Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, China, is a wonderful place to visit, and here are 13 reasons why you should travel there.
1. While all other scenic spots are raising ticket prices, West Lake is still free!
West Lake is the only lake in China inscribed in the World Heritage listings (cultural). It’s located in the center of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, known as “paradise on Earth.” There are 36 lakes called “West Lake” in ancient China, but the most beautiful one is the West Lake in Hangzhou.
West Lake was officially rated as a national 5A-class tourist attraction (the highest level) in 2007, and was included in the World Heritage List on June 24, 2011.
2. Free bicycles for public use
Hangzhou has the world’s most comprehensive free public bicycle system. It’s free for the first hour, and charges a small fee afterward.
As the first city in China implementing a public bike system, it’s estimated Hangzhou’s bicycle numbers will reach 175,000 by 2020, and will probably own the world’s largest public bicycle system at that time.
3. The only city in China following ‘pedestrian first’ laws
“All vehicles should give way to pedestrians” is written with three big Chinese characters in Hangzhou crosswalks to remind motor-vehicle drivers to slow down. On some heavy traffic-flow roads, electronic display boards have been erected to remind drivers to yield to pedestrians. In addition, how to proceed through a crosswalk has been added to the driving test in Hangzhou. Currently, 93.91 percent of vehicles on the main roads in Hangzhou have been able to let pedestrians go first in front of crosswalks, according to a Nanjing Daily report on Sept. 15.
The Hangzhou public bicycle system started in May 2009, and launched the implementation of public bike-sharing systems in China.
4. China’s most suitable city for living after retirement
Hangzhou was selected as “China’s most suitable city for retired people” by Fortune magazine (Chinese version) in 2014.
5. Living history–the starting point of the Henan section of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal World Heritage Site
Among the 27 river-segments of the China Grand Canal National World Heritage Site, Zhejiang Province covers 19 heritage sites, and 11 of these sites are located in the Hangzhou area. The Hangzhou section of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is 24 miles long. The total length of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is 1115 miles, while the length of heritage listed areas is 684 miles.
The Hangzhou section has 11 heritage sites, including 6 heritage sites (Fuyi Barn, Fengshan Water Gate, Bridge West Historical Street, Xixing Cargo Transshipping Dock, Gongchen Bridge, and Guangji Bridge) and 5 sections of the Canal (Hangzhoutang Canal section, Yuhangtangxi-Baizi Bridge Canal section, Shangtang River section, Hangzhou Zhonghe River-Longshan River Canal section and Eastern Zhejiang Canal section.)
6. A forest coverage rate of over 65% in Hangzhou tops the list of China’s sub-provincial cities.
By contrast, the forest coverage rates for Guangzhou, Chongqing, and Nanjing are 44.4%, 35%, and 24%, respectively. This paradise city is beautifully covered in green.
7. China’s first and only city that is crisscrossed with a high speed railway network
High-speed railways with top speeds of 220 mph run in all four directions in Hangzhou, including the Shanghai-Hangzhou High-Speed Railway in the northeast, the Hangzhou-Ningbo High-Speed Railway in the southeast, the Hangzhou-Changsha High-Speed Railway in the southwest, and the Hangzhou-Nanjing High-Speed Railway in the northwest. This convenient transportation network in Hangzhou leads in all directions; it has the largest railway station in Asia—the Hangzhou East Railway Station.
8. Hangzhou’s comprehensive metropolitan economic reform has ranked it the No.1 business environment in China
9. Xixi National Wetland Park—the largest wetland in China
Xixi National Wetland Park, a national 5A-class tourist attraction located in the western part Hangzhou 3 miles from Hangzhou West Lake, lying on the extension section of Hangzhou Tianmushan Road, is a rare urban secondary wetland. The park, West Lake, and Xiling are known as Three West. About 70 percent of the park area has scattered river ports, ponds, rippling lake , and swamps. Xixi National Wetland Park is densely crisscrossed with six main watercourses, and is dotted with waterways, river branches, and ponds featuring unique scenery. Three West has becomes Hangzhou’s unique tourism symbol.
10. This is a city that has the smallest gap between people—the people are very warm and friendly
The following is the interview between a Zhejiang online reporter and Chu Shuqing, the 53-year-old librarian of Hangzhou Library:
“In the past, libraries, theaters, and concert halls did not allowed those looking disheveled, wearing slippers or vests to enter.” A lot of libraries still have this kind of rule.
But Hangzhou Library got rid of this regulation in 2003. “As a public library, Hangzhou Library, in fact, like other public facilities, should be open to all people. Readers only need to comply with the Hangzhou citizen’s guidelines. Why do we need to establish redundant rules?” This is a microcosm of urban harmony.
11. Cutting-edge bus rapid transit system leads other cities, and it’s the second city to have a bus rapid transit system in China
12. Alibaba, the world’s second-largest market capitalization company, is here, and it’s an entrepreneur’s paradise
13. Selected as one of China’s 23 Healthy Cities as assessed by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Healthy City Evaluation System conducted comprehensive development evaluations on China’s 287 prefecture-level cities, except for Lhasa and Sansha, in 2013. The Healthy City Evaluation System consists of five first level indicators, including healthy economy, healthy culture, healthy society, healthy environment, and healthy management.
Among them, the scores of five indicators of the 23 cities, including Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhongshan, Foshan, Shanghai, Suzhou, and Nanchang, were higher than the median of all the cities, implying having relatively healthier development state.
This is a city for you to live, or you’d expected. A celebrity noted: “Every street, every shop, and even everyone in Hangzhou looks very comfortable. Here there are a lot of tree-lined and shaded streets. People are slow-paced in Hangzhou, a paradise-like city. What’s to hurry for? This is a big garden for you to live enjoyably.”
Translation by Joseph Wu, Chinese edited by Aizhu Lu from Tencent