Hangzhou, referred to as “Heaven on Earth”, is the Capital city of the Zhejiang Province. This city is known for its beautiful West Lake that has land bridges running across it, parks within and around it, and countless row boats and dragon boats to the islands within. The downtown area starts near West Lake, and the city has spread from there over the centuries. To the south of West Lake are mountains and tea fields that seem endless. To the west are the famous “Wet lands” with orchards of blossoming trees, bamboo and hiking paths. To the east, the coast/river port and the Grand Canal that runs all the way to Beijing. To the north the city continues to grow at a rapid rate. With such a diverse setting it is commonly known as one of China’s most beautiful cities because of its breathtaking landscapes, diverse architecture, canals running throughout the entire city, and beautiful girls. Another perk of Hangzhou is its access to other great cities in close proximity. Shanghai is an hour away by fast train and is often the quick day trip for people. Other destinations that are not far are Nanjing (Capital of the South), Suzhou (world famous rock gardens), Ningbo, Huzhou, Thousand Island Lake, and Yellow Mountain.
As Hangzhou is a relatively small city for China, it is not overrun with outrageous amounts of foreigners, but has a very friendly population of people that luckily find themselves living here and enjoying this gem of a city. Many local Chinese people are very friendly and love to meet travelers, and the foreign population is always changing and open to meeting new people. It is easy to go to a local bar or restaurant and see old friends and meet new people, or go to a local café and meet people that want to practice their English. This gives the city a small town feel where everyone is somehow connected, and yet living in a great city. With a city of this range it is easy to see why everyone finds it to be a great place. Whether you are an outdoorsy type person looking for mountains, rivers, lakes and trees, or the socialite looking for pubs, clubs, and social events, there is something for everyone! Some of the few things that teachers have taken part in are:
- Night life with small Chinese bars, to pubs, to huge clubs.
- Wide variety of restaurants with foods from all over the world.
- Local rugby, for fun or with a club team that travels to other cities.
- Poker with friends or at underground poker rings.
- Soccer pickup games with locals and foreigners.
- American football with local club team
- Ultimate Frisbee, for fun or with a club team
- Lazer tag on a mountain running through ancient pagodas and trails.
- Haggling with locals at the markets.
- Basketball, Kung Fu, bowling, pool, foosball, pingpong, go-karting, badminton, clubbing.
- Chinese Schools, temples, KTV, watching professional sports teams, parks, calligraphy.
- Biking, hiking, fishing, English corners, shopping, tea houses…the options are endless!
Hangzhou is home to many famous tourist sites. People from all over China come to visit because of its West Lake, shopping, and uniqueness. Other sites of interest include:
- Xixi Wetlands National Park.
- Grand Canal running all the way to Beijing.
- LongJing Tea fields (world famous green tea site).
- Hangzhou Botanical Garden.
- West Lake Cultural Square (Tallest building in city center, housing multiple museums).