Famed for its beautiful natural scenery, Hangzhou its famous West Lake have been immortalized by countless poets and artists. At one point in history, Hangzhou was the largest city in the world and Marco Polo even claimed to have passed through, calling it beyond dispute the finest and the noblest (city) in the world. The West Lake has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011 and the various sites and areas around it are worth several days of sight seeing on their own.
Broken Bridge 断桥 duàn qiáo: One of the most popular sites on the West Lake. While packed during holidays, the bridge still offers an excellent place from which to view the lake.
Lingyin Temple 灵隐寺 líng yǐn sì: This large temple complex is located a short bus ride west of the West Lake. There are countless courtyards, halls and gardens to explore and the surrounding area is worth the trip.
Baopu Taoist Temple 抱朴道院 bào pǔ dào yuàn : The only Taoist Temple in Hangzhou. Located on Ge Hill, north of the West Lake, you can spend an entire day exploring the various temples, gardens and monuments scattered throughout this urban oasis.
Leifeng Pagoda 雷峰塔 léi fēng tǎ : Situated at the southeast corner of the lake, on clear days this pagoda offers excellent views of the West Lake and central Hangzhou.
Longjing Tea Fields 龙井茶村lóng jǐng chá cūn: These fields just South of the West Lake make a great day trip in Spring when everyone is out in the fields picking tea leaves. This is also the ideal place to pick up some tea as a souvenir. Some sellers will let you pick your own tea leaves and the packaged it for you in a sealed bag and tin.
Xixi Wetlands Park 西溪湿地xī xī shī dì: This wetlands park located in Western Hangzhou offers visitors quiet respite from the bustling city. Expect to see untouched marshlands and colourful birds.