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Hangzhou

Hangzhou, well known as one of China's seven ancient capitals, has a long history; the city, the first to define China's history and culture, is known around the world as "Southeast China's Famed Prefecture," and is the birthplace of one of the world's earliest civilizations. Today, Hangzhou is the largest city in Zhejiang province and a major conurbation on China's eastern seaboard; it is the political, economic, cultural, transport, media, communications, and financial center of Zhejiang province. It has received numerous accolades as China's best tourist destination, and has been variously praised as a Land of Plenty, the Silk Capital, and Paradise on Earth.

West Lake

The West Lake is in southwestern Hangzhou; its renown worldwide for its stunning lake and mountain scenery as well as for its numerous ancient monuments which has led some to call it a 'paradise on earth.' The lake is surrounded on three sides by hills, such that the lake appears embraced by them, while the hills also provide a screen against the rest of the world; the lake and hills complement each other perfectly, and the area has rightly become a scenic area of national importance.

Address: West Lake Scenic Area, Xihu District, Hangzhou.

Qiandao Lake

Qiandao Lake, or the Lake of a Thousand Islands, is located in Chunnan County, and boasts the world's greatest number of islands in any lake. Surrounded by rolling hills, verdant forests, and all-encompassing greenery, the crystalline lake waters cover a total area of 573 square kilometers, with visibility reaching up to 12 meters; with a maximum depth of 108 meters, the lake is a National Grade 1 body of water, and has been widely praised, both for its beauty as well as for its water quality. Visitors to the lake can take a boat and weave through the numerous islands, enjoy the breeze which blows across the waters, experience the natural wildlife, explore ancient villages, or even go mountain rafting. The stunning lake area is the perfect place to get back to nature, and enjoy a day of complete relaxation.

Address: Menggu Road, Chunnan County, Hangzhou.

Lingyin Temple

Construction of the Lingyin Temple started in 326 CE, and is now almost 1700 years old; nestled in the foothills between the two Feilai and Beigao Peaks, even its name ('Hidden Spirit' Temple) suggests its hidden location in the wilderness; the area is a quaint, quiet yet attractive tour destination. There are many introductions available to the temple's historical origins, and you are better simply to pay a visit to the site, and appreciate its wonders yourself.

Address: 1 Fayun Lane, Lingyin Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou.

Visitors to Hangzhou will definitely want to seek out local specialties such as lotus root, silk parasols, or tea, but today's Hangzhou is able to satisfy every taste, from the simplest to the most extravagant; the city caters to every need.

Jiefang Road – a modern shopping and tourist destination

Jiefang Road used to be one of Hangzhou's busiest commercial areas, but redevelopment projects such as West Lake Times Plaza and Qianjiang Times Plaza have rejuvenated this major artery, which links Qianjiang New City to the city center, and the area is once again vibrant with the arrival of numerous boutiques. Today, floor upon floor of commercial centers await, laden with the stylish, the modern, and the fashionable.

Address:Jiefang Road, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou.

Hangzhou offers not only beautiful views, visitors will also find its food unforgettable; 'fresh yet different' is definitely the byword for Hangzhou cuisine. Carefully selected for freshness, delicately prepared, with a watchful eye for nutrition, the city's cuisine combines freshness with taste, in dishes brimming with light, gently fresh flavor. A veritable feast of different flavors awaits the visitor – be it Tianxianglou's Dongpo pork, West Lake vinegar fish at Louwailou, Wushan crisp cakes, Jinhua flaky pastries, or sautéed eel and prawn noodles, 'Happy Pair' snacks at Zhiweiguan, or Huzhou's Ding Lianfang 'Thousand Layer' wonton soup.

West Lake vinegar fish

No visit to the West Lake is complete without a meal of vinegar fish! Made with any of the freshwater fish found in the West Lake, the dish requires the fish to diet for 1-2 days, and also stipulates very strict rules during the cooking process. After cooking, a layer of translucent sweet vinegar is ladled over the fish, erecting the fish's fins; the result is a tender, flavorful dish, with a hint of crab, with a fresh, mild bittersweet taste.

Recommended restaurant: Myrtle Hall, West Lake State Guesthouse

Address: Jiale Court, 8 West Lake State Guesthouse, 18 Yanggong Causeway, Xihu District, Hangzhou.

Dongpo pork

The menus of many Hangzhou restaurants feature Dongpo pork, a popular dish with a history of over 900 years – small squares of spiced, red-cooked pork packaged into tasty morsels. With its thin skin, tender flesh, gorgeous reddish color, tantalizing juices, and crisp, smooth form, Donpo pork is guaranteed not to leave an oily taste in your mouth; a mere glimpse is enough to give you a healthy appetite.

Recommended restaurant: Louwailou (Gushan Road)

Address: 30 Gushan Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou (close to Pinghuqiuyue).

Sautéed eel and prawn noodles

Sautéed eel and prawn noodles is a traditional recipe first invented by the century-old Kuiyuanguan; it brings together pure white flour, filleted eel, and freshly fresh water prawns; these are prepared in a complex process involving deep-frying in vegetable oil, stir-frying in lard, and rinsing in sesame oil; the flavor of the juices, the freshness of the noodles, the whiteness of the prawns, and the tasty crispiness of the noodles are a constant draw to tourists from China and abroad, who flock to Kuiyuanguan to savor this tasty dish.

Recommended restaurant: Kuiyuanguan (Jeifang Road main branch)

Address: 154 Jiefang Road, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou (close to Zhongshan Zhong Road).

Bus

Hangzhou's buses are either normal or air-conditioned (route numbers on the latter are prefixed with a K), or minibuses; a multi-ride ticket system is used, and normal tickets cost CNY 1-1.5;Air-conditioned buses: CNY 2-3; BRT: CNY 3-4; Fares are indicated at each bus stop.

Taxi

Hangzhou taxis are either normal taxis (blue) or electric taxis (yellow); the minimum fare is CNY 11 per 3 kilometers.It is relatively difficult to get a taxi in Hangzhou, particularly around five or six o'clock in the afternoon, when drivers are changing shifts; they may even refuse to take passengers.

Subway

Hangzhou Metro's single nine runs from Linping to Xiasha town center and terminates in Xianghu, Xiaoshan District. Current operating times are 6:00-20:30; trains run every 9.5 minutes. Fares are calculated by segment, with a minimum fare of CNY 2 per person; the maximum fare is CNY 8.

Currency:Chinese Yuan(CNY)

Voltage:220 V/50 Hz

Telephone code:+860592

Climate

Hangzhou is located in a subtropical monsoon region, with four distinct seasons; summers are hot and humid, and the city is known as one of the ''four new furnaces"; Winters are cold and dry. Annual precipitation is 1454 mm; Hangzhou temperatures range from a minimum of -5.2℃ to a maximum of approximately 39℃.

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