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"The city of heaven; the most beautiful and magnificent in the world." - Marco Polo, explorer.

Some 2,200 years ago, China's first emperor, Qing, founded Hangzhou as a regional city - recognized today as one of the "Seven Ancient Capitals of China." Culture flourished here and the city quickly grew to become a hub of commerce and the arts.


In fact, by the 12th century, historians confirm that Hangzhou was likely the world's most populous city. During the following century, the Venetian explorer Marco Polo visited the city and writings attributed to him underscored his favorable impressions of Hangzhou's size, commercial bustle, sophistication and most of all - its beauty.

He was right on all accounts. As the southern terminus of the magnificent Grand Canal, Hangzhou's commerce was brisk. The arts flourished. The population grew. But through the centuries it's been the tranquil beauty of West Lake that burns in most visitors' memories. The serene, pagoda-lined lake (Lingyin Temple being the most-visited) is supremely photogenic with lush landscaping and a backdrop of mountains. Promenades afford easy access to the lake's 10-mile perimeter and causeways, some dating to the 8th century, provide access onto the lake.

Lingyin ("Soul's Retreat") Temple is recognized as Hangzhou's oldest Buddhist temple. Certainly, it's the city's largest and at one time formed but one component of an immense monastery inhabited by over 3,000 monks. Within the temple is the "Hall of Heavenly Kings," the "Grand Hall of the Great Sage," the "Sutra Library," and the "Hall of the Medicine Buddha."

Hangzhou's major attractions include:

  • West Lake: As noted above, this is one of the most photographed locations in all of china. The muse of centuries of philosophers, poets and artists, West Lake remains a very special and very revered attraction. A walk along its perimeter or onto one or more of its causeways is a tourist "must-do." Bring your camera!

  • Lingyin ("Soul's Retreat") Temple: Overlooking West Lake, the temple consists of five main halls and together constitutes one of the largest (and wealthiest) temples in all of China. Within the temple is the limestone Feilai Feng ("Flying Peak"), a famous rock grotto of religious significance.

  • Qiantang River Tidal Bore: Here it is! The world's "largest" tidal bore (tidal wave)! The river and its estuary greet incoming tides that can measure 30 feet in height and travel at speeds up to 25 mph. In September of 2008, a group of athletes successfully "surfed" the river!

  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Hangzhou: Originally erected in 1661, the church has a storied past having served as a Taoist temple, a warehouse, and a prison. Today it's one of the largest Roman Catholic churches in China.

  • Liuhe ("Six Harmonies") Pagoda: The first pagoda on this site overlooking the Qiantang River was erected during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD). Destroyed several times by fire and war, the current, brick and wood, octogonal-shaped structure dates to 1152. Although from the outside its 196-foot height appears to include 13 stories, an interior walk to the top reveals seven levels. Because of the pagoda's hilltop location above the river, a light was once installed at its uppermost level and the structure served as a lighthouse.

Featured Hotel - Adventure China Series & Hangzhou Tour Package: (Subject to change)
  • Goethe Hotel Hangzhou
    No.19 West Lake Avenue
    Hangzhou, 310009 China
    Tel: (86) (0571) 8718 8888
    Fax: (86) (0571) 8718 8899
    5-Star - 196 rooms
    At 33 stories, this hotel offers unmatched views of nearby West Lake and the Qiantang River. Each are less than a 20-minute walk from the hotel's front door. Five restaurants, three lounges, and a full-service spa, sauna and gymnasium are hotel features; accommodations feature LCD TVs, Internet connectivity and rainforest showers.
    For a link to the Goethe Hotel site, click here.

Featured Hotel - Luxury China Series: (Subject to change)

  • Hyatt Regency Hotel
    No.28 Hu Bin Road
    Hangzhou, 310006 China
    Tel: (86) (571) 8779 1234
    Fax: (86) (571) 8779 1818
    5/6-Star - 390 rooms
    Within walking distance of Hangzhou's prime shopping and entertainment areas, the Hyatt Regency is well-located for a short stay. Many rooms offer full or partial views of beautiful West Lake. Services include excellent restaurants, a health club and fitness center, a business center, and an indoor swimming pool. Rooms are spacious and include cable/satellite large-screen TV, Internet access, in-room safe, mini-bar and much more.
    For a link to the Hyatt Regency - Hangzhou site, click here.


Hangzhou is featured
on the following tour:
  •The Grand 19 Tour
""In heaven there is Paradise. On earth there are Suzhou and Hangzhou.""
- Popular Chinese Proverb
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