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Long Weekend Hangzhou Itinerary with Gourmet Options

  • leifeng
  • maojiabu
  • guosvilla
  • crabmeat
  • fish
  • guihua

Getaway Category: Culture & Heritage and Food & DrinkGetaway Tags: Asia, China, and Hangzhou

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  • Located in the Zhejiang Province of China, the legends of Hangzhou and its West Lake have long been immortalized in both Chinese and international literature.

    Poets, artists, writers and painters across the centuries have fallen in love with the picturesque West Lake. Most famously, when Marco Polo visited Hangzhou in the 13th century, it earned his approval as “beyond dispute the finest and noblest (city) in the world”.

    With world-class developments and hordes of holidaymakers beginning to infiltrate the city, the serene quality of West Lake is unfortunately slowly beginning to disappear. However, if you know where to look, there are many overlooked spots in Hangzhou where you can still taste the romance of West Lake with relatively less of a crowd.

    This itinerary brings you to the quieter, Western shore of the lake and its surrounding pristine countryside for an escape from the busy city life. We have also selected some of the finest restaurant choices for a comfortable retreat with dining after a day out exploring the pristine scenic areas.




    Hangzhou Itinerary: Day 0  

    You will likely arrive in Hangzhou after 9pm, so head to your accommodation and take a good night’s sleep. The exciting journey will start tomorrow!

    Hangzhou Itinerary: Day 1 

    6am: Precious Stone Hill Floating in Rosy Clouds (宝石流霞)

    If you’re an early-riser, you should definitely head to Baochu Pagoda (保俶塔), which is a quick 15-20 minute climb from the foothill for a rewarding rose-coloured sunrise over the misty lake. Sunrise may start as early as 5.30am or as late as 6.30am, depending on the time of the year.

    The pathway around the hill is full of lush greenery and occasional bamboo forest, making it an excellent morning walk or jog to start your day feeling refreshed.

    8am: Spring Dawn at Su Causeway (苏堤) via Beishan Road

    From the stone hill, descend to Beishan Road.

    The walk along Beishan Road is a real beauty and excellent spot to watch autumn colours. You can also spot many of the lake’s iconic bridges from here, including the famous “Melting Snow on Broken Bridge” (断桥残雪) at the far eastern shore of Beishan Road, which is especially mystical during winter.

    Su Causeway often tops the list of Hangzhou’s top sights, which bursts into palettes of colours with peach blossoms and weeping willow catkins as soon as springtime arrives. For those who do not feel like waking up too early, Su Causeway is the perfect way to start your journey through the glorious morning dawn.

    9am: Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard (曲院)

    While most people are lured by the beauty of Su Causeway, you should also consider making a detour through Yanggong Causeway (especially if it’s outside spring season). It’s much quieter, but no less beautiful.

    Yanggong Causeway especially sparkles during either summer, when the courtyard blooms with lotuses as far as eyes can see. Or during autumn when the field is full of snow-white cough grass.

    10am: C’hi Revitalization at Guo’s Villa (郭庄)

    This is our secret favourite spot. From Yanggong Causeway, take a relaxing stroll towards Guo’s Villa. There’s a small admission fee of RMB10 per pax, which turns most tourists away but that means you get an entire private garden with almost nobody else around!

    Guo’s Villa is a quintessential example for the art of landscaping in Chinese garden design, effortlessly combining elements of nature with skilful decorations of rockery, stone bridges, pools and pavilions. Guo’s Villa is open 8am-5pm.

    The villa also has a small section with a private view of the lake and a tea house operating between 8.30am-4.30pm. It’s just the most relaxing way to take a morning breather, sipping tea watching the painting-like calm waters.
    No.28, Yanggong Causeway, Hangzhou (杭州市 杨公堤(di) 28)

    12nn: A Royalty Lunch at Xihu State Guesthouse (杭州西湖国宾馆)

    Xihu State Guesthouse is a hidden gem which serves some of the city’s best cuisine.

    Upon seeing soldiers guarding the state house, most people thought this area is off limit for tourists. But all you have to do is tell the soldiers that you are heading to Ziwei Hall/Restaurant (紫薇厅) and ta-dah, you get access to the delectable cuisines and eat like a royalty.

    Must-tries include the braised Dong Po pork (this is one of Hangzhou’s most famous local specialty), wrapped crab meat and any of their impeccable fish dishes.

    After lunch, don’t forget to take a walk around the guesthouse, which is surrounded by sophisticated, elegant furnishings and first-rate garden landscaping. Hey, it’s not everyday you get to tour a state home!
    No.18, Yanggong Causeway, Hangzhou China

    3pm: Seeking Tranquillity at Maojiabu’s Dreamy Waterfront

    Here’s another of our secret favourite spots. While the eastern shores of the lake has seen development and bustling shopping centres, the overlooked Maojiabu Scenic Area maintains the old rustic charm. Spend some time exploring the lakeside village, often overlooked by hordes of holidaymakers.

    5pm: Orioles Singing in the Willows (柳浪闻莺)

    From Maojiabu area, walk towards the famous site of Viewing Fish at Flower Pond (花港观鱼), where you are likely to find a taxi to bring you to your next stop: Orioles Singing in the Willows. The beautifully and aptly-named lakeside park is perfect for a late afternoon stroll.

    6pm: Sunset Glow over Leifeng Pagoda (雷峰夕照)

    Walk toward the lakeside and steal a nice front seat for a marvellous view of the Leifeng Pagoda. Most of the sunset spots in West Lake are quite crowded, but this area around Yongjin Park along the Orioles Singing in the Willows route, though still crowded is not as claustrophobic as the more famous Changqiao Park.

