Hangzhou offers a peaceful, unique destination in China – in this Hangzhou Travel Guide we share everything you need to know before visiting.
Known for its beautiful West Lake, Hangzhou is a short train journey from Shanghai and should not be missed on your trip to China.
After spending the day walking around the lake, try some of the best food in China; West Lake Fish, Longjing shrimp and Beggar’s chicken. Whilst here, visit nearby Huangshan; the perfect mountain region for those that love hiking and nature.
Budget:¥60+ for a dorm bed and ¥110 – ¥200 for budget hotel rooms.
Midrange: ¥300+ for double rooms in the city centre.
Luxury: ¥600+ for more luxurious hotels in Hangzhou.
Transport: Taxi’s and Didi’s (China’s Uber) will cost around ¥9 – ¥40 for journeys across the city centre whilst buses cost between ¥1 – ¥3.
Average cost of food:
Hangzhou offers some great street food snacks in the food street areas with snacks starting from ¥8.
A sit-down meal for two with alcoholic drinks costs around ¥350.
Cost of Travel in China full guide
Best time to visit Hangzhou
Hangzhou is known for its West Lake, which is at its most glorious during the summer. The best time to visit Hangzhou is from March to October, when the weather is warm enough to walk around comfortable and there is very little rain.
Visit in April to see colourful blossoms around the city or visit in September for a considerably dry visit.
Avoid the Winter – temperatures in Hangzhou often drop below zero and, although the area can look incredibly pretty in covered in white snow, many restaurants close early and it is too cold to walk around the markets, temples and lake.
Whilst planning your trip, you also need to avoid the Chinese national holidays – Golden Week runs during the first week of October and Chinese New Year lands around February, with a handful of long weekends throughout the year.
Where to stay in Hangzhou
Hofang Youth Hostel can be found in the pedestrian area; perfect for travellers wanting to try the local food – dorm beds start at ¥65 whilst double rooms begin at ¥200.
Both Hangzhou Bokai Westlake Hotel and Westlake 7 Service Apartment Xihu are in fantastic locations and are popular choices for those looking for a comfortable and affordable hotel. Prices in either of these hotels start at ¥300.
Save money in Hangzhou
China is a relatively cheap place to visit in the world but there are still ways that you can save even more money in the country, allowing you to travel for longer.
- Visit off peak – As we mentioned above, the Winter is cold so we would avoid it. However, you can save some money visiting here, hotels are quiet so they offer better walk-in deals.
- Eat locally – Stick to the local food and restaurants in Hangzhou You can get a delicious meal in a restaurant for as little as 15RMB whilst Western meals will cost you 100+ RMB. Aim for street food vendors over sit down meals.
- Don’t tip – it is not expected in China.
- Avoid the Western chains – Whether you fancy a coffee or salad, opt for a local or Chinese brand over global chains such as Starbucks.
- Use CTrip – CTrip is an app and website which compares hotel prices. Generally, you can find cheaper prices on this app than any other comparison site for China.
- Travel by train – You can travel by train to Hangzhou – there high-speed rail from Shanghai can get you to the city in just 45 minutes. Seats are affordable and easy.
- See the attractions – Hangzhou has many free attractions to enjoy but it also has many fairly cheap sights too, such as Leifeng Pagoda (40RMB), Botanical Gardens (10RMB) and Xixi National Wetland Park (80RMB)
Best things to do in Hangzhou
Qinghefang Old Street
Impression West Lake Show
Fei Lai Feng
Six Harmonies Pagoda
Wuzhen Water Town
Meijiawu Tea Village
Xitang Water Town
Local Hangzhou dishes
Xixi Wetland Park
Songcheng Theme Park
How to get to Hangzhou
Fly – Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport is the main airport serving the city of Hangzhou with predominantly domestic flights and a handful of flights from South East Asia.
Train – The high-speed train is one of the most popular ways tourists visit Hangzhou. Just an hour away from Shanghai and 1.5 hours away from Nanjing, Hangzhou is an easy addition for many itineraries.
How to get around Hangzhou
Taxis or Didi are the quickest and most convenient way to get around most cities in China and Hangzhou isn’t to vast of a city.
You can rent a bicycle to get around the lake too, a great option when visiting in the Spring or Summer months.
The City Bus Y1 takes you on a circuit around the West Lake, stopping at all the important sights en route. Buses in the city costs just one Yuan per person but carry the exact change.