We flew to Hangzhou relatively smoothly. We stayed in a hotel called Huachen international hotel. The location was brilliant as it was walking distance to most places and there was also a shuttle service straight from the airport that stopped 5 minutes away from the hotel. Once again, ensure you have the name of each place written in Mandarin/Chinese on your phone so that you can ask people. Sometimes the names can be very differently translated. We checked in and headed out. The weather was beautiful and very warm when we arrived. We strolled down to the Westlake to discover that it was PACKED!! We arrived on a Monday which is the equivalent to a Western Sunday (note: some public tourist spots are closed on Monday as a result, check on tripadvisor!). This meant the area was more busy than normal. The queues down to the tube stations were huge. Initially we thought they were waiting for a concert to start and asked who was playing LOL.
The Westlake has many beautiful spots to see. We didn’t manage to get around the whole lake completely – the heat was just too intense and pathways way too crowded. They have plenty of scenic areas and I found myself a Starbucks, sat down and watched people. As I apparently look ‘exotic’ to them, I was asked for numerous photos. Initially, I obliged a few times but it was just a bit tiring and objectifying in the end in all honesty so I just said no point blank.
Some people recommended climbing the nearby hills in dawn to watch the sunrise, which I wish I had the energy to do but by this point in the trip, I was getting slightly exhausted from all the planes and I just wanted to relax. I walked to the hanging trees and continued down to the square, where people were flying their kites. A bit further on from here, there was a market street with all sorts of food and souvenirs. It was buzzing and extremely busy and I didn’t end up buying lots here as it was very touristy. I was told there was a night market around my hotel where the locals do their shopping which I visited a bit later on.
For the evening, we decided to try out the roof top restaurant of the hotel. It had beautiful views and the food was decent too. It was a buffet and my mum loved it, I thought it was OK as I could only eat the seafood (meat was not halal). We went to the ‘fountain show’ by Westlake, it was COMPLETELY USELESS lol. Everyone sat there waiting in anticipation, taking their seats early it but it was just too far away and too small to be seen properly.
The next day, we continued to walk around Westlake, exploring the shopping opportunities. They had lots of high end shops but they were completely empty on stock. I took mum around, showing her the market I had seen earlier on but once again, it was too busy to be enjoyable. We decided that we were tired of having eaten the same food the past two weeks and decided to go to Pizza Hut. Sometimes you just need a break from all those food experiences. The management in Pizza Hut in Beijing said some of their food was halal, however I am uncertain if this applied to then one in Hangzhou too.
We walked around for a bit before going to the local night market around the back of Huachen hotel. FAAAM! THIS MARKET WAS THE ISH! We both got lost in it. I bought some extremely nice jewellery and a new pair of sunglasses as my old ones were broken. Afterwards, we went to a massage place located on the way to our hotel. The establishment looked nice from outside and was open pretty late however, the whole experience was a bit surreal. It took a while for them to understand that we only wanted female staff. The place was extremely loud and when we asked them for relaxing music they put the TV on loudest volume where a random person was reading out the news LOL. The massage itself was relatively useless too unfortunately but at least our feet felt better afterwards. Next morning we set off for the last destination, Shanghai!
Over and out!