Hangzhou, China

This one is about my favorite city in China: Hangzhou.
At the time when England was being raided by Vikings, Hangzhou was the biggest and most modern city in the world. And it remains, in my opinion. one of the most beautiful and advanced cities in China today. Like Marco Polo himself put it, Hangzhou was the “most beautiful and magnificent city in the world”.

Hangzhou is the only city in China where I have been more than three times except for Beijing and Tianjin, and would gladly take any opportunity to visit again. So what is so great about it?

The good: The touristy part of the city is very green and clean. There is pollution like most cities in China, but it’s nowhere near Beijing’s. The city is very modern and the people are civilized and polite within local standards. The people are also very friendly and willing to help their fellow Chinese travelers as well as foreigners. The view around the West Lake is fantastic. And the city’s location is great, making it very convenient to visit neighboring cities (Suzhou, Shanghai, Huangshan, etc.). And finally local food is delicious. There is also a tea museum free of charge, which for some reason is not very famous. For anyone interested in Chinese tea, this is a good place to visit. The tea fields outside the museum are great for a walk and one can visit a small community of tea makers that borders these fields. Tours won’t take you here but I promise the atmosphere will be hard to forget; and there are plenty of chances for good photography.

The bad: Not all the parts of the city are as clean and modern as the parts closer to the West Lake (since those are the ones most visited by tourist). And since many people also realize all the good parts I just wrote and many more, Hangzhou gets many visitors and can be very crowded during holidays.

What visitors shouldn’t miss: West Lake, He Fang Street, Long Jin tea, Dong Po pork, Xiao Long Bao (dumplings)

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