3 Days in Hangzhou: Suggested Itineraries

By Viator, July 2015

4 6 Reviews | Add your review

Often visited as a day trip from nearby Shanghai, Hangzhou has much more to see and do than is possible to fit into one day. So enchanting are the waters of West Lake (Xi Hu) and the peaks of the surrounding foothills that the early explorer, Marco Polo, reputedly referred to Hangzhou as “the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world.” Though much time has passed since the days of Marco Polo, here is a three-day itinerary to help you discover the multiple wonders of Hangzhou.

Day 1: West Lake (Xi Hu), Gu Hill, Lingyin Temple, Lei Feng Pagoda

The undeniable soul of Hangzhou is the area known as West Lake (Xi Hu), which can easily occupy the better part of an entire day. Famous for the naturally occurring “Ten Scenes of the West Lake,” many visitors opt to begin their day by experiencing the dawn break from the calm waters of Su Causeway. After having watched the morning sun dance upon the waters, head out on an old style cruise boat for a quick trip over to Gu Hill—the lake’s lone naturally occurring island—for a view of the surrounding lake region. Once back on shore it’s only a short walk, bike or taxi ride to Lingyin Temple, also known as “The Temple of Soul’s Retreat.” Considered to be one of the most famous Buddhist temples in all of China, Lingyin is best known for the hundreds of stone Buddhas which inhabit caves in the temple’s naturally occurring forest grottos. If the potent smell of incense from the temple is starting to get to your head, however, circle back to the south shore of West Lake to close the day by experiencing another of the famous ten scenes, an evening spent enjoying the sunset from Lei Feng Pagoda.

Day 2: Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum, Six Harmonies Pagoda, and Grand Canal

For anyone interested in herbal remedies, acupuncture or the body’s relationship with the overall Universe, then a visit to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum is a must. Located in downtown Hangzhou this former pharmacy educates visitors on the history and culture of traditional Chinese medicine. There’s even a health clinic where you can be diagnosed and a section devoted to making your own pills. Not far away from the museum is the ancient Six Harmonies Pagoda which dates back over 1,000 years. Visit the nearby park to view replicas of some of the world’s most famous pagodas or watch the daily tidal bore wash down the Qiantang River from the top story of the seven-story pagoda. Finish the day by heading out for a sunset cruise on the Grand Canal for a look at traditional waterfront villages and the opportunity to cruise what was once the largest man-made river in the entire world.

Day 3: Meijiawu Tea Village and Impression West Lake show

Set out in the rural hinterlands southwest of West Lake (Xi Hu), the Meijiawu tea village is an entire community dedicated to the cultivation and culture behind Xihu longjing tea. Regarded as one of the finest green tea varieties found anywhere on the planet, longjing tea can be experienced by visitors at a traditional tea tasting ceremony to learn about the intricacies involved with everything from the planting of the tea bushes to the pouring of the final cup. With a new bag of longjing tea leaves in hand, head back into town to catch the evening showing of Impression West Lake, a dazzling rendition of a local Hangzhou legend set to state of the art lighting and sound. A mystifying performance where characters actually appear to walk on water, the show is masterfully directed by Zhang Yimou, the filmmaker and stage producer responsible for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.

Tours & Tickets

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Private Tour: Ultimate Hangzhou Sightseeing Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

This comprehensive full-day tour of Hangzhou delivers you by private vehicle to notable highlights: Take a boat ride around the UNESCO-listed West Lake, view ...  Read more

Location: Hangzhou, China
Duration: Approximately 6-8 hours

From USD $85.00

Hangzhou City Tour: West Lake Cruise and Lingyin Temple with Lunch

4.5 star rating: Recommended 6 Reviews

Take in a full day of Hangzhou’s elegant landscapes on this sightseeing tour with a local guide. Explore Lingyin Temple, a secluded Zen retreat near Feilai ...  Read more

Location: Hangzhou, China
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $58.49

Hangzhou: Heaven on Earth Day Trip from Shanghai

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 107 Reviews

Travel to Hangzhou, a city rich in culture, history and scenery, on a day trip from Shanghai. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, admire the architecture of ...  Read more

Location: Shanghai, China
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $168.99

Hangzhou Your Way: Private Half-Day Hangzhou City Transport with Guide

Create your own Hangzhou sightseeing schedule while enjoying private transportation around the city! You’ll have the flexibility to explore at your own pace ...  Read more

Location: Hangzhou, China
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $36.99

Hangzhou Cultural Tour Including Leifeng Pagoda, China National Silk Museum and Qinghefang Cultural Street

4 star rating: Recommended 1 Reviews

On this full-day coach tour of Hangzhou, visit some of the city’s must-see places including the Leifeng Pagoda, the China National Silk Museum and Qinghefang ...  Read more

Location: Hangzhou, China
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $75.00

Hangzhou Your Way: Private Full-Day Hangzhou City Transport

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 2 Reviews

Experience Hangzhou your way with this private transfer service around the city. Create your own sightseeing itinerary and enjoy the flexibility to explore at ...  Read more

Location: Hangzhou, China
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $53.99

Hangzhou Night Tour: Dinner and 'Impression West Lake' Show

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 2 Reviews

Spend a night on the town in Hangzhou with dinner and a show! After a day of sightseeing, experience the city’s vibrant nighttime recreational activities. ...  Read more

Location: Hangzhou, China
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $98.00

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