Hangzhou - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Hangzhou


Hangzhou, located in the southeastern province of Zhejiang, has been bewitching visitors with its natural beauty for centuries, with even Marco Polo himself declaring it paradise. The city is known for its tranquil and scenic areas, with many beautiful gardens and hills.

The natural beauty of the city's West Lake is considerable, with the surrounding area lush and green and dotted with temples, pavilions and bridges. Admirers can stroll through the gardens, take a boat ride, see the thousands of stone carvings at Lingyin Temple, or admire the scenic view from Baochu Pagoda.

Hangzhou also has a number of interesting museums, including the National Silk Museum and the National Tea Museum. Hangzhou is noted for its tea fields, with its own variety of green tea, Xi Hu Long Jing, being a popular Hangzhou souvenir. The town also has several markets, most notably the Silk Market and Night Market, that are popular for shopping.

Hangzhou is also noted for its cuisine, with specialties like Dongpo Pork, Longjing Shrimp Meat, Steam Rice Flower, and West Lake Sour Fish being popular with both locals and tourists. Hangzhou's nightlife is not as hectic as larger cities in China, however there are a number of bars and restaurants in the city centre, along with karaoke halls, theatres, teahouses and nightclubs.

While you'll find all the modern amenities you'd expect from a city of 3.5 million, the local government's commitment to preserving the cultural beauty of Hangzhou gives visitors a unique glimpse into the rich history of the region.

Information & Facts

The official language is Mandarin Chinese, but there are hundreds of local dialects.

The currency used in China is the Renminbi Yuan (CNY). The Yuan is divided into 10 chiao/jiao or 100 fen. Make sure you exchange your leftover Yuan before returning home because this currency can be exchanged only within China's borders. Travellers cheques, preferably in US Dollars, and foreign cash can be exchanged in cities at the Bank of China. Banks are closed weekends. The larger hotels and the special 'Friendship Stores' designed for foreigners will accept most western currencies for purchases. Major credit cards are accepted in the main cities at various establishments, but outside the major cities acceptance is limited. ATMs are scarce outside the main cities.

Local time is GMT +8.

The Grand Canal is one of the largest man-made canals in the world, running right through Hangzhou all the way up to Beijing. It was built section by section in the Sui Dynasty around the 7th century as a major transportation development, but is today used mainly for water diversion and tourism. Boat trips along the Grand Canal are a popular way to see scenic river towns in southern China, with many beautiful views.

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