Hangzhou has introduced a great bike rental scheme. You show your passport, plonk down a deposit of 300 yuan per bike and get a smart card. Swipe it at any bike station around the city (there are many) for FREE use of the bike for the 1st hour. It costs 1 yuan per hour after that. We were able to ride to & from tourist spots around the West Lake as well as to shop in the city without paying anything, by returning the bikes and re-borrowing at the different stations. Some of the bikes have baby carriers.
When you are through with the bike, go to the bike station and get back your deposit by giving them the receipt. Only certain bike stations can issue the smart card as well as return the deposit. The bike stations are open from 8 am to 7 pm daily. All the bikes are bright orange, so you can't mistaken them for bikes for rental by private operators. And don't worry, the workers will only allow bikes in good condition to be borrowed.
Hangzhou roads are very good to ride on. Smooth and wide. Many roads have bike lanes and the drivers there are used to sharing the roads with bikes, so you can enjoy your ride safely.
The best way to get around the city is by bus (well, if money is not a concern at all, taxi is quick too). One destination is usually served by several bus lines, and they come every 10 to 15 min. However, they are crowded, so be prepared to stand. Also, in the summer time, pick a line with letter "K" in its name, like "k152". Those are the ones with air condition. Bus fare is very cheap in Hangzhou; they go bettwen 15 to 25 cents. Unless you will be in the city for a very long time, don't even bother getting a bus pass, just have changes ready when you board because they don't give out changes. How about bus schedule? well, they are very hard to find because the city has over 100 bus lines and it's rare to wait more than 15 min for a bus.
All right, taking a train from Shanghai to Hang Zhou is convenient. Prices are cheap even for a soft seat. Around 50RMB, most travel agency will purchase the tickets for you and deliver it by hand to your room for a nominal fee of 5rmb/ticket. Why buy a soft seat ticket? Firstly, you get a seat reserved for you reflected by a seat number on your ticket. Next, you avoid the mad rush to get a seat on the hard seat cabin, as its free seating. When push comes to shove, no one can beat the Chinese. If you are alone or not travellng with children and want to interact with the locals, the hard seat cabin may be a good idea, the ticket is significantly cheaper. At the train station, its basically a long warehouse with large barn style doors, which the conductors will open when its time for boarding, which is a mad rush for the hard seats. Its confusing for soft seat cabin passengers to find out which is the soft seat cabin though. Take note that the train station is extremely crowded usually, so please take a look out for pickpockets...From Shanghai, its a 4 hours train ride to Hangzhou. The train is roomy, seats are pretty hard though, and has large windows for looking at the numerous factories that you will see when you move out of shanghai prefecture. On board, push cart vendors will peddle hot drinks and snacks. Prices are cheap, but the quality is dismal. The other downside of the seats is that, the position is too upright and its hard to sleep. The other issue is that, sound isulation is pretty bad. But the ride is smooth enough, but don't expect european standards though.
Canal Boat to Suzhou is an interesting experience. I’ve once taken the boat in opposite direction, Suzhou-Hangzhou. However, I don’t think the boats are suitable for travellers. The boats are chained in line, one after another, up to 4. The first one tugs the others. If take the leading boat, you must buy its 1st class ticket otherwise the cabins are besides the engine room so that you won’t have a good rest. All the rooms are pretty small with no furnishments. 2nd class rooms are unacceptably small. The night view of the Canal is all in darkness. You must cherish the dawn and dusk. Well, I think the boats to Wuxi is a better choice. although it takes 1hr more time, the boats sails in Lake Taihu, the 3rd largest lake, for that period. So you can enjoy both canal and lake views. I won’t revise your route, but suggest you take the Hangzhou-Wuxi boat. If you won’t spend time on Wuxi, just take a train to Suzhou. Lots of trains run between the 2 cities and it takes only a half hour’s time. Remember to book the boat tickets in advance or you’ll have fewer choices.
Places to buy boat ticket/Wharf:
Hangzhou, 138 HuanchengBeiLu, (Wulinmen)
Suzhou, Renmin Qiao(People's Bridge)
Both are in downtown areas.
As a tourism-oriented city, Hangzhou has very mature and developed city transportation. You even no need to take ONE taxi in the city because there are so many Bus lines which can send you to all famous spots.
