Traveling in Hangzhou

Hangzhou is conveniently only a 2.5-hour bus ride from Xiuning. While it is crowded with international travelers and Chinese tourists alike, Hangzhou is still a fun getaway destination for the Xiuning fellows.

Last week, Doug and I went to Hangzhou for a three-day vacation. We saw a variety of touristy attractions like the Hangzhou zoo, the vast tea fields, and of course, the renowned West Lake (or 西湖 Xihu).

The most exciting aspect of our trip in Hangzhou was our mode of transportation. The westernized city employs the most extensive public bicycle system in the world. With over 60,000 bikes and parking stations every 100 meters, Hangzhou has found an economically and environmentally friendly means of transportation that caters to locals and tourists alike. Hangzhou’s impressive and sizable system surpasses Paris’ 20,000 bikes, well-known to Europe lovers, though only available to Parisian credit card holders.

After a 300 rmb deposit, Doug and I received cards to rent bikes, and we cycled around the edge of the entire lake. After an entire day of biking, we were only charged 15 rmb, or roughly $2.00! Considering it was a hot day, we enjoyed riding for the breeze and the scenery by the lake.

This was by far the best travel experience I have had in China. And while I encountered near-collisions with cars and motorcyclists multiple times throughout the day, I am ready to return for more rides on the Hangzhou bikes!

Annie with one of Hangzhou's 60,000 public bikes.

Editor’s Note: We will be stopping briefly in Hangzhou this summer, on the way to Beijing after the program in Xiuning has concluded, so you’ll be able to experience the beauty of West Lake for yourself!

About Annie

A native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Annie Lin joins the Teaching Fellowship with experience as a tutor and as a music teacher. She was a reading tutor for the Yale Reading Corps at Wexler Grant Community School, and a member of the Yale Concert Band, Yale Precision Marching Band, and Ezra Stiles Wind Ensemble. Annie has also worked as an assistant marketing coordinator and event coordinator for the Performing Arts Center at California Polytechnic University and as a development assistant for the San Luis Obispo Symphony. Annie has taught piano lessons, directed music for plays, and played in pit orchestras for musical theater. After her two years in China, Annie hopes to pursue a career in arts administration or non-profits based on her passion for music.
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