EVER since the Hangzhou Metro system opened in 2012, traveling on the subway lines has become a welcome new option for incoming tourists.
There are three lines in operation, connecting the downtown area with suburban Yuhang and Xiaoshan districts. And with a total network of 10 planned lines available, plus two intercity rapid transits, which are expected to be finished before the 2022 Asian Games, the lines stretch to 446 kilometers in total.
Hangzhou Metro launched a new dispenser recently at Wulin Square Station on Line 1 and handed out free tourism gadgets, which will help visitors and locals alike to get around without any travel confusion. By scanning a QR code printed on the machine, via WeChat, visitors get a hand-drawn map highlighting tourist spots of Hangzhou.
The service is also embedded in the Amap, where users can switch from a regular mode to a tourist mode and listen to free audio guides.
Once navigated, information, such as the whereabouts of nearby public toilets, restaurants, parking, shopping malls and accommodation, will be shown on the system.
“We aim to offer data within a certain scenic zone, which has not yet been covered in a traditional navigation system,” said Zhu Yu, a staffer from the service provider.
English, Japanese and Korean language options are available via their app.
Starting from April, free maps, postcards, earphones and portable chargers will be available to passengers traveling from five major stations along Line 1, including Zhalongkou, Longxiang Bridge, Jinjiang, Wujiang and Hangzhou East Railway Station.
Line 1 begins at Xianghu Lake in the south of the city and travels north across the scenic areas of West Lake and the Grand Canal before it stops in Xiasha at the east end. It also links two transportation hubs of Hangzhou: Hangzhou East Railway Station and Jiubao Coach Center.
Shanghai Daily looks at some of these stations and suggests nearby tourist spots worth visiting this spring.
Xianghu Station: Xianghu Lake
Located 20 kilometers from the city center, Xianghu Lake is a place Neolithic people inhabited over 8,000 years ago.
The Kuahuqiao site was first discovered in the 1970s when large quantities of stoneware, pottery, jade artifacts and other cultural relics were excavated. Evidence of organic remains such as rice, dogs and pigs were also found.
The heritage site is now a museum open free to visitors. The most impressive exhibit would be the remains of a dugout canoe. It is arguably one of the oldest water vessels of its type that has been found or unearthed.
Apart from all of the archeological discoveries, the lake has long been lauded and eulogized for its natural beauty by many of China’s greatest poets.
The area is less frenquented in comparison to the West Lake. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of nature, the moon, sunset, flowers and mountains from several bridges and pavilions scattered around the lake.
Xixing Station: Xixing Ancient Town
The rise and decline of Xixing Ancient Town has been closely linked with the Grand Canal and its importance as an inland water transportation center.
The Eastern Zhejiang Canal, an extended part of the Grand Canal, begins here and runs through Shaoxing, Yuyao and the confluences into the Yongjiang River in Ningbo, which empties into the East China Sea.
It enables oversea cargos to be transported from Ningbo port to inland cities such as Hangzhou, Jiaxing and the Grand Canal to the north.
Up until the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the small town was still a busy transit hub where the logistics business thrived. However the advent of the railways meant shipping by canal became more or less redundant because it was not as efficient.
For that reason, the old bridges, the black-tile-and-white-wall-style residence houses have been kept alive throughout the turbulent 20th century. The 960-meter old street attracts tourists with its well-preserved architecture and a lifestyle that has remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
Ding’an Road Station: Southern Song Imperial Street
As you emerge from Exit D of Ding’an Station and walk east along Xihu Avenue for several hundred meters, you can reach Southern Song Imperial Street.
Once an imperial street for the emperor in the time of the heaven worship ceremony during the Southern Song Dynasty, the street was also a commercial center lined with over 10,000 shops.
It was renamed Zhongshan Road in memory of Sun Yat-sen after the defeat of Japanese invasion in 1945.
A restoration project on Zhongshan Road was launched in 2008 and it reopened to the public a year later, part of it was transformed into a pedestrian zone.
As part of the landscape design, water from the Zhonghe River has been introduced into the streetside ditches and 14 other pools along the street. Aquatic plants such as lotus, reed or water hyacinth are grown in the pools.
It features several historic buildings from the early 20th century, which have been silk shops, cosmetics shops and cigarette shops.
And at the end of the street there are a couple of restaurants, which are recommended for preserving the best in fresh local produce and taste.