China Travels: Trip to Hangzhou

Hangzhou, also called the paradise of China, is the capitol city of Zhejiang province, where Yuyao is situated as well. Zhejiang province belongs to the richest and most developped provinces in China and is famous for its textile factories.

Hangzhou, with around 5 million citizens, is a popular tourist attractions, especially for its West Lake, but also for its tea plantages, the several natural and cultural sights, and the big city feeling with its shopping miles and various nighlife events.

We travelled there by train, which was only 45 minutes from our town. My friend and me went together. She just arrived in China as well, so we were both quite inexperienced with the chinese way of living. This being my first trip inside of China, I think I managed well.

So here is how our trip was:

It was a pleasant ride and when we first saw Hangzhou from the train it looked kind of gloomy and foggy. After we got there, we found ourselves in a subway station and decided to take the subway to West Lake. It only cost about 3 kuai, so quite cheap. Plus, the subway has such a modern technology it is amazing! The platforms are closed by some plastic doors, and as soon as the train arrives, the doors open simultaneously with the train doors. Amazing Asia has shown its efficiency with technology again. It was also very easy to find the way through the subway lines, but when we got off at the station, we didn’t know how to walk to the Lake, so we just got a taxi and said xihu, which means west lake. Somehow we managed to get there without complications and we were amazed by the sight of that huge lake. The air was so much better there and soon we reached a small pavillion where people were dancing around. I thought I filmed that, but somehow I seem to have forgotten to press on record -.- Anyway, it almost felt like Latin America rather than China because the people were dancing fast and rakish. We had a look and then we saw a bridge we wanted to go to. From there on we recognized the Pagoda as well and decided to walk there. On our way we took a lot of pictures, also from ourselves and instantly there were people asking us if they could have their pictures taken with us. It felt strange to see other random people wanting to have pictures with us. It felt like being some famous person, although we obviously weren’t.



After getting away from our fans, we found some boats lined up and decided to take a boat ride on the lake. We even bargained with the man who was responsible for the boats and got the ride for half the price :D
It was worth it because we had quite a beautiful view on everything, although it started to rain at one point. We didn’t get bothered by it and just enjoyed the air and the water.




After the boat ride, we continued our walk towards the pagoda. At first we thought it would be quite a long walk and weren’t sure if we should walk or take one of the little busses that were passing us. But we saw a group of foreigners and asked them how far it was. They told us that it is only about 3 or 4 kilometres, so easy to walk to. Of course, we decided to walk because that way we would see the environment and the nature around the lake. It was good that we walked because we saw some cute spots.



These fishes were in front of a museum’s entrance







My lunch: Fried Rice and vegetables in a pineapple

We were getting closer to the pagoda now, we only had to find the entrance, so we kept on following the other tourists. When we finally got to the right path, we saw it and everyone was taking pictures. There were escalators bringing you up to where the pagoda was and finally we could go inside. Inside the pagoda, there were even lifts and people were standing in line to take one up. That was crazy because the lifts were filled with people. Hailey and me thought it would be quite annoying and expensive to take the lift so we walked which was not even that high. The first few floors were quite calm but the top floor, the 6th was so crowded that we had a hard time taking photos. Still we managed to take some and that’s how they look like.




After the pagoda, we tried to go to the Lingyin Temple which we heard should be quite nice. On our way out of the pagoda we saw a little pond with many turtles in it. I have never seen so many turtles before. Have a look.


So our next stop was the temple. In order to get there, we wanted to take a taxi. Now, the first problem started. All the taxis would refuse to stop and take us. I didn’t understand the world anymore. I have never experienced anything like this before with taxis. I mean, it is their job, they can’t just refuse us. Then, however, we saw that they were having a break, that’s why they didn’t take anyone. After walking for a while we saw a lot of taxis and one taxi driver was offering us to take us to Lingyin Temple for 50 kuai. We thought that might be the maximum and as soon as he turned on the metre it might even be cheaper. We were just happy to find any taxi that would take us. But when we get inside, he wouldn’t turn on the metre and we got suspicious. He obviously wanted to rip us off. We immediately told him to stop and went out the taxi. After a few minutes, we found a normal taxi and he took us there for 15 kuai, almost 4 times cheaper. That was our first negative taxi encounter in Hangzhou or China in general. In Yuyao, they would never do anything like that, but in the more touristy places they tend to do it more.

Anyway, we arrived at the temple and tried to figure out how to get to the part where the temple was. We were told that we had to buy a ticket for the Fei Lai Feng park at first and then we could get another ticket for the temple. We didn’t expect this but we just bought one anyway since we got all the way to get inside. While we were trying to figure out how to get the ticket, we met two italians, a girl and a boy who were both studying engineering in Shanghai. They were quite nice and we walked around with them for a while when we were in Fei Lai Feng, but when we arrived at the temple, we lost them.
Anyway, I didn’t expect Fei Lai Feng to be so beautiful. There were a lot of statues of buddha, even inside of a cave and there was so much untouched nature. I actually liked Fei Lai Feng better than Lingyin Temple.One good thing about the temple however was that with purchasing the entry ticket, we also got free wish candles which we could ignite inside and make a wish. I was so excited about this, because I always wanted to do something like that.
When we got inside, there was already smoke coming up. We also ignited ours and then I actually bowed and made a wish.
The temple was impressive inside, but not as much as I thought it would be. Here are some pictures from both Fei Lai Feng and the Lingyin Temple.






With the entrance ticket to the temple, we also got some incense
A Buddha statue inside of the temple


The swastika. Originally a religious symbol for Hindus and Buddhists.

After we were finished and a bit bored with the temple, we discovered other parts of the whole area. There was a tea garden which I wanted to go and an observation area where Hailey wanted to go. So we tried to get to those two places which were actually not that far away. The tea garden was exactly how I imagined it but we didn’t sit down to eat or drink something because it was too expensive.
The observation area was beautiful too. We could have a perfect view over West Lake so it was definitely worth it.



When we wanted to leave the temple, we first had difficulties getting out. Unfortunately, we have taken the wrong exit but thought that if we’d get into one of the taxis standing around there, they would bring us into the city centre so that we could figure out how to find a hotel. Unfortunately, none of the taxis wanted to take us again. We were desperate. We didn’t know what to do and we were in a place which had nothing but streets and bushes everywhere, so we decided to go back inside and try to look for the other exit. Luckily, we found it and took a taxi from there to the city centre. There we wanted to look for some hotels. However, we didn’t find any so we looked up at TripAdvisor and there was a cheap youth hostel. The adress however, was written in English, so no taxi driver could read it. We were slowly starting to get worried. It was almost 7pm and we still didn’t have a place to sleep. Then we had the idea to type in the adress into chinese google which is called Baidu, and it worked. Finally, we could find a taxi which would take us there. On the way to the hostel, we even met 2 chinese people who were also looking for the hostel. When we arrived it took a while until they arranged all the bureaucratic stuff but the girls at the reception could speak english quite well and they even helped us how to get by with the buses around here for the next day. Hailey had to go to the next bus terminal to take the bus to Yellow Mountain and I would need to take an ordinary bus back to the train station to go back to Yuyao.
When we finally got our room card we took a shower, changed and then looked for some food. It was easy to find, but it was way too expensive although it was quite an isolated area.

All in all, my first trip in China was very interesting. I saw a lot of beautiful nature, though it was quite simple I guess. Still, I liked Hangzhou a lot and I’d recommend it to everyone who want to have a relaxing sight-seeing day.

Today’s rating:

Sightseeing: 5/5
Food: 3/5
Shopping: 4/5
Nightlife: no information

Transportation: 4/5


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