Must see attractions in Zhejiang

  • Top ChoiceSights in Hangzhou

    West Lake

    The very definition of classical beauty in China, West Lake is utterly mesmerising: pagoda-topped hills rise over willow-lined waters as boats drift slowly through a idyll of leisurely charm. Walkways, perfectly positioned benches, parks and gardens around the banks of the lake offer a thousand and one vantage points for visitors to admire the faultless scenery.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Hangzhou

    Lingyin Temple

    Hangzhou’s most famous Buddhist temple, Lingyin Temple was originally built in AD 326, but has been destroyed and rebuilt no fewer than 16 times. During the Five Dynasties period (907–960) about 3000 monks lived here. The Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings is astonishing, with its four vast guardians and an ornate cabinet housing Milefo (the future Buddha). The Great Hall contains a magnificent 20m-high statue of Siddhartha Gautama (Sakyamuni), sculpted from 24 blocks of camphor wood in 1956 and based on a Tang dynasty original.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Hangzhou

    Longjing Tea Village

    The lush, green scenery around this tea village up in the hills southwest of West Lake makes for a wonderful break from the bustle of Hangzhou. Visitors can wander through the village and up into the tea plantations themselves. During the spring, which is the best time to visit, straw-hatted workers can be seen picking the tea leaves by hand in the fields, and baskets of the fresh leaves are left out to dry in the sun back in the village.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Nanxun

    Bǎijiānlóu

    Oddly overlooked by most visitors, this 400m stretch of 100 (or so) wooden row houses, flanking a narrow canal, is Nanxun's most charming spot. The buildings here have distinctive blue-black tiles and white walls, creating striking views. Most houses are still lived in by descendants of workers from Nanxun's Ming dynasty (1368–1644) merchant days when goods would arrive from Suzhou along these waters. Today residents run small tea shops on their waterfront patios (try the local water-chestnut cakes).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Hangzhou

    Jingci Temple

    The serene yet monastically active Chan (Zen) Jingci Temple was built in AD 954 and has been fully restored. The splendid first hall contains the massive, foreboding Heavenly Kings and an elaborate red and gold case encapsulating Milefo (the future Buddha) and Weituo (protector of the Buddhist temples and teachings). The main hall – known as the Great Treasure Hall – contains a vast seated effigy of Sakyamuni (Buddha).

  • Sights in Jinhua

    Jinhua Architecture Park

    Jinhua Architecture Park is made up of 16 pavilions, designed by international and domestic architects, strung over 2km along the Yìwū River. It was conceived and curated by the artist Ai Wei Wei, to honour his father, poet and native son Ai Qing. Though the buildings – intended to be coffee shops, libraries, wi-fi–enabled work spaces and the like – are shuttered, it is still a fascinating sight, a modern meditation on memorial architecture.

  • Sights in Hangzhou

    Six Harmonies Pagoda

    The 60m-high octagonal Six Harmonies Pagoda, dating from AD 1165 in its current form but first built in AD 960, is a stout pagoda that once served as a lighthouse, and was said to possess magical powers to halt the 6.5m-high tidal bore that thunders up Qiantang River. You can climb the tight stairs of the pagoda. Behind it stretches a charming walk through terraces dotted with sculptures, bells (¥10 buys you six chimes and a lucky bracelet), shrines and inscriptions.

  • Sights in Wuzhen

    Mu Xin Art Museum

    Opened in 2015, the imposing white slabs of this gallery couldn't be more in contrast to the black timber houses of the surrounding Xizha scenic area of Wuzhen, showing off modern mastery over the water while being a homage to the multilayered life on an artist. Inside are the collected art pieces by Mu Xin (木心; 1927–2011), a Wuzhen writer and painter who had many of his works destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and was exiled to New York in 1982.

  • Sights in Putuoshan

    Puji Temple

    Fronted by large ponds and overlooked by towering camphor trees and luohan pines, this restored Chan (Zen) temple stands by the main square and dates from at least the 17th century. Beyond chubby Milefo sitting in a red, gold and green burnished cabinet in the Hall of Heavenly Kings, throngs of worshippers stand with flaming incense in front of the colossal main hall. Note the seated 1000-arm effigy of Guanyin in the Pumen Hall (普门殿, Pǔmén Diàn).

