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Hangzhou Travel Tips

When is the best time to travel Hangzhou?

Spring, Summer and Autumn are good travel time in Hangzhou. Hangzhou is located in subtropics monsoon climate region and enjoys year-round pleasant weather.

Spring (Mar-May) spreads generous sunshine. It is the blossom and tea-picking time and thus is the travel peak season.

Summer (Jul-Aug) exerts its hot and wet engine to welcome the people with sufficient heat and rainfalls. Nice time to slide the boat on West Lake patched with bloomy lotuses is memorable.

Autumn (Sep-Oct) is cool and bright. The mid-autumn festival saturated with the osmanthus scent and lightened up by the round full moon is perfect time to make a romantic night.

Winter (Dec-Mar) is above-zero cold and comes with occasional snow and frost.

Is it safe to travel in Hangzhou?

Hangzhou is one of the safest cities in China, but small crime like pick pocketing is still rampant and you should keep alert at all times. 

Tips:
◆ Try to wear your bag in front. Keep wallet in your bags and put some small changes in the easily accessible place like your bag's side pocket or pant pockets to avoid flashing your wallets unnecessarily.
◆ Avoid walking phoning. If you do have urgent call to make or answer, try to find a place like the wall behind you to avoid the thieves to snatch from your back.
◆ Do some caution work when you take the overnight train, it is better to keep the valuable items inside your clothing. To enable you can wake up easily when necessary, sleep aids like sleeping pills, earplugs are not advised.
◆ Ignore the touts that approach you and try to get you to somewhere when you come out /to the train stations, bus stations or borders.
◆ Better to go to big shops or restaurants or hotel lobby to get your orientation if you loss your way.
◆ Get the Xerox copy of your passport and your Chinese visa to avoid the trouble of steal loss and respond the police's check. 

Maps

Buy maps near the Train Station or Bus Station from street vendors or stalls when you arrive. Price is often marked on the maps themselves, if you are wondering how much to pay (under 10 RMB). Street-bought maps are usually written in simplified Chinese with no pinyin. You can find pinyin maps at foreign language bookstores. The main foreign language bookstore in Yan An Road has a reasonable selection of maps as well as travel books.

There is a useful 'what's on' magazine called More Hangzhou that has a good pull-out map in Chinese and English. The magazine is free and can be found in many hotels and bars. 

How to get around Hangzhou?

By Bus
Hangzhou bus fare ranges from CNY 1- 4. The pay amount is usually signed at the bus stop next to the bus number and you'd better tender the exact notes since most of the buses are self-service ticketing bus. Since most of the bus information is wrote in Mandarin, it is advised to make the reparation work like consulting your hotel staff or searching one the Google map for the bus route, number and the charge, etc.

By Taxi
Hangzhou taxis start from CNY 10 with CNY 1 additional fuel tax. 

Tips:
◆ It is advised to get a receipt each time you use a taxi for later contact reference in the case like dispute a fare, recover a lost article, etc.
◆ 7:30-8:45am and 4:30-7:00pm are the taxi shifting time and the taxi driver may refuse or only carry the passengers whose route coincides with their.
◆ It is easy to meet over-enthusiastic taxi drivers that jostling to try to grab your luggage and drag to their cars and better avoid taking theirs. Make sure the driver starts the meter. If they refuse, you can just get out and take the next taxi.
◆ If possible, pay exact or small money to avoid getting a fake CNY 50 back or a fake CNY 100 swopped by the driver. Or try to remember the last 4 digits of your big notes when you pay the taxi fare so that you can make sure whether it is really your money when he returns and claims it's fake.
◆ Write down or print out on paper the name and address of your destination and hotel in Chinese characters or you can mark your destination on a map since majority of the driver cannot speak English.

By Water
Water bus (7:30am--6:00pm) down the Grand Canal departs every half an hour at Wulin Gate/West Lake Culture Plaza. The ticket charges about CNY 3.

Canal boat boards at 9am and 1pm and the one-hour trip unveils the historic canal and the daily life along the canal. The ticket charges about CNY 50.

Great Canal night cruise departs at 7:30pm at Wulin Gate and finishes at 9:00pm. The upper seat charges CNY 80 and first-floor seat CNY 50.

