The fact that Hangzhou has maintained a strong, independent identity despite the enormous success of its neighbor, Shanghai, is a testament to its character. Praised by Marco Polo and scores of Chinese poets, this lakeside city remains one of the most important tourist destinations in China.
At the center of Hangzhou's tireless success is the West Lake
district, with its cottages and quaint Hangzhou accommodation. This manmade lake was carefully constructed centuries ago, and developers around China have emulated it many times over. It's worth hiring a boat to visit Mid-Lake Pavilion or climbing to viewpoints attached to temples and pagodas in the surrounding hills.
Away from the lake, the most likely place to find tourists in Hangzhou is the Shang Cheng District. This area has the best mix of services and hotels in Hangzhou, and it also offers access to the railway station
and the ruins of the Song Dynasty's Empire City. Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport
has an international moniker, but it mainly operates domestic flights. This is largely because Pudong Airport in Shanghai provides sufficient international coverage for the entire region. Several hotels are located near the airport, but tourists find it well worth the 30-minute drive to stay in the central area.
Be sure to check out the interactive map of Hangzhou for information on hotel locations, attractions, and must-see destinations.