Written by Alexis Brunstedt, Luis, Kim, Honey and Taek
Editor’s Note: This article is especially for overseas tourists who plan to visit Hangzhou.
9:00am-10:30am – From Hangzhou Airport, find the buses to Hangzhou’s Wulin Square at Terminal 4. A one-way ticket is 20 CNY and must be purchased at the bus Ticket office. Cash payment is required (closest ATM is upstairs at the departure lobby). Note: Try to snag a seat close to the front of the bus for a better view of the road and easy departure and bag collection at Wulin Square bus terminal.
10:45am-12:00pm – You will likely be ready for some relaxation. From Wulin Square, take one of Hangzhou’s efficient green taxis to Moganshan’s famed Blind Massage Parlor (South of Wen yi on Moganshan). There you will be treated to an hour long massage by one of six blind masseur. Don’t be fooled though, at least one can see well enough to collect the 70 CNY fee after the massage.
12:00pm-12:15pm – After you’ve relaxed your body, it’s time to relax your mind. Cross the street (but be sure to look both ways) and visit Hangzhou’s one-of-a-kind convenient store—You Easy.
There, you will find the largest variety of cup-o-noodles and warm soft drinks in all the world. Beyond the steak flavored potato chips and hard boiled tea eggs, you can find Hangzhou local’s drink of choice: Baijiu. (Note: best deal is 2 for 1 at select You Easys’).
12:30pm-1:30pm – Take your Baijiu and head to the famous KFC on the corner of Jiaogong and Tianmunshan Rd. This is located across from the EAC (Euro-American Center), which you should steer clear if you are looking for a true cultural immersion. With that said, this will most likely be the nicest KFC you have ever visited. As you enjoy a sandwich or bucket of fried chicken, you may due so while sipping on Baiju. KFC has a BYOB policy.
1:30pm-4:00pm – After a satisfying meal, it’s time to see what China’s happiest city is all about. Catch bus B2 and head to the train station. Ride the Red Line down to Longxiangqiao. Walk south to Hefang Street, the oldest looking part of the city. Here, you can pick up a silk scarf for Aunt Patty and other chotskies that scream “Made in China, no really!” If the food/baijiu coma has started to creep in, you can take rest while sitting for 45 minutes at a local kiosk featuring a master paper cutter. She will meticulously carve your face out of a single red piece of paper (framed and matted for only 40 CNY).
4:00pm-6:30pm – As the sun begins to set, head over to the nearby Ladie’s Night Market to sharpen your bargaining skills and meander through endless rows of black market goods.
It’s also a good time, to login to your profile on couchsurfing.com and see if you found a couch for the night.
6:45pm-7:30pm – As you circle back up West Lake, you will notice the large “Broken Bridge.” This bridge is known for its beauty and history and it also serves as a land marker for the most enchanting McDonald’s restaurant in all of Hangzhou directly across the street.
8:00pm – For fun in the city, nothing can compare to a true KTV experience in the North part of the city. Catch a cab to the only “dive KTV” in Hangzhou. Don’t know Chinese songs? Not to worry, Laowai’s KTV in Gongshu(Address: 318 DeSheng Road 德胜路318号) features a library of English songs. Owned and operated by the (self-proclaimed) former Governor of Hangzhou, this hot spot attracts Expats from every corner of the globe. Tiger beer specials can be enjoyed every night, and the location on the canal can’t be beat.
5:00am-7:00am – After a memorable night at KTV, you will most likely end up back down by the lake, a perfect place to watch the sunrise.
7:00am – Take a stroll down any road and you suddenly feel you are in a musical, as businesses begin to open and various establishments line up their employees for morning “team-building” dance exercises. After you have found your Couchsurfing crash pad, take a long day nap for as long as you want, “the best plan when traveling is no plan.” (local Hangzhou proverb).
Once awake, take the day off at the Starbucks at West Lake. The free wifi, beautiful view, and outdoor café seating make it the ideal place to nurse a Hangzhou hangover and download music for your trip back home.