Hangzhou, the paradise in China

Hangzhou, the paradise in China

Guys, I was looking for going on a day trip just before flying to Turkey. One of my friends told me an ancient Chinese proverb:

“In Heaven there is Paradise, on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou.”

It means that Suzhou and Hangzhou were the finest and the most splendid places in the world.

As I’ve been to Suzhou before (the article will be published after this one), Hangzhou was the perfect place for a day trip as it is not far away from Shanghai.

In this article your gonna read about:

  • A summary background info on Hangzhou,
  • How to go to Hangzhou from Shanghai,
  • Jingci Temple,
  • The West Lake National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site,
  • Su Causeway,
  • Xixi National Wetland Park and viewing fish at flower pond,
  • China National Tea Museum,
  • and the people in Hangzhou that were captured throughout the whole day,

Let’s start the day trip and you’re coming with me…

BACKGROUND INFO ON HANGZHOU(杭州)

Before taking the train, let’s do some reading on Hangzhou…It is going to give you a clear idea on where we’re gonna go…

Hangzhou is the capital and the largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China.

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Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province

It is an industrial city with various sectors like agriculture, textile, fine chemicals, medicine, information technology and many more…Even though Hangzhou is an industrial city, it is one of the greenest cities in China as well.

What is Hangzhou famous for in terms of tourism?

There are a lot to see in the city but the main attraction is the West Lake, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site and Xixi National Wetland Park. I am gonna tell you more about these places once we arrive.

What’s the weather like in Hangzhou?

Hangzhou’s climate is Humid Subtropical. Starting from June, it is affected by the heavy rains of the Asian monsoon. August and September is the season of the thypoons. Even though typoons don’t hit the city directly, Hanzghou suffers from it’s affects like strong winds, rains and sometimes landfalls. Winters are mostly cloudy but dry with rare snow.

HOW TO GO TO HANGZHOU FROM SHANGHAI?

Hangzhou is min.45minutes -max. 1 hour away from Shanghai by train.

You can either buy your ticket online (you may need to register your passport first), from one of the travel agencies or the ticket offices at the railway stations.

There are two railway stations:

Shanghai South Railway Station. You can go there by taking the subway, Line 1.

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. You can go there by taking the subway, Line 2.

During the Chinese National holidays, this place is literally packed. But we are lucky as we are going on a weekday. Here is a shot of the station:

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Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

The ticket office is on the second floor. Here is the ticket line, not bad…One of my friends told me that in order to get a train ticket you need to carry your passport or at least a copy of it…But today as my passport has been in the process due to getting the work visa, I have a copy of some pages, but my friend Eduardo forgot his passport at home, instead he has his Spanish ID Card. Guess what happened? It worked…We have the tickets…

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The ticket office at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

Let’s go to 8B Gate to wait for the doors to be opened…and ready to go…

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Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

Now going down to the platform…

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Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

I still have to take pictures while running too, right? That’s why it’s a little bit blurry. Here is our train…

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Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

It’s a modern one…clean and smells good…Not like the one I took for Yunhe Rice Terraces in Zhejiang Province.

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Our train at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

The view from our window:

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The view from our window

 Hangzhou Railway Station

And finally we arrived…You can carry your luggage easily while you’re going down stairs….

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Hangzhou Railway Station

Well, Hangzhou Station is kind of packed…

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The crowd in Hangzhou Railway Station

As soon as you go out of the station, people will come to you and offer you a minivan, a tour package including a guide by showing you the cards/flyers they are holding.

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People selling tour packages at Hangzhou Railway Station

Here is one of the  tour packages we are being offered…

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One of the tour packages

The people in Hangzhou station…

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The people in Hangzhou Railway Station

A lovely kid who is tired of walking, is on the luggage ride…

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The people in Hangzhou Railway Station

Are you hungry? Wraps with potatos inside…

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Wraps with potatos inside

Can you guess which one/ones sells/sell food? Well, of course Burger King, what about the others? Nope, the others are related with games of chance.

