Hangzhou, one of China’s hottest destinations

Xian, Nanjing, Hangzhou – three dynasties (Qin – Ming – Song), three ancient capital cities, three Shangri-La hotels – in one trip

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and the local political, economic and cultural center. As the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, the city is located on the lower reaches of the Qiantang River in southeast China, a superior position in the Yangtze Delta and only 112 mi (180 km) from Shanghai.

Hangzhou and its West Lake have been immortalized by countless poets and artists. The city was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 until the Mongol invasion of 1276. The city’s population is estimated to have been as high as one million in those days, making it the largest city in the world at the time. Even Marco Polo claimed to have passed through, calling it beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world.

West Lake,  a UNESCO World Heritage site, is Hangzhou’s most famous scenic sight, with 10 Scenes of the West Lake and 10 New Scenes given by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing dynasty, but they are often seasonal (Snowfall Over Broken Bridge, etc). The “West Lake” itself can be divided into countless smaller sites, from Mr. Guo’s villa to “Orioles Singing in the Willows”.

The “West Lake Scenic Area” itself is very large. This section only covers areas in the immediate vicinity of the lake. Other spots are covered in later sections. One of the best ways to explore the lake is by taking a boat ride. There are also lots of private gondola rides.

Lingyin Temple Meaning “heart of the soul’s retreat”, this temple west of the West Lake is an active Buddhist temple at the bottom of a hill.This is one of the 3 oldest and most famous temples in China. There are hundreds of Buddhist stone statues carved into the cliffs in the “Peak Flying from Afar” section next door.

In its heyday, the temple comprised nine buildings, eighteen pavilions, seventy-seven palaces and halls with over thirteen hundred rooms providing accommodation for around three thousand monks. A monastery on this scale is difficult to imagine and needless to say over the centuries it has been subjected to many changes of fortune due to wars, religious repression and other calamities. The main building that can be seen today is a result of the restoration that was carried out in 1974 following the ten-year Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Tea - Dragon Well/Longjing tea is famous throughout China and worth buying if you like green tea. The Longjing village and tea fields area of Hangzhou (southwest of West Lake) are where Longjing tea is grown. Besides being worth a visit for the scenic sights alone, tea can be purchased here as well – fresh from the harvesters’ bags if so desired.

Six Harmonies Pagoda is a representative ancient pavilion-style tower in China, located on Yuelun Mountain to the south of the West Lake and facing Qiantang River. It is one of the three renowned pagodas in Hangzhou, together with another two around the West Lake, Baochu Pagoda and Leifeng Pagoda. Because of the height advantage and special location, Liuhe Pagoda is one of the best places to view the splendid Qiantang River Tide.

China National Silk Museum is the first state-level professional silk museum in the country as well as the biggest of its kind throughout the world. It opened to the public in 1992 and since 2004 people can visit it for free. The museum boasts eight exhibition halls, including: the Preface Hall, Relics Hall, Folk-custom Hall, Dyeing and Weaving Hall and Modern Achievements Hall.

China National Tea Museum was opened in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in 1991. It is located in Longjing (Dragon Well) Village, west of West Lake, and covers an area of 22,000 square meters with a 3500 square meter construction area.This museum is the only one in the country with the tea theme. It has no external walls but is enclosed by vegetation giving the unique impression that the halls and the tea plants inside depend upon each other. Additionally, one hundred distinctive Chinese characters relating to tea are enchased in the road to add color to your trip.

Concierge tips provided by Midtown Shangri-La, Hangzhou 6 Changshou Road, Kerry Central, Yan’an Road, Hangzhou T:(86 571)8733 8888

 

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