This comprehensive full-day tour of Hangzhou delivers you by private vehicle to notable highlights: Take a boat ride around the UNESCO-listed West Lake, view elegant landscapes at Red Carp Pond and Flower Harbor Park, visit the secluded Zen monastery of Lingyin Temple, sip tea at Meijiawu Tea Village and stroll Song Dynasty Imperial Street. You have the option to purchase lunch at a local restaurant or prepare an authentic meal at a tea farmer’s home (own expense).Note: As this tour is customizable, please list any special interests you have (architecture, history, culture) at time of booking to alert your guide, so that he or she can better prepare for your private tour.
Meet your private guide upon pickup at the Hangzhou railway station or your hotel lobby in Hangzhou city. Set out on a full day of sightseeing in the comfort of an air-conditioned private vehicle, and talk with your guide about any particular interests you have so the commentary and itinerary can be customized.Start with a 45-minute boat ride on tranquil West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site and perhaps Hangzhou’s most famous attraction. Relax amid enchanting scenery as your guide points out historic pagodas, Chinese-style arched bridges, tree-lined walkways, green islands and lush gardens. Finish your cruise at Huagang (Flower Harbor) Park Wharf. A clean stream flows from Huajia Hill to join West Lake, and many flowers grow where the fresh water flows in. Stroll through part of the 54-acre (22-hectare) park to see the many varieties, including a peony garden that blooms in April, and stop at Red Carp Pond — a popular spot for viewing fish. Next, you’re driven to Lingyin Temple (translated as ‘Temple of the Soul’s Retreat’), considered one of the 10 most famous Buddhist temples in China. Originally founded in AD 326, Lingyin Temple has been rebuilt no less than 16 times. Listen as your guide discusses its pagodas and pavilions and introduces you to some of the 470 stone carvings of Buddhist figures, which date back to the 10th to 14th centuries. From the Zen monastery near Feilai Peak (Feilai Feng), walk along a cobblestone pathway leading to Amanfayun Village, a restored Chinese village dating back hundreds of years and situated in a remote forest of camphor and bamboo. Immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere of the hamlet dotted with traditional dwellings and surrounded by tea fields. For lunch you have two options: purchase your meal at a local restaurant recommended by your guide, or head to a local tea farmer’s home to prepare a meal of local delicacies such as chicken, West Lake carp, lotus root, bamboo shoots and other tasty vegetables (own expense).After lunch, continue to Meijiawu Tea Village, situated in the rural foothills of the West Lake district. Learn about the production of Xihu Longjing tea, also known as Dragon Well tea, and sip the fragrant green tea as you relax in this scenic setting. Your final stop is Song Dynasty Imperial Street, renamed Zhongshanlu Beiduan. Walk with your guide along this road that stretches 1,310 feet (400 meters) and leads to the imperial palace of the Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960–1127). If you wish, stop at any of the snack bars that offer local delicacies and shops that sell antiques, embroidered items and silk. End your private tour with a drive back to your hotel or the Hangzhou railway station.