Did you know that this city, known to be one of the richest and biggest cities on earth, was also documented by Marco Polo when he spent time in the Yuan Empire? There are accounts of the city in different ancient documents as I discovered. During Song dynasty, it was noted that the city had a population of around 2 million and consisted of a large rich population.
Even I thought that the city would be large and overwhelming but that it is not. Even if there are about 21 million residents here, the city has several green spaces and historic sites that are well preserved.
Visit the Feilai Peak
I started by visiting this place first. This is the site of one of the famous monasteries of the country, Lingyin temple, also known as the soul’s retreat. Its history traces back to the 4th century. What I found fascinating is the ancient architecture with pagodas and grottoes. You will also enjoy spending time exploring the woodland place with springs and gardens around. Usually, it would be the first leg of the tour you embark upon when you are here.
Impressions by the West Lake
This is another place of breathtaking beauty that was inspiring as well. The garden has inspired several poets, painters, and designers. With artificial islands, gardens, temples, and pagodas around, take a boat tour to enjoy the scenery here. There is an auditorium here where you can watch the Impression West Lake Show. I stayed back to see the evening show of lights and music along with dance performances that showcase legends and cultures of Hangzhou.
Explore Song Dynasty Imperial Street
This is another place to stop by when you are here. I spent an evening exploring local delicacies here as well as shopped by the different boutique stores. The cobblestone streets here date back nearly a thousand years which also takes you back in time.