Marco Polo visited Hangzhou, China in the 13th century and remarked “the city is beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world’

We’ve traveled extensively throughout China, and we are eager to share our experiences with our clients. One of our favorite places is Hangzhou, which is located about 50 minutes by train from Shanghai. It is also easily accessible from Beijing via a 5hr high speed train. For maximum comfort we opted for business class seats on the train from Beijing, which were similar to business class seats found on international airplanes including full lie-down recline. Arguably we could have done the transfer by artificial canal and waterways. For hundreds of years Hangzhou has remarkably been connected to Beijing by the Grand Canal of China, running over 1,100 miles!

Amaze Tip: Hangzhou is known for its longjing green tea (also known as Dragon Well Tea), regarded as the finest green tea in China. Make sure to buy some from a store or market in town, and if possible visit a Dragon Well tea plantation.

Hangzhou rarely appears in itineraries for most Westerners, however it is one of China’s top tourist destinations. It flourished under the Southern Song Dynasty as its capital from the 12th and 13th centuries. Today, Hangzhou’s metro area has a population of over 21 million people compared to New York City’s 8.4 million! Hangzhou’s most visited and most famed attraction is the beautiful West Lake. Much like Central Park for New York City, it serves as a center to escape from the city into nature amongst its large lake, parks, walking/biking paths, and so on.

Due to its close geographic proximity to other main Chinese cities and its unique feel we would recommend that you spend 2 to 3 days in Hangzhou and pair it with other highlights of China for an extended itinerary. For example, a 10-day China itinerary might include 3-4 days in Beijing, 2-3 days in Hangzhou, and 3-4 days in Shanghai. Travelers can make a confident decision in deciding to forego Xian (home to the famed terra cotta warriors) and instead visiting Hangzhou.

Amaze Travel Recommended Things to Do in Hangzhou:

  • Enjoy a relaxing and scenic boat ride on West Lake
  • Explore the walkways and pathways around West Lake, many of which lead to unexpected parks, ponds and other scenic places
  • Stroll and shop the markets of Hefang Street. The Qinghefang section of Hefang has been important since the Song Dynasty!
  • View & visit important pagodas & temples including Lingyin Temple, Six Harmonies and Baochu Pagodas
  • Treatment at the Four Seasons spa – it is a truly serene & gorgeous setting!


Must See: Impressions of West Lake show. This performance takes places at and ON West Lake. It is staged by the famed Chinese director of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremonies and its soundtrack was nominated for a 2010 Grammy. It is an unbelievable spectacle that occurs right on the lake with a stage seemingly floating on water! The stage is set beneath the surface of West Lake which allows for incredible show elements that take advantage of this setting. The main story is a beautiful love story of the woman with the yellow umbrella. And the natural amphitheater provides an incredible atmosphere of lights, music and performance.

Amaze Tip: Learn about some of the local legends of Hangzhou, including the love story of The Legend of the White Snake, recognized by China as one of its official “four great folktales”

Where to Stay: We recommend the Four Seasons Hangzhou. It is located on the west side of West Lake (the quiet side of the lake) and is near so much of what the lake has to offer. Jin Sha at the Four Seasons annually wins dining awards for its fine Chinese cuisine. An extremely exceptional dish is their fried rice with crab meat and flying fish roe, our mouths water as we remember it! There is also an Aman Resort in Hangzhou Amanfayun, and as with most Aman properties it is luxurious, unique and distinct. It is located about 20 minutes west out of town – which is a pro and con in terms of its seclusion and setting.

Amaze Tip: Borrow the complimentary bikes from Four Seasons and explore the lake, including the different parks and causeways

Amaze Travel clients can stay at the Four Seasons or the Amanfayun and receive VIP treatment including several complimentary amenities simply for being our clients! Amenities can include: Room Upgrade, $100 Spa Credit, Daily Breakfast for two ($80 value each day!), Wi-fi Internet, and more.


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