We made a land trip to Hangzhou from Shanghai by rented van. To reach there, it requires two hours of travel. As for our case, it took us longer coz we made a side trip to an export processing zone selling various leather items from shoes to bags. On the way there, one of our tires loosen from the van. Luckily none of us was hurt from the incident except for minor cuts suffered by my uncle. So we had to hire a tower to fix the tire. Then off we go to a shop for a final check-up. Upon arriving in Hangzhou, we had a very late lunch at my cousin-in-law's house. After lunch, we went out to visit the famous Xihu Lake. It was a long walk to the lake but I enjoyed the beautiful city scenery around me. The city has many trees & flowers and it's really scenic. I found myself loving it and wanting to come back.
"Heaven on earth"
The Chinese have a saying; Up there is Heaven, down here we have Hangzhou and Suzhou.
I don't have much experiences of other places, but I find Hangzhou with its famous West Lake (Xi Hu) wonderful with its beautiful parks and flower blossom all year round. This was apparently also the case when Marco Polo visited the place during the 13th century.
Being famed for its lake, Hangzhou receives tens of millions of tourists a year, of which an increasing number are from abroad. Tourists have plenty of sights to choose from; dozens of big and small temples and pagodas, beautiful scenery as well as places known in Chinese history or literature and arts.
Hangzhou is a provincial town by Chinese standards, and does not have the distinctly international feel of cities the likes of Shanghai. Hangzhou is still very much Chinese, where a slower pace of life is valued. Though very Chinese, foreigners will find Hangzhou also a good place to live in long-term; the number of foreign restaurants and supermarkets donning imported foods keeps increasing, so you can get your crisp bread, French cheese, maple suryp or tortillas should you want to.
The main sources of income are manufacturing (especially silk and other textiles) and increasingly also high-tech manufacturing and R&D. Hangzhou is one of the designated IT spots in China, and increasing numbers of foreign It companies are setting up shop here. Hangzhou is a second-tier city, where costs and personnel turnover are lower than in first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
"Hangzhou tourist hot spot in days yonder and today"
Hangzhou is famous for its West Lake, one of many namesakes in China. It is a natural lake that formed by the combination of water from three rivers that got cut off and became a lake. It has long been a centre for writing and poetry, and some famous poets and writers have called Hangzhou their home, incl. Su Dongpo who got a local pork dish called after himself.
By the time Marco Polo visited in the 13th century, he mentioned it especially as the most beautiful city in the world. At the time Marco Polo visited, Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty. The Song Dynasty moved the capital to Hangzhou as the threat of invasion from the North grew ever greater. Hangzhou became an important city as the capital and retained some of that importance for long after the capital was moved northwards again. Also Emperors of the later Qing Dynasty enjoyed Hangzhou and spent quite some time there (Qianglong and Kangxi). It was also during this time that Hangzhou became a popular tourist destination, to this day.
During national holidays, people flock Hangzhou. For the May Holiday 2006, 6 million visitors crowded the city. The city is being discovered by foreign tourists groups too, and is one of the top destinations in China.
"Autumn in Hangzhou"
The autumn in Hangzhou is called the golden season and could be considered lasting from the start of October until end of November.
This time of year is characterised by sunny but relatively cool weather (compared with summer) with pleasant temperatures of around 15-25 degrees. This is the time the Chinese do their tourist travel, and for anyone who has spent summer in China, it is clear why this season is so popular.
The National Day Holiday the first week of October is top tourist season in Hangzhou. People crowd the sights and especially the lakeside. A lot of weddings take place around this time, and if you walk around the lake, you can go wedding photo spotting. They usually walk around in groups; photographer, assistant and happy couples.