Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Hangzhou - Heaven on Earth Day Trip from Shanghai. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
It was a very long drive (heavy traffic) from Shanghai. I would have preferred to travel by train to Hangzhou and be collected from the station by bus and shown around. Hangzhou, the lake, the pagoda and tea fields are all interesting. If you can avoid the drive and catch a train, then visit this area.
A huge day with so much jammed in. We went unfortunately on a public holiday and got caught in traffic for hours. To see the traditional site of tea and to be educated in the fine arts of tea making was well worth the trip in the end though.
Hangzhou was beautiful but unfortunately for us it was raining on the day which spolit it. I would check the weather forecast before going because it can make a big difference to your experience. It is worth going but we spent a lot of the time driving there and back rather than spending time enjoying the scenery. The guide also cut short our tour because there was only two of us which I felt was unfair. We were also asked to pay extra to go up the Pagoda which is terrible because it should already be included.
The description of this tour suggested a countryside experience and I was not expecting the over 6 hour round car trip. The lake was beautiful but by the time we got there it was absolutely crawling with people and impossible to take photos without lots of strangers in them. The tea plantation visit was interesting but I would have liked to actually get closer to the fields and people and I felt that the focus was more on selling the product. Hotel pick up was prompt, the car was comfortable and the guide Frank was great- personable, interesting and knowledgeable.
The tour guide was a nice gentlemen. Although, I was disappointed with the long roundtrip drive from Shanghai, short amount of time at the lake, and lack-luster 'Western-style' Chinese lunch.
the drive was much longer than planned and the sights weren't exceptional. there is a fast train that goes there- that might be a better option to explore the area.
the tea plantation was pretty
It was super hot the day we did this tour and the air conditioning on the very long bus ride to Hangzhou was not very effective. We sat outside on the boat cruise because of the heat, so didn't really get the full effect. The tour guide was interesting and was happy to answer questions. The tea plantation was interesting as long as you are happy to get the hard sell on expensive green tea products. The biggest disappointment was the lunch which seemed to be made especially for westerners, i.e. not very authentic, very sweet and not nearly as good as the other real Chinese meals we had during our stay in Shanghai.
Note from Viator: Note from Viator: Thank you for your review. We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced during your tour. We have contacted the tour company and have addressed your concern with them. Thank you for helping us ensure the quality of our tours.
I again would give this a 5 for the scenery and spots. However, me and my friend were unlucky enough to be stuck with Frank for this tour as well (read my Suzhou review). This time 2 other tourists joined us. Frank performed better on this day. Or more specifically, he treated the two other tourists better than us (preferential treatment based on age or race?!). He gave better descriptions and spoke more about history. I jokingly brought up how he did not talk that much about history on the previous day's tour. This ignited the fire. He started to ignore me and gave me a hard time for the next few hours. During the second half of the tour, he started to cool down to make sure I would rate him better on the survey. On the way back to the hotels, he handed me the survey. I already knew he was going to crack it open once I finished filling it out so I decided to not rate him so poorly (I wanted to voice my opinion on Viator instead). And of course, he did open it in front of everyone and read it before stuffing it in his bag! If I am ever to go back here, I would not join this tour again.
Note from Viator: Note from Viator: Thank you for your review. We apologize for any inconvenience and disappointment you may have experienced during your tour. We have contacted the tour company and have addressed your concern about guide's customer service with them. Thank you for helping us ensure the quality of our tours.
Insufficient time spent walking around lake, too much time spent at tea presentation. A long journey for what is on offer, but interesting.
I was hoping for a rural contrast to Shanghai (where I go for business frequently). However, Hangzhou is almost 10MM people and is just as urban as any other major metro in China.
After a 3 + hours drive out of Shanghai we finally made it to Hangzhou. the traffic was horrible in town that day, riding in a small minivan that had A/C but the driver didn't want to turn it on made it even worse. After our boat ride we went to eat..Ok meal, then we went to the tea house for green tea. We made one more stop but only had about 10 minutes to take pictures. then we piled into the van and rode back to Shanghai. It was very hot in the van even with the windows open. Everyone slept except me because i saw the driver start slapping his face and shaking his head trying to stay awake. I was so happy to return to my hotel! Perhaps you could charge people more money and take the high speed train as a group and have a driver meet the group in Hangzhou. This would eliminate so much time on the road.
Tour should include transportation to and from Hangzhou by train with transportation to Shanghai station by tour escort and follow up transport in Hangzhou. Six hours in the car through Shanghai traffic in exchange for three hours sight seeing is not a good deal. The train takes 45 minutes. The tour in Hangzhou was excellent.
Hangzhou is a lovely city, and West Lake there is a must-see. The venerable Longjing tea plantation tour and tasting were excellent, if a thinly-disguised ploy to stimulate the buying impulse. The problem with this daytrip is that the majority of one's time is spent in a van, picking up and dropping off fellow travellers and going to and from Shanghai. Fast train might be the better transportation method. The lunch place was disappointingly mediocre and lacked a lake view. Lastly, our guide added little to the experience. His role seemed simply to be shepherding us to and from the bus and the boat on the Lake. All in all, the Hangzhou day trip served as an enticing but hardly satisfying introduction to one of China's top 10 destinations.
Hangzhou is truly Heaven on Earth, a place that you must visit. A place worth travelling 2.5 hrs to. However, the last leg of the day trip was a terrible disappointment. It was merely a garden to see trees, birds and fishes. Nothing close to what it is named: '9 creeks and 18 gullies'. If I had known this beforehand, I would have joined the day trip my hotel provides that brings you to a more worthy place, Lingyin Temple. Another strange thing was having to pay 10rmb per person to climb the Six Harmony pagoda. That's no big deal to me, but it doesnt make much sense to fork out another 10rmb when this could easily be included in the day trip cost! A one day trip will not allow you to sink in the beauty of Hangzhou, but for those with not much time to spare, you should still do it and return another time.
We have rated this low because of the incredible length of time 4 hours to get to Hangzhou in a tiny little cramped mini-bus, no good if you are tall! The tea gardens were very interesting but of course, the usual hard sell with increased prices for Westerners according to our Chinese friends. Hangzhou was incredibly polluted, as is much of China of course, therefore very dull and extremely hot in September. The drive back to Shanghai was interminable and increasingly uncomfortable. Sadly, we would not recommend this trip. The day trip to Su Zhou is much better!