Hangzhou – China’s Most Beautiful City
A major political, cultural and financial center of Zhejiang Province in China, Hangzhou serves also serves as the capital of Zhejiang Province. Located between Shanghai and Ningbo at the head of Hangzhou Bay on china's coast, Hangzhou is extremely popular for its natural beauty and is among the most popular and prosperous cities in the country. A sub provincial city, Hangzhou spreads on an area of 34,585km2 of land and is home to more than 21.102 million people who make it the 4th largest metropolitan area in China. The history of the city is around 7,000 years old when Neolithic culture of Hemudu inhabited the area The city is one among the Seven Ancient Capitals of China and has served as the capital of Wuyue Kingdom and has been ruled by Qianlong Emperor, Tang dynasty, Southern Song dynasty, Arab merchants, Yuan dynasty and Ming dynasty at some point in history. It is this cultural and historical consolidation which makes Hangzhou one of the most sought after tourist destination in China. While Mandarin is the official language of the city, Wu Chinese is also spoken.
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport is the major airport serving the city and all flights coming to Hangzhou land at this airport. The airport is directly connected to major cities across the world and is 27 km east of downtown Hangzhou. The city experience humid subtropical climate and has four distinctive seasons. Summers are long hot and humid from April to July and typhoon storm dominate the city from August to September. During the autumn months from September to November, it is generally sunny and a good time for tourism. During the winter months (December to February) temperatures can dip to 4.6 °C. The best time to visit Hangzhou will be during the months from March to May or from September to November. Huangshan Mountain International Tourist Festival in October, Hangzhou Dragon Boat Festival in June, International Qiantang River Tidal Bore Watching Festival in September, International Cartoon and Animation Festival in April and West Lake Expo from October to November are the most popular events and festivals celebrated in Hangzhou.
Grand Cana, a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site is the most popular attraction of Hangzhou. At 1,776 km in length, it is the world’s longest canal connecting Hangzhou to Beijing city. West Lake, which is the focal part of the city, is surrounded by temples, old bridges and numerous attractions. The lake spreads on six sq. km and is divided in 5 sections and each section has something unique to offer the tourists. Yue Fei Temple is the resting place of General Yue Fei who is buried here. 86 stone plaques, Hangzhou Botanical Gardens and Temple Hall are the major attractions here.
Liuhe, Leifeng, and Baochu are architectural marvels located at the north bank of the Qiantang River. Tourists can climb atop these Pagodas to have mesmerizing views of the river and its surroundings. Lingyin Temple (most famous Buddhist monasteries in China), Longjing Tea and the Dragon Well (famous for its tea factories), Qinghefang Ancient Street (historical district of the city, The Chinese National Silk Museum, Mount Mogan (best place for hiking and day tours), Wūzhèn Water Village (most famous water village in China, similar to Venice) and Tiger Spring (China's best known spring) are among the prime attractions that one should not miss in Hangzhou.
Eating and Shopping
Zhejiang provincial cuisine, which is among China’s eight fundamental cuisines, is the local cuisine. Hangzhou is China’s premier eating destinations and most of the local dishes use pork and sea food as its main ingredient. However, if you are not a fan of local cuisine then plenty of Sichuan, Shanxi, and Xinjiang restaurants can also be found. While there are plenty of fine dining places and high end hotels, but the real fun is in visiting the various food streets of Hangzhou where you can feast on the local specialties. Dadou Lu Food Street, Shengli River Food Street, Baijing Fangxiang, Nansongyu Jie Food Street, Hefang Jie, Gaoyin Jie Food Street, Baochu Lu Food Street, Hedong Lu Food Street and Jinjiang Seafood Street are the major spots in the city which boasts of numerous restaurant as well as budget eateries. While tea is the most popular drink, for nightlife you should go to Nanshan Road and Shuguang Road.
Shopping in Hangzhou is an attraction in itself. The city offers a mix of upscale shopping destinations along with pedestrian markets and the city’s famous night markets, where you can buy plenty of things without hurting your pocket. The Night markets at intersection of Yan'an Road / Pinghai Road, Hangzhou China Silk Town, Electronics Markets, Carrefour, Trust-Mart and MIXC mall are the most popular places to enjoy shopping. Tea, antiques, clothes, electronics, landscape paintings, fresh fruits, bicycles, flowers, exotic birds and pets and China silk are the major shopping items in Hangzhou.
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