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Stores at Hangzhou Railway Station

Buying the return ticket at Hangzhou Railway Station

Before leaving the train station, let’s buy our return ticket…Upss! The lines here are longer than the ones in Shanghai…Well, we have to wait anyway…

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Hangzhou Railway Station

But if you carry your own stool, that’s even better cause you can find yourself sitting on the floor like her…

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Hangzhou Railway Station

It is really hot and humid makes it worse…Especially men sweat like that or…

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The people in Hangzhou Railway Station

They open a belly window…It’s quite common in China…With this sign you can understand that the summer is coming…

Belly windows in Hangzhou Railway Station

Belly windows in Hangzhou Railway Station

Did someone say personel space? Where? Better to forget the concept here…Yellow lines here are just for decoration…

The people in Hangzhou Railway Station

The people in Hangzhou Railway Station

Do mobile ventilators work? Better than nothing…

The kid with the mobile ventilator

The kid with the mobile ventilator

Finally it is our turn….The same worked here too, not saying anything about why we don’t carry our passports..As long as you have an ID card with a number on it, it works…But better to carry your passport in case of any surprises…

Look at the pos machines…Do you think that they use it? Nope…

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Buying the return tickets

As we arrived Hangzhou in the afternoon and need to go back in the evening, we don’t have the luxury to walk around and get lost…So it is better to get the best tour package deal in front of Hangzhou Railway Station…

I bargained with the lady in the light blue t-shirt. For six sights, she told me 150RMB(25USD) and I managed to convince her to sell the tour to us for 100RMB(16,6USD) in Chinese….She was telling me that my Chinese was good but it is their way to make me put my guard down…Let me tell you something: in China you bargain for everything till you think the price in your own currency…cause then you realize that you are bargaining for 5-10 USD and then you stop….

Here is our picture shows that everyone is happy….

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Buying the tour package

The lady with the black bag is responsible from taking us to the minivan…The air-conditioned minivan makes you feel great when you’re overwhelmed by humid outside…

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The tour programme starts

This store gives me an impression that it is a special store for girls working in IT sector….Probably not, right?

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The store with an interesting name

Here is our tour guide that cannot speak English! Well, again better than nothing…

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our tour guide

Umbrellas are not seasonal accessories in China….Most local women have their umbrellas with them all year…When it rains, when the sun comes up…There are different style of umbrellas for rain and the sunny weather…

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The people in Hangzhou

Bicycles are everywhere…

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Bicycles are everywhere

The little girl holding the baby…

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The little girl holding the baby

JINGCI TEMPLE (Chinese: 净慈寺; pinyin: Jìngcí Sì)

Let’s have a look at the history of the temple first: Jingci Temple is one of the representative historic sites of Buddhism in the West Lake Landscape. It witnessed the outstanding status of Hangzhou as Buddhism realm in southeastern China during the period from the 10th to 13th centuries. Located at the foot of Huiri Peak, the middle peak of  Nanping Hill, it was first built by King Qian Hongehu of the Wuyue Kingdom (907-978) in the period of Five Dynasties in 954.

It was not only ranked the top of the more than 300 Buddhism temples around the West Lake but also was listed one of the 15 Zen sect Buddhism temples on the highest state level elected and affirmed by the imperial court of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).

It has experienced repeated destructions and renovations since its foundation but has preserved the basic layout after its renovation in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Facing south, the temple includes a screen wall, the free life pond and three architectural complexes. The first complex includes a gate to the temple, main hall and two bell towers on the east and west sides. The second complex includes the Hall of Three Saints and wing houses on the east and west sides. The third complex includes the Hall of Saria.

Jingci Temple is still one of the most important Buddhist ashrams in the southeastern coastal areas of China.  Let’s have a look at how it looks….I am sure you realized the lion statue and the red lanterns.

