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Things to do in Hangzhou

Find Europe in the middle of Guangzhou

Much of Guangzhou's charm lies in its intensity, but if you long for a time-out take a trip to Shamian Island. Something between the United Kingdom and Paris in the 19th century, it's quiet cobbled streets and colonial architecture whisper reminders from a different era. It's accessible by bridge next to Huangsha station.

Get those knots ironed out

Dragonfly Therapeutic Retreat oozes peace and tranquillity, has English-speaking staff and doesn’t break the bank. The Nanshan Retreat ( is on the south eastern shore, while the newer Xixi Retreat (tel: +86 21 6266 2108) is by the northern shore. Treatments include aroma oil massages and hot stone massages, plus the infamous hangover relief massage.

Join the circus for an evening

If spinning ring walkers, leaping motorcyclists, laser shows, aerial ballets and kung-fu bears sounds like your thing, then treat yourself to an evening at the Chimelong Circus ( A truly 2016 type of circus, Barnum Baileys it ain’t.

Join the curious throng at Qingping Medicine Market

Depending on which side of the fence you reside, Qingping Medicine Market is a fascinating insight into traditional Chinese culture or a prime example of how they lag behind the West. Stalls sell everything from shark fin, tiger paw and scorpions, to live kittens, puppies and monkeys. It’s an experience, to say the least.

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Featured Hotels


Shangri-La Hotel

Amid spacious forested grounds on the northern lakeshore, this is possibly the most refined and romantic of Hangzhou’s five-star hotels. There's a selection of bars, restaurants and a fitness centre. Top-floor rooms have wonderful lake views.

Zhongshan International Hotel

About a 10-minute walk east of the lake, this Hangzhou hotel has clean, modern rooms which are surprisingly quiet. Better value than many of its lakeside rivals.

Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake

Pricey but amazingly beautiful, the Four Seasons Hotel features a spectacularly pleasant staff. The exclusive arrival via boat combined with the spectacular restaurant and spa offer a truly tranquil experience. The perfect place for any occasion from business to pleasure.


Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale Hangzhou

One of the best value hotels in the heart of Hangzhou city, The Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale isn’t far from the beautiful West Lake. Onsite parking, WiFi, a business centre, bar and swimming pools (both indoor and outdoor) are available.


Hangzhou International Youth Hostel

Hangzhou's best youth hostel is on the eastern lakeshore in an area dotted with bars, cafes and clubs. There's a variety of basic but well-kept rooms including singles, doubles and dorms. Staff members speak good English and there are all the usual hostel facilities such as laundry room, self-service kitchen and Wi-Fi.

Hangzhou Xihu State Guesthouse

This large resort, set in stunning gardens on the quieter west side of the lake, has historically been the lakeside retreat of China's Communist Party elite. Spread across eight buildings, there are 178 rooms, a golf course, meeting facilities, tennis courts and an indoor pool.