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Which is the best way to get arround Hangzhou?

It was 5:30pm last Sunday and I had just had a relaxing weekend, topped off by an excellent meal by the peaceful West Lake.

I went to get a taxi at 4:30, hoping to get to the lake early enough for a pre-dinner stroll.

By 5:30pm, I had done plenty of strolling and still had not gotten in a taxi.

That’s because getting a taxi in Hangzhou between 4:30pm and 6:30pm is often nearly impossible. Not only is it rush hour (and on Sunday, it’s when all the tourists start heading back home), but the taxis are changing shifts at this time.

I walked several blocks and eventually took a bus to the lake, but regretted not just getting to dinner by bike.

The bicycle is the best way to get around in Hangzhou. Many cities have built or are currently building subway systems, but bikes still reign. From a tourism point of view, subways are not ideal anyway, as there is nothing to see out the window. Biking lets you see a city at your own pace, by your own route. With cities where there are many sites to see, it is not practical to take taxis between them all, nor is it likely that they are all walking distance. This makes a bike the ideal medium.

There are other benefits of using a bike, too. It’s good exercise, and a great way to get yourself hungry and ready to try some new Chinese food at a restaurant during your ride. With traffic continuing to become an increasingly large problem in China’s cities, a bike lets you avoid the stop-and-go. Most parts of Hangzhou have wide bike lanes divided from the main road by a safe, tree-lined median.

By touring Hangzhou by bike, you also get to save a lot on taxi and bus money. Bike rental is cheap, and Hangzhou even has a free bike rental program in effect. The bikes they rent for free in Hangzhou are not little dinky things either, but large-sized bikes suitable for a good 20km ride in one day. That’s a good enough range to see most of what you plan on seeing, factoring in all the stops you would make. To top it off, Hangzhou’s free bike rental service lets tourists pick up a bike at one rental station and return the bike at any of the other stations, meaning you don’t need to ride it back to its original rental location.

Worried about breaking your bike? In Hangzhou, getting your bike fixed can be a memorable experience in itself. Bike repair stands and shops are easy to find, meaning if you get a flat tire you will not have far to walk before you can find a place to get it fixed. After paying a miniscule fee, the repairman will have your tube patched up and ready to go in record time. It really is an impressive feat to watch.

So remember, don’t make the same mistake I did last Sunday. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Hangzhou, ride a bike.

By Arthur J from England

Editor: Feng Hui

Key Words

Tea   West Lake   

Temple      Su Dongpo 


Fans   Embroidery


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