue of a Buddha outside India. Apart from its artwork, the temple is the site of significant historical events in China, including the meeting of the emperors of China and Korea in the 13th century.
Zhejiang Provincial Museum
Zhejiang Provincial Museum was built in 1917 and is considered the third-largest art museum in China. It includes a variety of art from Chinese, Oriental, Tibetan, Japanese, Southeast Asian and Central American cultures. The highlight of the museum is a large gallery displaying and explaining the famous Zhejiang Terra Cotta Army. The 65 figures, dating from as early as 520 BC, are the world's largest collection of terracotta army figures and are generally considered the best collection of its kind in China. Museum admission is 400 CNY, and there are additional fees for visits during the day. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Closed the first day of the Chinese New Year.
The section of Lake Tai in Hangzhou, China, is famous for its traditional arts and crafts, such as wooden masks, clay dolls, and local embroidery. What's more, its tradition goes back about 2,300 years, which is one of the world's earliest traditional arts and crafts. The section of Lake Tai is unique, as it includes a large lake with dense, ancient pine forest to the south and a modern lake with parks, gardens, and family-friendly restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues to the north. Hangzhou's major and most visited site is Xihu Park, which has two islands in the lake. Wumong Temple and Tongliyan Bridge can be found here.
Constructed during the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), the historic Qingyun Temple is part of Hangzhou's Tianmu mountain, a beautiful grouping of ancient temples that is surrounded by lush gardens, cliffs and high walls. The temple is thought to be the place where Zen Buddhism, also known as Chan Buddhism, was first introduced to China in the early 11th century. A huge collection of rare Buddhist art is on display in the temple, including seven statues dating back to the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279). This includes a pagoda decorated with the Chinese characters meaning 'The Buddha Sits in Enlightenment.' Also on display are more than 600 rare bronze bells that were unearthed at the site in 1924.
Beihai Park (Beihai Cheng), which is located in Hangzhou, China, is one of the oldest, largest, and most beautiful gardens in Asia. Surrounded by 300 years of lush history, it has been transformed over the years from a rambling park into a splendidly beautiful Chinese garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park has been developed into a masterpiece of engineering, with gorgeous views from the terraces and waterworks, as well as more than 20 varieties of beautiful, thickly planted trees.