Zhejiang Provincial Museum 浙江省博物馆
The Zhejiang Provincial Museum is made up of a few galleries: the Historical Relics Gallery, Gem Gallery, Zhejiang West Lake Gallery and Chang Shuhong Art Gallery where works by the renowned oil painter of Dunhuang Grottos are displayed.
Chang Shuhong 常书鸿 (1904-1994) was born in Hangzhou and an arts graduate from Zhejiang University. In 1928, he went to Lyon to further his art education at the Franco-Chinese Institute and later began experimenting with the western style of oil painting in Chinese culture. Chang devoted his life to his works, especially that of Dunhuang Grottos and endlessly sought new ways of artistic expressions.
Address: 25 Gushan Road. Bus: K7, 850. Opening hours: 9am-5pm, last entry at 4.30pm, closed on Mondays. Admission is free. Tel: +86 571 87980281.
Audio guides are available in Japanese, English and Chinese with a deposit of 100 yuan and rental fee at 20 yuan. You can get a guide at the information booth outside the museum's main entrance.
HI Center/West Lake Expo Museum
Hangzhou International Information Exchange Center or the HI Center is a museum and a press conference center for reporters nationwide and worldwide. It is built on the original site of the 1929 Industrial Exhibition Hall, and the museum holds exhibits of the 1929 West Lake Expo. This collection includes an exquisite Chinese painting silk brocade by Xu Rongcun, a silk merchant who was the first Chinese to take part in the 1851 Great Exhibition.
In 1929, the government of Zhejiang hosted the West Lake Expo, following the success of the South Ocean Industry Encouraging Fair in 1910 and inspiration from the 1851 London's Great Exhibition, the precursor for today's world expositions. The aim of the West Lake Expo was to allow merchants and traders to exhibit their goods and create a business hub of activities where new deals and creativity are sourced. Opened for a total of 137 days, from 6th June 1929 to 20th October 1929, the West Lake Expo attracted nearly 20 million visitors and this marked the launch of a golden industrial age in China.
Xu Rongcun 徐荣村 (1822-1873). In 1851, Queen Victoria and the British government extended international invitations to all merchants and traders to attend the world fair. On receiving notice of it, Xu realized the great business value and opportunities of the Great Exhibition when others paid no attention to it.
As such, Xu quickly ordered 12 packages of his finest silk which he named "Yungkee Huzhou Silk" to be sent to London, but for several months, the parcels were ignored due to its shabby packaging. When they were eventually discovered, officials compared the silk to the others and realized this was of premium quality even though it had been left in poor condition. This matter was brought to the attention of Queen Victoria who awarded the gold and silver medals to Xu. Since then, orders from all over the world poured in, demanding for Xu's premium "Yungkee Hongzhu Silk".
Address: 40 Beishan Road, between Shangri-la Hotel and Duanqiao "Broken Bridge.", near Baochu Pagoda. Bus: K7, K27, K81, Y2, Y3, Y9, Opening hours: 9am-4.30pm, closed on Mondays. Admission is free. Tel: +86 571 87997317 / +86 571 87981363.
China National Tea Museum 中国茶叶博物馆
The national tea museum not only specializes in tea research but also offer insights into various tea customs and ceremonies observed all over the world. Exhibits include galleries where different types of tea are on display with audio guides in English and Chinese. Visitors can also learn more about the technique of Gong-fu tea, which is the refined way of serving tea to guests during important ceremonies.
Address: 88 Longjing Road. Bus: 27, Y3. Opening hours: 8:30am -4:30pm, closed on Mondays. Admission is free. Tel: +86 571 87964221. Website: www.teamuseum.cn
** Currently, the main museum is under construction and will only be fully opened to visitors after April 2010.
China Grand Canal Museum 京杭大运河博物馆
The first canal ever built in China and the world, the museum tells of the origins of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal long before the time of the Suez Canal. Beginning at Beijing, the canal runs through various cities and covers a total distance of 1,176 km before ending in Hangzhou.
Historical records of the Grand Canal dates back to the Spring and Autumn Period (722-481 BC), and was greatly extended during the Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD) to facilitate the transport of food from the rich rice plains of southern China to northern China. Since then, the canal became the hub of commercial activities, playing a great role in the flourishing economies of various dynasties after the Sui.
Address: No. 1 Canal Culture Square. Bus: K70, K591. Opening hours: 9am-4:30pm, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission is free. Tel: +86 571 88162068. Website: www.canal-museum.cn.
Waterbuses on the Grand Canal: There are four piers: Water Bus Pier at West Lake Cultural Square (Wulin Gate), Xinyifang which is 80 meters north to Jiangzhang Bridge, Gongchen Bridge at Canal Cultural Square and Genshan gate beside Genshan Bridge.
Timing: 1st ferry departs at 6.30am, last ferry departs at 6pm, and waiting time is 30 minutes. Opening hours: 7am-8am at 3 yuan; 5 yuan for other timings. Each waterbus has a capacity of 20 to 48 passengers.