My first time hearing about the destination ‘Hangzhou’ was during the launch of Airasia’s Cebu flight to the capital of Zhejiang province. And to be honest, flying to a place I’ve never heard before, and not on my bucket list, didn’t get me too thrilled. But nonetheless, I was very interested in seeing and experiencing what the city has to offer.
I was a bit hesitant of going in the beginning because of the pile of work backlogs I had that moment, but gladly I speedily accomplished everything and decided to push through three days before the departure date. But first, I had to secure a Chinese visa again, which normally takes at least four days to process. I visited Shenzhen two weeks prior to this trip and my single entry Chinese visa was already used up for that jaunt. The wait was nerve-racking, but gladly everything was set and got my visa the morning before I flew out to Hangzhou.
Along with me on the quick three-full day East China trip were two of my friends – fellow Cebu Fashion Blogger Sophie and The Freeman Newspaper writer Carlo. I did research a few tidbits of information on Google a day before the flight and read that Hangzhou is a popular tourist destination and one of the most prosperous cities in East China. A flashy fact, but that didn’t get me ecstatic at all, even after looking at the images posted online.
Day Zero: AirAsia’s inaugural flight from Cebu to Hangzhou. The flight was roomy and comfortable, as my friends and I were seated along the emergency exits, occupying a row each. A big yes to the spacious leg room!
Arriving at the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, we swiftly passed immigration and hopped on a contract car which had two stops, one at a hotel near the main West Lake area to drop off two fellow Cebuanos, and last at a booked Airbnb place my friends and I shared.
The locals speak exclusively in Mandarin, so learning a few basic phrases might help. Also, try Google Translate. 😉
Having been prepped up during my recent Shenzhen trip that asking locals is no relief when you need help with direction or worst get lost, Google Maps was there to the rescue – reliably assisting me on where the bus stops are and what bus number to ride to our destinations.
It’s very beneficial that Google is accurate and functioning real well in Hangzhou. Following the itinerary was a breeze. Even with a few human error like missing the bus stop because we were too engaged talking, or passing by dead spots where data signal gets cut-off, we were still on schedule most of the time.
Day One: The Old and New.
Our rented AirBnb loft is tucked in a residential area, close to the rear end of the West Lake. We started our first day strolling around the Huagang Park, and when the rain started to pour, we decided to stay for a few more minutes (ended up staying for an hour and a half, teehee) and enjoyed the tranquil scenery. A li’l wet from the drizzle, we headed back to the loft to change, then went ahead to our next destination – Hefang Street. Stopped by the Drum Tower or the Chao Tian Men first, which translates to “gate to the heaven.” Then we progressed to a historical walk along Gulou Church, Hefang street and Wushan Square.
We then had a teaser of the modern metro of Hangzhou, walking around the city and watched the 8PM Music Fountain Show just across Hyatt Regency Hotel. Also spotted this huge Apple store on our walk to the bus stop.
Day 2: Longjing Tea Museum and Plantation
The second day was mainly about getting familiar with Hangzhou’s famous green tea – Longjing. My friends and I went to Longjingsan Village Park where we sampled different kinds of tea, including the local Longjing. We also made a stop to the peak where the “Tea Altar” is.
We did not miss the chance to visit the plantation of China’s best green tea variety , going deep inside the valleys to get a better glimpse of the lush terrace layers of Longjing.
The original second day itinerary included a visit to the oldest Buddhist temple in the city, Lingyin Temple, next. But had an encounter with some grumpy dogs on our way back to the bus stop from the tea plantation and kinda took a chunk of time as we waited for them to clear our way. haha. So we skipped dropping by Lingyin Temple and went to Leifang Pagoda instead. The Pagoda was under construction that time so we opt not to go inside the the park, and went back to Hefang Street to sample more local food. We had the Beggar’s Chicken which is highly recommended when visiting the city.
Day 3: City God Pavillion & West Lake
Just about two blocks away from the Drum Tower is the foot of Wu Hill, the starting point of the ascend to the City God Pavillion is. The Pavillion is about 42meters tall, 6-floor Pagoda that gives you a great view of West Lake. Our visit was a bit foggy though because of the rain, but still had a good peak of West Lake.
From the foot of Wu Hill, it takes about 10-15 minute walk up to the main entrance. There’s a fee of 30Yuan per person to enter the complex.
We then went on the West Lake Sightseeing tour and hopped on a boat at the terminal across Hyatt Hotel.A ticket is at 70RMB per person, which serves as a roundtrip ticket to the islet and back. The boat took us to the middle islet of the lake called ‘Three Pools Mirroring the Moon”. Forty Five minutes strolling around the islet, and went back. Then we did a quick stop at Pabellon Jixianting.
The short vacation to Hangzhou was overall an amazing experience. I never thought I’d enjoy the trip so much. Hangzhou is an astonishing mix of old and the new. It’s an advance city but with an overly classic and graceful milieu. I am really glad that I went on this east China vacation.
TIP: Google Maps was truly a big help during the trip. I refer to the app to find bus stops and what bus number to ride to all the destinations on my itinerary. I highly advice you to book a Flytpack before flying out to Hangzhou! Do not forget to use my code FPDoyzkie and get P100 off.
Leaving you with my Hangzhou three-full day itinerary. Now it’s your turn to fly direct from Cebu to Hangzhou via Airasia. 😉
8:00AM. A Part of West Lake
10:30aM Drum Tower
11:00AM Golou Church
01:00PM Hefang Street
03:00PM Wushan Square
05:00PM Ride Lonxiangqiao Metro
5:30PM Walk towards Hyatt Regency
6:00PM Find Spot for Music Fountain Show
7:00PM Music Fountain Show
8:15PM Ride Bus Home
7:00AM – Wake up
8:00AM – Breakfast
9:00AM- Ride Bus to Lingyin Temple
10:30AM Arrive at Lingyin Temple
01:00PM Longjing Park Village
02:30PM Longjin Plantation
03:30PM Ride bus to Leifang Pagoda
04:30PM Leifang Pagoda
05:30PM Refreshment at Leifang Pagoda Foodcourt
06:30PM Bus to Hefang Street
7:00PM Hefang for Pasalubong
9:00PM Catch a bus and Head Home
08:00AM Wake Up
08:45AM Check out AirBnB and leave luggage at the reception
09:00AM Catch a Bus to City God Pavillion
10:00AM Arrive at City God Pavillion
11:30AM Ride Lonxiangqiao Metro
01:00PM West Lake Tour
03:30PM Walk around Jiefang Road for mall hopping and shopping
06:30PM Head back to hotel to get luggage
07:30PM Ride a taxi to the airport to catch flight