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!
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!