Day trip - Hangzhou

Hangzhou (Quinsai, Kinsai) was Marco Polo's favorite city in China. In the late 13th century, he visited the city many times and wrote " It is without a doubt the finest and most splendid city in the world."

Once the imperial capital of the Southern Song dynasty, Hangzhou was a prosperous city situated at the end of the Grand Canal, with white buildings, paved streets, numerous canals, and a gorgeous lake with gardens, luxurious pavilions, stone bridges and pleasure boats where families and friends would relax at the end of the day. A trip to Hangzhou with kids is well worth a visit, so make time on your itinerary.

West Lake (Xi Hu) -
Go boating -
- Take a traditional-style wooden ferry on a hop-on hop-off cruise round the lake. (Kids can easily imagine Marco Polo's description of boats with tables, chairs, and everything set up for a party ...) West Lake Pleasure Boats depart from Gu Shan Island and Lakeside Promenade (Hubin Lu) pick it up at any of the stops around the lake.
- Rent electric boats with awning (holds six people) or pedal boats, and explore the lake at your own pace.
- For an authentic experience, hire a boat with a boat man, who will pole the boat around the lake for an hour.
Explore an island - Walk on Bai Di causeway over to Gu Shan Island (Solitary Island). Start at Beishan Lu, go over the Broken Bridge, down the causeway to the island. Climb up the stairs and visit the peaceful wooded paths in Zhongshan Park.
Lakeshore promenade - West Lake is wonderful for kids to stretch their legs walking on the paths around the lake - ducks in the water, lotus and orchids blooming in season, pavilions, tea houses, weeping willow and peach trees. If you have lots of time, walk all the way around the lake (takes about three hours).
Rent bikes - West Lake is a perfect for biking, and there are plenty of bike rentals available from the Hangzhou bike sharing kiosks (for kids 12 and up). Click here for details about rentals. Also, hotels close to the lake also provide bikes available for guests - ask at your hotel.
Viewing Fish at Flower Pond -On Yang Gong causeway, stop to see the pond, chock full of bright red carp, and in spring, blooming peonies and flowers.
Leifeng Pagoda - At the southern end of the lake, climb up Leifeng Pagoda, a modern reconstruction of the five story pagoda built in 975 AD.
Musical fountain show - Throughout the day and evening, Sangongyuan fountain show has laser lights and splashy water jets in time to the music.
Feilai Feng area -
Lingyin Temple (Temple of Soul's Retreat) has been one of the most important monasteries in China for over a thousand years. In the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, a Maitreya Buddha is flanked by four huge guardian deities. The Hall of the Great Sage has the largest statue of the Buddha in China, covered in gold!
Buddha grottoes - In Feilai Feng, "The Hill That Flew Here," are Buddha sculptures carved into the limestone rock. Some are ancient, from the 10th - 14th centuries, others are replicas of Buddhas from around China.

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