    7.30pm: Dinner at Hubin 28 Restaurant

    Dinner by the lakeside can hardly get any better than the ones served at the award-winning Hubin 28 Restaurant by Hyatt Regency Hangzhou, which serves some of the finest classic Hangzhou dishes with an impressive selection of over 2,500 wines. In fact, this is the only restaurant in all of Hangzhou with a wine cellar!

    28 Hu Bin Road, Hangzhou, China, 310006




    Hangzhou Itinerary: Day 2 

    9.30am: Authentic Tea Discovery at Longjing Village (龙井村)

    This morning, head to Longjing Village which is famous for their Longjing tea, which literally translates to the Dragon Well tea. Produced mostly by hand and renowned for its high quality, Longjing tea was granted the status of Gong Cha, or imperial tea, during the Qing dynasty.

    11am: Nine Creeks Meandering Through a Misty Forest (九溪煙樹)

    Go on a pleasant 1.5-2 hour morning stroll into the misty forest. From Longjing village, cabs are not easy to come by to bring you directly to the heart of the forest, but that’s really the beauty of it all as you meander through the tranquil forest at your own pace!

    Don’t worry about getting lost because it’s a well-paved one-way road… and don’t worry about rainy days, because this is THE ONE PLACE where rain is welcome because the mist which comes with the rain will only double the romantic quality of this quaint forest.

    At the heart of the forest, you will see a small lake with a waterfall and a bridge. This picturesque area is a favourite site among local Hangzhou residents to take their wedding photo shoots… and seeing the beauty of it all, there’s no surprise why!

    1.15pm: Sweet Osmanthus Rain (满陇桂雨) at Manjuelong Village (满觉陇)

    Thankfully, there are usually a sizable amount of cabs waiting at the heart of the forest to bring you out. Take one and get them to deliver you to Manjuelong Village.

    This area is especially wonderful during autumn, when the smell of osmanthus fills the air and the petals shower down on you. But even during other seasons, it’s worth visiting Manjuelong Village for Guihuating Restaurant, which serves plenty of delicacies made of osmanthus flowers; this is unique gourmet at its best!

    3.30pm: Dreaming of Tiger Spring at Hupao Valley (虎跑梦泉)

    After the tasty lunch, take a cab towards Hupao Road. Here, you can spend a leisurely afternoon stroll up toward the Tiger Spring. The water from the spring is believed to be among the finest in China and is used to brew Longjing Tea.

    6.30pm: Dinner at Wai Po Jia / The Grandma’s Restaurant

    This may not be the fanciest of meals, but it’s definitely the homeliest… and true gourmets who are not too high up in their snobbish self can definitely still appreciate the taste.

    Must-tries are the fried shrimps with Long Jing tea leaves and the Beggar’s Chicken, both of which are top local specialties no visitors to Hangzhou should ever leave without.

    10.50pm: Flight back home

    After dinner, find a cab to bring you back to airport. Journey time will take 1 hour or more, if there is traffic. Make sure you arrive 2 hours before your international flight home.

    If you’re traveling China extensively then remember to read our guide to Xian.

    "New Year's Eve in Asia"




  • Places to stay in Hangzhou, China

    Affordable

    For a bargain price of SGD25-64 and just a 5-minute walk to the lake, Lotus International Youth Hostel is an excellent deal. It is located on the western side of the lake, which is farther away from the city centre and ideal for a relaxing "super-budget" retreat far from the noise.

    Find prices and the latest availability on Hotelscombined or Agoda.

    Mid Range

    Ranging around SGD194-382, Shangri-La Hotel Hangzhou is located at the northern part of the lake and close to the site where the Impression West Lake show is performed. Certainly a good choice for those who want a piece of comfort.

    Find prices and the latest availability on Hotelscombined or Agoda.

    High End

    Starting from around SGD705-1,297, Four Seasons Hangzhou is beautifully set on a lakeside village amid lush greenery. While it's a quick walk to the lake, it's also a comfortable distance away from the hustle and bustle, providing much-needed peace during your escape to Hangzhou.

    Find prices and the latest availability on Hotelscombined or Agoda.

    Getting to Hangzhou, China

    Scoot flies 4.30-9.35pm from Singapore to Hangzhou and returns 10.50pm-3.45am. Flights are available daily except on Thursday.

    Getting around Hangzhou, China

    Hangzhou's lakeside area is not exactly small, but its beauty befits a good day's walk.

    To explore slightly further, Hangzhou has an extensive bus network with a detailed schedule here. Bus fares can be paid in cash or using a bus card, which may cost RMB15 for a one-day card (for max. 8 times) or RMB25 for a two-day card use (for max. 16 times).

    Taxis are also easily found in the city centre and surrounding the main tourist attractions.

    It is important to note that most people in Hangzhou do not really speak English, even among the younger generation. In order to ease your journey, it is best to print out the name of the places which you'd like to go in both English and Chinese.

    Other important notes

    Time difference

    There is no time difference between Hangzhou and Singapore.

    Best months to visit

    Hangzhou is a unique place where every season gives you its own unique attractions.

    Naturally, spring time (March-May) and autumn (September-November) is the most pleasant temperature-wise, especially if you would like to observe the beautiful peach blossoms in spring or smell the sweet osmanthus scent as the leaves change colours in autumn.

    But that doesn't mean the other seasons are not worth considering. Summer (June-August) is a popular time for those who want to watch the lotus and ripening of the plums. While winter (December-February) is the most magical time to witness the "Melting Snow on Broken Bridge", one of West Lake's ten most famous sights.

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