Red lanterns as you can remember it from “Waking up to a brand new day in Yunhe Rice Terraces” as well, it is believed that they bring luck. The lion statue from Mystic Valleys of Xinchang-National Geopark, they protect the building and makes it stronger.

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

One of the monks in Jingci Temple…

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One of the monks in Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

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Girls visiting Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

The gardener is relaxing in the garden…

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The gardener in Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Here is the first complex:

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

The Buddha and monk figures…

Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

A woman praying out loud from the book…

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A woman praying in Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Here are the stairs leading you to the second complex…

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Evrim at Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Evrim at Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

The monks are discussing their daily rituals…

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

The people who visit the temple can read the books from the library…

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

The monk rushing to the meeting…

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

The bell in Jingci Temple

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

The dragon figure on the wall…

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

The flower shaped candles…

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Guys, let’s explore a different route…Where do the monks live? Here is the route leads us to where the monks live…Let’s have a look at their lives a little bit…How do they dry their clothes, do they do any sports?

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Drying clothes outside is a common thing in China and in the temples too…

Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

One of the monks in Jingci Temple

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One of the monks in Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Can you guess what he is thinking right now?

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One of the monks in Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

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One of the monks in Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

I am impressed to see that they do sports…Table tennis and badmintoon are the two sports that are really popular in China…

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Sports opportunities for monks in Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

They like to take care of flowers for sure…Look at the pots…

Flowers in Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Flowers in Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

This is the third complex  but it is locked for some reason today…

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Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Now, it’s time to go and find our tour guide who has been waiting for us in the entrance…Such a great service(haha)

Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

The policeman telling me “Qua dian” means “be quick”…

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The policeman in Hangzhou

Belly windows are everywhere…

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Belly windows are everywhere

The sweet kid with his little bike and interesting hairstyle…

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The sweet kid in Hangzhou

Umbrellas for the sunny days…What else do you see in the picture below? The man carries her GF’s bag which is one of the things you’re gonna see in Hangzhou as well as Shanghai.

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The people in Hangzhou

The kids on mission: Exploring Hangzhou

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The kids on mission

The West Lake National Park, A Unesco Heritage Site

This is an awesome place! We’re on a Unesco Heritage Site…Let’s learn more about the West Lake…The West Lake National Park in Hangzhou is a harmonious blend of the natural beauty in the beautiful lake and hills, profound and splendid cultural relics and historic sites. As the centerpiece of the national park, the West Lake is cradled by hills in three directions. It covers an area of about 60km2 inclusive of 6.5km2 of waters. The West Lake reveals varied charming sceneries in the four seasons, at dawn or dusk, in sunny or rainy days.

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

The West Lake is endowed with beautiful hills and waters as well as dense woods with deep valleys. Besides, it is not only abundant in cultural relics and historical monuments but also in touching fairy tales and legends. Around the West Lake, there are 16 key national monuments, 22 provincial monuments, 24 municipal monuments, as well as numerous heritage sites under preservation, museums and memorial halls of various types, which add to its brilliance. The national park is one of the well -known domestic tourist resorts with historic and cultural significance.

Traditional Chinese boats on the West Lake…

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The traditional boats on the West Lake in Hangzhou

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The traditional boats on the West Lake in Hangzhou

As you can remember,  in China local people ask you to have pictures with them…That’s sweet, I like it cause then I can ask the same back…She is really lovely and kind…

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

Silent times…

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

The West Lake is a magical place….

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

Let’s have a look at a souvenir shop closeby…What do you think about the umbrellas?

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The souvenir shop in the West Lake in Hangzhou

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The souvenir shop in the West Lake in Hangzhou

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The souvenir shop at the West Lake Lanscape in Hangzhou

SU CAUSEWAY

Time to walk through Su Causeway…Su Causeway is the longest series of bridges crossing over the West Lake in Hangzhou. It is named after the Song Dynasty poet, Su Dong Po, who was then the governor of Hangzhou. Su Causeway consists of 6 bridges and you can see a lot of beautiful trees and flowers along the way.