5087 Hangzhou - Yiwu 16:56 - 19:01
Z10 Hangzhou - Beijing 18:03 - 07:33
1515 Hangzhou - Guiyang 10:39 - 18:59 (+1day)
2249 Hangzhou - Xiamen 13:02 - 15:40 (+1 day)
2308 Hangzhou - Xi'an 14:28 - 14:43 (+1 day)
T730 Hangzhou - West Nanjing 14:44 - 20:10
1025 Hangzhou - Chongqing 15:20 - 10:58 (+2 days)
T178 Hangzhou - Ji'nan 18:47 - 06:56 (+1 day)
T32 Hangzhou - Beijing 22:10 - 13:20 (+1 day)
The above train times of course could vary but these are right at the time of me writing. (Start Nov 11, 2004)
K111 Shanghai - Guiyang 10:35 - 17:07 (+1 day)
K163 Shanghai - Fuzhou 14:17 - 05:55 (+1 day)
K47 Shanghai - Guangzhou 15:49 - 17:51 (+1 day)
K79 Shanghai - Kunming 17:49 -11:01 (+1 day)
K351 Shanghai - Chengdu 18:39 - 15:04 (+1 day)
All the above trains are again subject to change, but were right at the time of writing. They are trains which go through Hangzhou at some point en route.
Actually this pic was not took in Hangzhou but Beijing Capital International Airport, i was having a short term trainning lessons. Thought the plane was pretty stunning, so that's how it came to being=)
Hangzhou is accessible by train from Shanghai in about 2 hours. Do remember to book your train ticket before your trip, especially if travelling on weekends and public holidays. Your hotel concierge can do it for you for a small fee. The soft seat train ticket to Hangzhou is about 40 - 50 RMB and the ride is quite comfortable. There is a separate waiting room for soft seat passengers so you won't have to jostle about with the rest of the passengers in the hard seat compartment.
From Airport to Hangzhou:
We arrived at Hangzhou Airport at 11pm due to flight delay. We still can catch an Airport Bus outside of the first floor arrival hall exit 5. It comes with several stops, we stopped at West Lake and spend taxi Y14 yuan to ride to our hotel.
Tip: You can buy a map (Y5) on board. Don't worry it is a standard price.
From Hangzhou to Airport:
The Airport Bus Station in Hangzhou is located 500 meters away from the Hangzhou Railway Station. Once you arrive at Hangzhou Railway Station, look out for a hotel name " Goethe Hotel, 歌德大酒店， ge de da jiu dian " or refer my photo. In front of the hotel, there is a parking space for long distant bus. You can buy the ticket at the assigned cabin " 机场巴士售票处"。The bus will arrive in front of the airport departure hall.
Bus Fare: Y20 per adult
Duration: 45 minutes
Hangzhou Passenger Transport Central Station is the largest long-distant bus station in Zhejiang Province. It is located at east of Hangzhou City, Jiubao Town. This is a huge bus stop in a modern architectural building. It has two levels. The waiting halls are quite comfortable.
Transport to the Station: Bus 69, 100, 101, 104, 111, 314, 328, 508, 684, 848. (We took K28 from west lake, then change bus at Huanglong Bus stop, catch bus 101 to the station) It was a little jam in the morning. It took almost 1 hour to get there.
Taxi costs more than Y45.
You can take buses to Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuzhen, Ningbo, Shaoxing, Hefei, etc.
(We took a bus to Wuzhen from this station cost Y28, 2 hours )
If you happen to be in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, you can buy cheap airfare flight to Hangzhou with Airasia.
The flight takes about 5 hours.
8:10 --> 13:10
17:20 --> 22:20
Hangzhou --> KL
23:20 --> 04:20
14:10 --> 19:10
check out the website!!
There is a fantastic luxury bus that goes from the Tongli bus terminus to the Hangzhou North bus station. The tickets can be purchased at the ticket window at the Tongli depot. The bus number is PW9353 and it leaves at 08:10am. The tickets cost RMB51pp and the trip takes about 3 hours.
This was a wonderful find as we had spent 2 nights in Tongli and we thought we would have to go back to Suzhou and then find a train from there or Shanghai to Hangzhou. Thank you to our guest house for managing to communicate this with us!!
In Hangzhou there are automatic bike rental stations around town. You have to buy a magnetic card in advance, to use when collecting a bike and returning it. Nice thing is you can pick up and drop off at different locations.
I've done a lot of city cycling in Shanghai and Hangzhou. I do not rate it as "enjoyable", and unless you have good urban riding experience in chaotic places, I wouldn't recommend it.
As for parking a bike, it's not a big problem. If you have a lock, you can leave it just about anywhere.
Some people suggest bicycling around the West Lake area of Hangzhou -- I think the pace on foot is much more enjoyable.
There are plenty of trains traveling bewteen Hangzhou and Shanghai.
The trip takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes with the new high speed trains.
Note, most trains from Hangzhou to Shanghai ends at Shanghai South Railway Station, it's different from Shanghai Railway Station. From South Station, you can take subway to get to Shanghai Railway Station.