Qiantang River night cruise departs at 7:15pm at Wulin Gate and finishes at 10:00pm. The upper-floor seat charges CNY 120 and first-floor seat CNY 80.

The boats to the islands of West Lake can be taken in the Hubin parks (Hubin 1 Gongyuan, Hubin 3 Gongyuan, Hubin 6 Gongyuan) and other obviously signed spots all over the lake.

By Bike
Hangzhou has an extensive cheap public bike system. The bike can be easily rented and returned in the bike service lots around the west lake and the city center. You can get a smart card after presenting your ID (such as a passport) and paying CNY 200 deposit and CNY 100 rentals fees. The deposit will be returned on your bike return with the receipt. Swipe the card against one of the automated bike racks holding the bikes and take one. The bike is free for the first hour, CNY 1 an hour for the two hours after that, and CNY 3 an hour thereafter. There are also bike rental agencies along the lake or at the entrance of Zhongshan Park in Solitary Hill that you can charter a bike with CNY 300 deposit and CNY 10 rental fee per day.

Tips:
◆ Be careful of the bike thief and lock your bike whenever necessary.
◆ Anyone of the age of 16 -70 is eligible for bicycle rental.
◆ Make sure the operating time of the rental services when chartering a bike.

Hanzhou Emergency Call Numbers

110 Call police for help in any danger
119 Dial this number when fire or other disaster happens
120 Call for an ambulance
122 Dial this number when a traffic accident happens

Stay Healthy

Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, 3 East Qingchun Road, named for the Hong Kong media mogul who funded its construction, SRRSH is one of the best hospitals in the city. VIP medical service can be purchased for 100 RMB, which includes an English-speaking nurse attendant and expedited service. Phone +86-571-86006613

Tourism
Hangzhou is renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty. It is known as one of the most beautiful cities in China, also ranking as one of the most scenic cities.[citation needed] Although Hangzhou has been through many recent urban developments, it still retains its historical and cultural heritage. Today, tourism remains an important factor for Hangzhou's economy. One of Hangzhou's most popular sights is West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The West Lake Cultural Landscape covers an area of 3,323 ha (8,210 acres) and includes some of Hangzhou's most notable historic and scenic places. Adjacent to the lake is a scenic area which includes historical pagodas, cultural sites, as well as the natural beauty of the lake and hills, including Phoenix Mountain. There are two causeways across the lake.

Other places of interest

 The world's largest tidal bore races up the Qiantang River through Hangzhou reaching up to 12 m (39 ft) in height.

 The residence of Hu Xueyan (胡雪岩故居) located on Yuanbao Street was built in 1872 by Hu Xueyan, a native of Anhui, a very successful businessman. It was restored and opened to the public in 2001.

 Xixi National Wetland Park. Established with the aim of preserving the wetland ecological system, it covers an area of about 10 km2 (4 sq mi). Fish ponds and reed beds have been restored and it is home to many types of birds. It holds a temple and several historic rural houses.

 Hangzhou Botanical Garden

 Hangzhou Zoo

 Old China Street on He Fang Street (He Fang Jie or Qing He Fang,literally 'neighbourhood along the river'), which offers various souvenirs.

 Jade Springs (Yu Quan)

 West Lake Cultural Square is one of the tallest buildings in the city centre (about 160 m (520 ft)) and houses the Zhejiang Natural History Museum and Zhejiang Museum of Science and Technology.

 Qiandao Lake is a man-made lake with the largest number of islands in Chun'an County, an administrative area of Hangzhou government. These islands are different in size and shape, and have distinctive scene.

 Grand Canal

 Longjing tea fields, west of the lake.

In March 2013 the Hangzhou Tourism Commission started an online campaign via Facebook, the 'Modern Marco Polo' campaign. Over the next year nearly 26,000 participants applied from around the globe, in the hopes of becoming Hangzhou's first foreign tourism ambassador. In a press conference in Hangzhou on 20 May 2014, Liam Bates was announced as the successful winner and won a €40,000 contract, being the first foreigner ever to be appointed by China's government in such an official role.

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