Hangzhou Walks


All directions are from the Ling Feng Shan Zhuang hotel. Times are for walking rapidly with no stops.

1. Botanical Gardens
Turn left from the hotel (onto Yugu road). After a few minutes you will come to a prominent bus stop. Just before the bus stop, there’s an entrance on the left to the Bamboo Gardens.  Just after the bus stop, you can cross the road to an entrance to the main gardens (costs 10 yuan between 6:30am and 5pm). It is also possible to get to the main gardens by following the first narrow street on the right of Yugu road (about half way from the hotel to the bus stop), or from the University by continuing south past CMS (Center for the Mathematical Sciences) through a gate, through an alley way, and right onto a narrow street to the Gardens.

2. The ridge behind the University
From the main entrance to the University, head towards the hill passing to the right of the Mao statue and the library. Go through a gate and up a good path to the ridge.
There are also two paths to the ridge from the Botanical Gardens. One goes from “Admiring Plum Blossoms at Ling Feng”, and the other, which is further left (south), passes through a green arch from the gardens --- to get to it walk roughly in the direction of Northern Peak (the one with the communication tower on top).
Once on the ridge, you can go left and come down one of the paths to the Botanical Gardens; or you can go all the way to Northern Peak, and then down a path to the Lingyin Temple (or return the same way); or you can go right to reach peaks overlooking the city. If you go all the way right, you eventually come down to a road. Turn right onto it and follow it back to the campus. (Round trip to Northern Peak is about 2 hours; up from the University and down the first path to the Botanical Gardens is about 1 hour.)

3. Ridge on the north side of  West Lake.
Follow Yugu road left from the hotel (better, go through the Bamboo Garden), crossing Shuguang road, until you get to the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). Turn left at the KFC onto a narrow road (Xixialing?) and follow it until there is a good path climbing steeply up a wooded hill on your right. Follow the path and then along the ridge to the high point (beautiful views of the lake; best in the early morning). Return the same way, or continue north until you come out onto Shuguang road, follow it left, and then turn right onto a road to reach Yugu road and back to the hotel.

Before reaching the KFC you can also climb a small dirt trail on the left which takes you to good views and past grottos and eventually returns to Shuguang road.

4. West Lake
To get to West Lake, follow Yugu road left from the hotel (better, go through the Bamboo Garden). At the big intersection with Shuguang road, cross to the diagonally opposite corner, continue along the road a little way, and then through the garden to the lake (the entrance is opposite the KFC).  Cross the long Su  causeway, and return the same way, or come back right around the lake (unfortunately there is a large closed area on the lake --- Hangzhou guest house --- which forces you to follow the road for most of the way). Alternatively, come back left around the lake. (Crossing the causeway and returning right takes about 2 hours.)

5. Lingyin Temple (Temple of the Soul’s Retreat)
Dates from 326AD, but has been destroyed and rebuilt 16 times. Get there by following Yugu road left from the hotel and then right onto Lingyin road, which is followed to the temple. Alternatively, it is possible to get there through the Botanical gardens, or via Northern Peak. Entry to the grounds is 30 yuan and to the temple itself is another 30 yuan. It is not possible to enter the temple itself (only the grounds) after about 4pm. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the Temple along Lingyin road and about 80 minutes via Northern Peak.

J.S. Milne, March 2005.