Utterly spotless and completely mesmerising, Hangzhou’s dreamy West Lake is totally unrivalled in its serenity, and has inspired artists, poets and emperors alike for centuries. Discover the watercolour of willow-lined banks, mist-covered hills and intricately-designed pagodas, as you explore the lake by bicycle, gondola-style boat or aboard the impressive dragon shaped tour boat - offering fascinating excursions. Absorb the flawless scenery from pretty walk-ways and perfectly placed benches in parks and gardens, or visit one of the lake’s enchanting islands; Gushan Island, the largest, houses the Zhejiang Provincial Museum and Zhongshan Park.
A hub of ancient Chinese and Buddhist culture, Hangzhou is bursting at the seams with sensational temples and pretty pagodas. The most famous Buddhist temple in the city –destroyed and rebuilt a staggering 16 times – Lingyin Temple, includes the remarkable Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings, housing four vast guardian statues and a cabinet containing Milefo, the future Buddha. Explore the serene Jingci Temple, still monastically active and boasting a number of striking Buddhist effigies, or climb the tight stairs of the 60m-high octagonal Six Harmonies Pagoda - passing sculptures, bells, shrines and inscriptions.
The humble cup of tea is a true symbol of Chinese heritage and a necessary part of any trip to Hangzhou. Take a scenic trip up into West Lake’s hills, escaping the bustle of the city, and discover the lush green and utterly tranquil Dragon Well Tea Village and its enchanting plantations. During spring, watch local workers – dressed in straw hats – as they pick the precious tea leaves, leaving them in baskets to dry beneath the sun. Afterwards, sit back and relax in a traditional teahouse - no visit would be complete without a taste of the delicious, distinctive tea.
You will be spoilt for choice when dining in Hangzhou, a city boasting countless foodie streets and unpretentious yet exquisite restaurants. Embrace China’s love-affair with food as you wander down Zhongshan South Road Food Street, lined with casual eateries and stalls selling a mouth watering selection of local street food – from fresh seafood to famous Beggar’s Chicken. Alongside this laid-back fare, Hangzhou offers world-class fine dining; Jin Sha restaurant at the Four Seasons Hangzhou at West Lake – voted among the “2015 Best 50 Restaurants in China” by Food & Wine Magazine – serves gourmet Shanghainese, Cantonese and classical local cuisine.
Enjoy wonderfully unique shopping in Hangzhou – home to numerous late-night shopping centres and adjoining restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Make a trip to Tiyuchang Road – Hangzhou China Silk Road – and walk the peaceful, leafy boulevard adorned in paper lanterns and a mirage of silk in every colour imaginable. The exquisite 100% pure silk is, quite simply, sublime and you won’t find any of this quality at these prices anywhere in the west. Meanwhile, the bustling Qinghefang Old Street is dotted with curio stalls - perfect for souvenirs - and leads on to Southern Song Imperial Street, packed with shops and cafes.
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Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.