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Su Causeway in Hangzhou

The people in Su Causeway…

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Su Causeway in Hangzhou

The traditional Chinese rowboat…

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The traditional Chinese rowboat on the West Lake in Hangzhou

Captains of the boats chatting….

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The traditional Chinese rowboats on the West Lake in Hangzhou

Flower Ladies…

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The people in the West Lake in Hangzhou

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The people in the West Lake in Hangzhou

Isn’t it amazing?

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

It’s time to get on our boat….

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The traditional Chinese boats on the West Lake in Hangzhou

Do you know what is written on your t-shirt? She says no…

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

Another traditional Chinese rowboat…We’re gonna see a lot along the way….

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The traditional Chinese boat on the West Lake in Hangzhou

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The traditional Chinese boat on the West Lake in Hangzhou

This sign she makes means “ok”.

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The Chinese girl saying “ok”, the West Lake in Hangzhou

Our boat and the lovely teenagers in our group…

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The traditional Chinese boats on the West Lake in Hangzhou

A great place to have pictures…

West Lake in Hangzhou

West Lake in Hangzhou

My lovely friend wanna have another picture with me…

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The traditional Chinese boats on the West Lake in Hangzhou

Three bridges in Su Causeway…

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One of the bridges in Su Causeway in Hangzhou

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One of the bridges in Su Causeway in Hangzhou

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One of the bridges in Su Causeway in Hangzhou

You see, having a boat trip is a must experience when you come to the West Lake, Hangzhou.  Let’s watch the view for a while…

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The traditional Chinese rowboats on the West Lake in Hangzhou

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The traditional Chinese rowboats on the West Lake in Hangzhou

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

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The traditional Chinese rowboat on the West Lake in Hangzhou

This is the same boat as ours…

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The traditional Chinese boat on the West Lake in Hangzhou

Next time I’ll go to this temple…

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The West Lake Landscape in Hangzhou

Umbrellas and hats are important as you can see…Most of the Chinese woman don’t like to be suntanned…Therefore they also use them to stay white….Most of the creams have whitening ingredients in them too…Having a white skin is one of the beauty criterias in China.

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Our group having a boat tour on the West Lake in Hangzhou

There are small islands on the West Lake…Look how green it is…

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One of the islands on teh West Lake in Hangzhou

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One of the islands on the West Lake in Hangzhou

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The people on the West Lake Landscape in Hangzhou

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The traditional Chinese rowboat on the West Lake in Hangzhou

The clouds have started to block the sun….Perfect opportunity! Cause I like to take pictures on cloudy days…You can capture the beams of sun light coming through the clouds…

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The weather in Hangzhou

That’s what I am talking about ….

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The weather in Hangzhou

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The weather in Hangzhou

The West Lake is seriously big…

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

The development area of Hangzhou…

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The development area in Hangzhou

Another traditional type of Chinese boat…

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The traditional Chinese boat on the West Lake in Hangzhou

You see how famous this place is…

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The West Lake in Hangzhou

Our tour guide…

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Our Tour Guide

I love this hat…Do you remember the one I tried in Yunhe Rice Terraces

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The traditional Chinese rowboat on the West Lake in Hangzhou

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The traditional Chinese rowboats on the West Lake in Hangzhou

Not only women use umbrellas, men do too!

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The umbrella for sunny weather on the West Lake in Hangzhou

What kind of bird is this? Can you guess?

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The bird on the West Lake in Hangzhou

Our boat…This is the end of our boat tour…

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Our boat on the West Lake in Hanzghou

One of the canals….

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One of the canals on teh West Lake in Hangzhou

It is believed that when you jump on from one fish to another here, it brings you luck…

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Jumping on the fishes to bring luck in Hangzhou

Little cuties…

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Little cuties in Hangzhou

Viewing fish at Flower Pond

Famous as a scenic spot for observing flowers and fishes…”Viewing Fish at Flower Pond”, a component of the West Lake Cultural Landscape, is listed one of the “Ten Poetically named Scenic places of the West Lake”.

