"The most splendid and luxurious city in the world" — Marco Polo
Hangzhou, formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province, in Eastern China. It is governed as a subprovincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division had a registered population of 8.7 million people. A core city of the Yangtze River Delta, its position on the Hangzhou Bay 180 kilometres (110 mi) southwest of Shanghai gives it economic power, and moreover, it has also been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities of China for much of the last 1,000 years, due in part to its beautiful natural scenery; the city’s West Lake is its most well-known attraction. In recent years, Hangzhou have received more than 40 national and international honor titles, such as the UN Habitat Award, the International Garden City, National Environmental Protection Model City, National Sanitary City, National Model Green City, the State Forest City, China Habitat Environment Prize, China Environment Prize "urban environment" Awards, the best commercial city in mainland China, the happiest city in China.
3.5 mi (2.17 mi)
West Lake is a freshwater lake in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province in eastern China. It is divided into five sections by three causeways. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake. West Lake has influenced poets and painters throughout China's history for its natural beauty and historic relics, and it has also been among the most important sources of inspiration for Chinese garden designers. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, described as having "influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries" and reflecting "an idealized fusion between humans and nature".
Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal
2.5 km (1.55 mi)
The Grand Canal, also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, is the longest canal or artificial river in the world; it is a famous tourist destination. Starting at Beijing, it passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the city of Hangzhou, linking the Yellow River and Yangtze River. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BCE, although the various sections were finally combined during the Sui Dynasty (581–618 AD).
Hangzhou Xixi National Wetland Park
5 km (3.11 mi)
Xixi National Wetland Park is the only national wetland park in China, located at the west part of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, a total of 1,150 hectares (2,800 acres). The park is densely crisscrossed with six main watercourses, among which scatter various ponds, lakes and swamps. XiXi Wetland has a history of more than 1,800 years and an abundant cultural heritage. It’s the original site of Chinese South Opera; it has a traditional Dragon Boat Contest; it contains the vivid life of a water village, featuring silkworm feeding and silk production.
7 km (4.5 mi)
Lingyin Temple, established in 326A.D., is the most famous temple in Hangzhou with a long history of about 1,700 years. Situated at the west end of the West Lake, the temple is confronted with Feilai Mountain and backed by Beigao Mountain. In the section flanked by the two mountains ar massive trees, the old temple, and dramtic clouds in many shapes and sizes.
160 km (100 mi)
Qiandao Lake, a man-made lake located in Chun'an County, Zhejiang, China, formed after the completion of the Xin'an River hydroelectric station in 1959. 1,078 large islands dot the lake and a few thousand smaller ones are scattered across it. The lake covers an area of 573 km² and has a storage capacity of 17.8 km³. The islands in the lake cover about 86 km². Qiandao Lake, known for its clear, and sometimes drinkable water, is used to produce the renowned Nongfu Spring brand of mineral water. It is also home to lush forests (over 90%), and exotic islands. Its more popular attractions include Bird Island, Snake Island, Monkey Island, Lock Island (featuring supposedly the world's biggest lock), and the Island to Remind You of Your Childhood. The lake gives Zhejiang an important tourist attraction. Newer housing developments have sprung up since the late 1990s at a reasonable cost to buyers looking for lakeside residences.