Here I’ve compiled some tips for anyone who may be considering visiting Hangzhou!
1. For accommodation, stay at the ‘Mingtown International Youth Hostel’. It’s literally next to the West Lake, rooms are clean and there is a bus stop and bike rentals nearby.
2. See the cities light and water fountain show. This is held in the evening on the west lake, with the show taking around 15 minutes.
3. Eat at ‘Grandmas Home’. There will always be a queue of people getting inside, but don’t be deterred. When you finally get a seat, the restaurant is modern, english menu with pictures, delicious food, and its cheap! It serves Hangzhou food but there is a Sichuan section too, to our delight! You need to get a ticket before hand, then when they have a table ready they will send you a text to tell you. For us, we waited maybe about 1 hour for a table, but it was worth it. But don’t go in the evening, as it is far too busy and the tickets may be sold out.
4. Rent a bike. Because Hangzhou is a touristic city, there are many places to rent bikes. You will see red rental bikes everywhere. Go to a bike kiosk and they will give you a card in exchange for money. It allows you to use any bike available in the bike stands. Then when you return the bike to a stand, press the card against the machine and the it will lock. But don’t forget, bring your passport when getting a card as they will need it. Hangzhou is a city designed for cycling, so it is quite a safe place.
5. Be aware of scenic routes. We were blissfully unaware about how big Hangzhou’s scenic routes are! We decided to visit a temple, wandered onto a path, and ended up walking up a huge mountain to the top! I thought ‘aw sure we’ll see where this path leads us, probably to another temple’. I didn’t know it brought us up a mountain!! Although at the top there was a nice viewing point, if I’d have known before hand would’ve been good. So be wary when walking, scenic routes are long, sometimes leading you miles away from your starting point.
6.Visit heifang street. It’s a tourist street with loads of small markets selling all sorts. Try out the ‘beggars chicken’ being sold there. It is a whole chicken wrapped in leaves that is then baked in clay. Hard to eat, but tastes sort of like a lovely roast chicken.
7. Visit ‘Slims New York Steak & Burger.’ We came here about 4 times because It was a 5 minute walk from the hostel. It serves delicious burgers (and presumably steaks but we only ordered the burgers). They serve proper meat which makes all the difference. Although be warned, the staff aren’t the friendliest, but never mind them, just enjoy the food.
I think that sums up my tips for Hangzhou. We were there 10 days and we still didn’t see half the things that are in Hangzhou, so there are plenty of things to do.