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Viewing fish at Flower Pond in Hangzhou

It is located in the north-west of Yingbo Bridge on Su Causeway, between the Lesser South Lake and West Inner Lake. Initially it was the private garden-villa of a palace named Lu Yunsheng of the Southern Song Dynasty(1127-1279), evolved into its present from in 1699 and was renovated in 1869.

 Xixi National Wetland Park ( 西溪国家湿地公园) 

This is the only national wetland park in China. It covers more than 1,150 hectares…The park has beautiful ponds, lakes and swamps. It has more than 1,180 years history…Next time I’ll come to observe the life of a water village here…

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Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

Red Carp Pond

As one of the main attractions of the park, the one-hectare pond keeps a few thousand red carps.

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Red Carp Pond in Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

Red Carp Pond in Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

Red Carp Pond in Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

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Red Carp Pond in Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

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Red Carp Pond in Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

I loved the place…

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Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

I wanna use this rowing boat if only it had the oars…

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Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

These are perfect places to read a book, to have a picnic, to run…well I wanna swim too but I don’t think that it’s allowed…

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Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

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Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

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Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

I have many favourite spots and next time I’ll stay longer and spend more time…

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Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

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Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

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Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

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Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

Look at how lovely she is…

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The Little princess having a great time at Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

Can we eat the bananas and the pear?

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The banana tree in Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

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The pear tree in Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

We were looking for you Mr. Squirrel…Finally saw one…

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Mr.Squirrel in Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

One of the canals in Xixi National Wetland Park.

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One of the canals in Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou

Our tour guide is walking out of the park, so I guess we are heading to China Natioanal Tea Museum…Before that look at a Kitty lover’s car…Would you like to have a car like that?

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The car owner loves Kitty

CHINA NATIONAL TEA MUSEUM

This museum is the only one in the country with the tea theme. The National Tea Museum was opened in 1991. It is located in Longjing (Dragon Well) Village. It covers an area of 22,000square meters… Besides being a museum, it serves as a research institution which often holds conferences on tea and its culture.

China National Tea Museum in Hangzhou

China National Tea Museum in Hangzhou

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China National Tea Museum in Hangzhou

Let’s try one of the teas in the museum.

The tea trial sessions at China National Tea Museum in Hangzhou

The tea trial sessions at China National Tea Museum in Hangzhou

The fruit sellers outside China National Tea Museum…

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The fruit sellers outside China National Tea Museum in Hangzhou

The bicycles in Hagzhou

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The bicycles in Hangzhou

The local people in Hangzhou…

The people in Hangzhou

The people in Hangzhou

We had our dinner in a local restaurant and bargain for the food…We got 4 dishes and 40RMB (6.7USD)  in total…I also told them that I don’t eat pork but of course they forgot it and brought one of the dishes mixed with pork…So we paid 30RMB(5USD) in total…Little cuties having their early dinner too…

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The little cuties having their early dinner

You can only see this view in China…The lady on the motorcycle taxi with her dog…I love to catch these moments…

The lady on the motorcycle taxi with her dog

The lady on the motorcycle taxi with her dog

 On the way back…

We are trying to catch our train…

On the way back to Shanghai

On the way back to Shanghai

The Chinese man is offering Eduardo chicken feet…The only thing I can say about it is, it has a heavy smell…I have to admit that I haven’t tried it yet and I am not curious about the taste either…In China it is common to eat chicken feet, pig feet…

Chicken legs in the train

Chicken legs in the train

You can even charge your phone’s battery in the train…

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Hanghzou-Shanghai train

Finally arrived at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Staiton…

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Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

No one takes the stairs…

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Stairs are empty

Hello everyone…

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Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

 Final thoughts on Hangzhou

Hangzhou is one of the paradises on Earth, for sure…This is a must seen place when you come to China…

I’ve seen that one day for Hangzhou, of course, is not enough and I’ll come here again and again…

Let us know what you think about Hangzhou by leaving a comment down there…

 

 

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