China, Zhejiang province, Hangzhou, Lingyin temple, statues of Buddha

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It's Hángzhōu, the handsome capital city, that lands Zhèjiāng (浙江) on many a traveller's itinerary. Home to picture-perfect landscapes of classical Chinese beauty (and just a short train ride from Shànghǎi), Hángzhōu is the obvious highlight. Yet the province offers so much more. There are water towns with spiderweb networks of canals and restored Ming and Qing dynasty merchants' homes (Wūzhèn and Nánxún), also in easy striking distance. Among the thousands of islands dotting a ragged and fragmented shoreline is the island of Pǔtuóshān, one of China's four most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. More intrepid travellers can head west, where ancient villages retain their traditional architecture and bucolic charms. Meanwhile travellers looking for the opposite of intrepid can hole up in one of the stylish resorts nestled among the hillside bamboo groves and tea fields of naturally cool Mògànshān.


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