Located in the south-eastern province of Zhejiang, Hangzhou has been bewitching visitors with its natural beauty for centuries. Even Marco Polo declared it 'paradise', having fallen in love with the tranquillity of its hills and gardens.
Hangzhou's West Lake is lush, green and dotted with iconic temples, bridges and pavilions. Visitors can stroll through the gardens, take a boat ride, see the thousands of stone carvings at Lingyin Temple or admire the scenic view from Baochu Pagoda. Hangzhou has a number of interesting museums too, such as the National Silk Museum and the National Tea Museum.
The city's tea fields are noteworthy, with the local green tea variety Xi Hu Long Jing a popular purchase among travellers, while the Silk Market and Night Market are good retail stops. As for its cuisine, Hangzhou's specialities include Dongpo Pork, Longjing Shrimp Meat, Steam Rice Flower and West Lake Sour Fish.
Hangzhou's nightlife doesn't rival the scenes in China's larger metropoles, but there are a number of bars, nightclubs and restaurants in the city centre. Visitors can expect to find karaoke halls, theatres and teahouses in abundance.
All in all, Hangzhou offers visitors a glimpse into the region's rich history, without sacrificing any of the amenities they might expect from a big city.