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One day in Hangzhou, the city dubbed China's heaven on Earth

This is a continuation of the weekend trip blog post, if you haven’t read the "One Day in Xitang" blog post, make sure to read that first.

So we spent the night in Xitang the night before and in the early morning we took a bus from Xitang to Hangzhou. Since we didn’t have that much time, we had to decide exactly where we wanted to go and do. We choose to just focus on 2 areas: Hefang street and the west lake. They're close to each other and has a lot of the major tourist attractions of Hangzhou.

We started off the day walking through Hefang street from the eastern side. Just walking through the street you’ll find stone carvings, sculptures, and other interesting cultural art around the street. It is one of the most popular streets in Hangzhou and dates back to the Song dynasty where it was also a prosperous business area.

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We didn't do much research beforehand on exactly what store to visit, but we stumbled upon a gold museum that is free to enter which was through a famous gold store. In the museum you'll find a mix of modern and ancient art made of gold and many interesting and historical statues.

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Apart from the art and history there are many vendors that are giving out samples of local Hangzhou specialties. There is also a very famous tea house called "Taiji Teahouse" which is an authentic Chinese tea house where you can get a pot of traditional tea or buy some to go. 

After walking through Hefang street, if you walk further down it ends near the west lake and to see as much as possible of the lake, we decided to rent some bikes for a few hours for about 100 Yuan each. 

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We started the bike journey from Hefang street and biked clockwise around the lake. We stopped at some key locations to take some pictures and look around. Like the Leifang Pagoda, Yuewang Pagoda, the lily pads of the lake, and later we also took a short boat cruise through the lake.

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At night we came back to the west lake to watch the Impression of the west lake show. Which is definitely a must-see if you're in the Hangzhou. Tickets can be quite expensive at around 200-300 yuan, but it’s well worth it to see hundreds of dancers leap across the lake to a magnificent light and water show.

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Now this is the part of the trip where it gets messy. Since we couldn’t take the train (refer to day 1 of the weekend if you don’t know why) we had to take a bus, but the official buses stop at 6pm and that was too early for us to leave. Outside the station there are booth set up of bus companies that are slightly less legitimate selling tickets to their own private buses to go to Shanghai. We decide to take one of those instead, so that we can leave around 9pm. We got to the meeting point for the bus at 9 and had to wait an additional hour for the bus and when it came it was not a bus, but more of a large van that they squished all 12 of us into and worst of all there was no AC. So this 2 and a half hour bus ride was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life, the windows didn’t open and the air just got more and more humid as we drove on. 

So the lesson of the whole trip is if you're going to Hangzhou, make sure you prepare your transportation before hand and never forget your passport like me, if we could have gotten a train we could have left later and been a lot more comfortable.

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About the author

Monica is a Canadian-Chinese travel blogger and marketer that has spent time in Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou,and Xitang, Shanghai. When she isn't watching YouTube videos, you can find her writing or creating videos.

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