The major sites in Hangzhou are situated around West Lake. There are several parks and gardens, some boasting pagodas, tea houses or temples. Tea is also grown in the area and depending on the season, visitors may see the tea being harvested or processed.
The local tourism board has indicated 10 must-see attractions around the lake. Fittingly calling them the ‘Ten Scenes of West Lake', these sites were later joined by ‘Ten New Scenes'. Most of them deal with specific ways to look at a site, such as listening to ‘orioles in the willows of Guo's Villa'.
For more on Hangzhou attractions see Visit Hangzhou.
Lei Feng Pagoda
Lei Feng Pagoda was built in the 900s AD on the lake's southern shore. It's structurally sound due to a recent rebuild, and visitors can ascend to the observation deck for a fine view over Hangzhou. The local tourism board recommends seeing it in the ‘evening glow'.
Several worthwhile museums are found in Hangzhou, the best of which is the National Tea Museum, which explores the city's most famous product in great detail. The National Silk Museum features interactive exhibits and artifacts dating back as far as 2,000 years. Hangzhou also boasts museums devoted to ceramics and herbal medicine.
Dreaming of the Tiger Spring
Water from this spring is used in making local tea. There are a few historic buildings in the area, and visitors can follow trails through a bamboo forest. Next to the spring is a stone sculpture of a meditating monk, with a tiger slinking past in the background.
The botanical gardens are well landscaped and boast a mix of exotic and local plants. The gardens show a hint of classical influence and are best visited when the spring flowers bloom or when the autumn leaves change. The gardens also include a peacock farm.