The first stop of your full-day guided tour of Hangzhou is the Leifeng Pagoda, an octagonal 5-story tower surrounded by gorgeous forest and lake views. Your guide will tell you about the Legend of the White Snake, in which a white snake turned into a beautiful girl, with whom a young man fell in love. But a monk imprisoned the snake under the pagoda to prevent their union. Legend says the white snake regained its freedom when the surrounding West Lake dried up and the original pagoda collapsed. Luckily, the pagoda stands tall today, and a magnificent view of the West Lake can be seen when you’re inside the tower.
Next, head with your guide to the China National Silk Museum to learn the history of this luxurious textile. The different exhibition halls show you everything from the oldest relics used to make silk to the process of weaving silk to the history of the Silk Road. You can even try weaving it yourself!
Stop and take a break at a local restaurant and enjoy a lunch of local Hangzhou cuisine (included). Afterwards, visit the former residence of Hu Xueyan, where you can admire the elegance of traditional Chinese-style architecture. His complex features countless pavilions and bridges, grand halls, tower gates and beautiful courtyards. Then make your way to Qinghefang Street, the only well-preserved antique street in Hangzhou, home to various shops that capture the historical and cultural heritage of the city. Browse through the various collections and do a little souvenir shopping!
Finally, tour the Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine and learn about the development of medicine in China, the country’s medicine exchange with foreign countries, medicinal diets and more. You can even assist in performing traditional pharmaceutics (the practice of turning something into a medication) or receive Chinese-style health-care service by the experienced doctors there.