  • Sights in Hangzhou

    Qinghefang Old Street

    At the southern end of Zhongshan Zhonglu is this touristy, crowded and bustling pedestrian street, with makeshift puppet theatres, teahouses, and gift and curio stalls selling everything from stone teapots to boxes of lóngxūtáng (龙须糖, dragon whiskers sweets), ginseng and silk. It’s also home to several traditional medicine shops, including the Huqing Yutang Chinese Medicine Museum, which is an actual dispensary and clinic.

  • Sights in Zhejiang

    Zhuge

    Traditional Chinese village architecture and feng shui planning have created a village laid out according to the bāguà (八卦, eight trigrams) of the I Ching. Narrow cobblestone lanes trail off the centre of the village in a radial and concentric pattern so that you can never get a clear sight of what is at the end, creating a labyrinth to confuse intruders and delight modern-day visitors.

  • Sights in Putuoshan

    Fayu Temple

    Colossal camphor trees and a huge gingko tree tower over this yellow-roof-tiled Chan (Zen) temple, where a vast glittering statue of Guanyin sits resplendently in the main hall, flanked by 18 luóhàn effigies. Each luóhàn has a name – eg the Crossing the River luóhàn or the Long Eyebrows luóhàn – and worshippers pray to each in turn. In the hall behind stands a dextrous 1000-arm Guanyin.

  • Sights in Putuoshan

    South Sea Guanyin

    The first thing you see as you approach Putuoshan by boat is this 33m-high glittering statue of Guanyin, overlooking the waves at the southernmost tip of the island. It's the symbol of the island. To get closer to her and 33 other bronze Guanyin images, and for grand seaviews, you'll have to pay an entrance fee and climb hundreds of steps.

  • Sights in Moganshan

    Moganshan Hilltop Resort

    A blessed release from the suffocating summer torpor roasting north Zhejiang, this delightful hilltop resort (719m) was developed by 19th-century Europeans from Shanghai and Hangzhou during the concession era, in the style of Lúshān and Jīgōngshān in Hénán. Refreshingly cool in summer and sometimes smothered in spectral fog, Moganshan is famed for its scenic vistas, forested views, towering bamboo and stone villa architecture; there is visible wealthy privilege to this mountain-cool escape, lending it the nickname 'the Hamptons of China'.

  • Sights in Hangzhou

    Huqing Yutang Chinese Medicine Museum

    The Huqing Yutang Chinese Medicine Museum has a dispensary and clinic adjoined to the museum. Established by the Qing dynasty merchant Hu Xueyan in 1874, the medicine shop and factory retain the typical style of the period. The museum itself is housed in a lovely, musty old building with a bright courtyard full of medicinal plants.

  • Sights in Hangzhou

    Xiaoying Island

    Wooden cruise boats shuttle visitors from a number of points on the banks of West Lake to the Mid-Lake Pavilion and Xiaoying Island, which has a fine central pavilion and ‘nine-turn’ causeway. From the island you can look over at the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, a string of three small towers in the water, each of which has five holes that release shafts of candlelight on the night of the Mooncake Festival in autumn.

  • Sights in Ningbo

    Old Bund

    The centrepiece of the Old Bund is a cobblestoned street with strings of fairy lights luring you towards the clubs and live-music bars. If that's too much, walk to the end where the quiet riverside is framed by skyscrapers projected with animations, resembling a miniature of Shanghai's Bund.

  • Sights in Hangzhou

    China National Silk Museum

    This vast museum is devoted to all things silk, covering fashion, craftsmanship and the historic Silk Road in great depth. Extensive galleries showcase the evolution of the qípáo (Chinese dress) from the 1920s onwards, as well as some fabulously ornate European gowns from the 1600s to 1800s.

  • Sights in Hangzhou

    Baopu Taoist Temple

    In the forested hills above West Lake, reachable by a pleasant hike, is the striking tiled-roof, yellow-walled Baopu Taoist Temple. The temple’s first hall contains a statue of Guanyin in front of a yin and yang diagram; an effigy of Gehong ( 葛洪) – who once smelted cinnabar here – resides in the next hall, behind a fabulously carved altar decorated with figures.

  • Sights in Zhejiang

    Siping

    Without its homestay program, the few visitors to the miniscule village of Siping would miss out on its collection of brick and wood carvings. Siping lies 30km west of Jinhua and is out of the way enough to stay uncommercial, preserving Qing dynasty ancestral halls arranged in the shape of the Big Dipper for those willing to make the trek to this 700-year-plus town.