One of the most popular and picturesque Chinese cities, hotel rooms without windows and oxygen, as well as tourist excursions with an English-speaking guide.Hangzhou welcomes you, like all Chinese cities or medium-sized cities with an impressive big train station.
An express train station. Long marmor-lined corridors as far as the eye can reach. Cleaning personnel on minicars, at all time making sure that the floors is clean and shiny.
The last-minute booking of my hotel in the express train had been successful. So, after arrival, I’m on my way to my temporary home. According to the booking site, it’s close to the city centre in walking distance to the West Sea. The main attraction of the city.
I had booked a cheap room. Unfortunately I had forgotten – again – to consider the checkpoint „windows“. So my room was on the inside, without a window, able to be reached through the corridor on the first floor. I had experienced this already in the past once in Beijing. There, not only did I have no access to day light, that room had additionally been in the cellar of the hotel!
there is nothing great about a room without windows, dirty beds and ugly bathrooms
The question I had to answer: Is it ok for me to stay in a room, with little air-conditioning and a permanent smell of stale cigarette smoke? Well, the room had been paid in advance. But I decided, then and there, that there would be no third windowless hotel room ever! The second night I rebooked to a 5* hotel on th periphery of the city. I had enough podcast downloaded on my phone, so traveling time back and forth with the metro presented no problems.
The beauty of the West Sea.
The centre of Hangzhou’s is the West-Sea, a relativly big sea in the middle of the city. I was lucky enough to encounter my first view of it from a houseboat-adjacent vehicle on the sea. For 30 yuan you sail for 30 minutes from one end to the other. And back again. The pagodas and houses from times past, though brightly illuminated, creating a surreal impression, are silhouetted in the moonlight.
I am accordingly impressed.
It was a good idea to have done this in the evening, as the daily smog hovering over the city is invisible, giving the impression of a clear sky. The cool water let’s you breathe easily.
Notwithstanding, or maybe because of the G8 summit, which happened during my weekend in the city, people were buzzing like bees everywhere. This was also reflected in the prizes for accommodation. Acquaintances of mine told me, that the real estate prizes, which are always rising and falling in China, based on rather reckless indicators, had exceptionally risen in Hangzhou during this time. Speculators clearly had a good time that weekend.
On my way back to the hotel through the nightly Hangzhou I passed the closed tourist information center, making me excited to be able to see this beautyfull city with a guided tour. But I was surprised and saddened the next morning, when I realized that the tourist information didn’t offer any English-speaking tours! Too bad, to be able to explore this justly popular Chinese city with a tour would have been a good ending for my stay there.
But in the end I found my personal Red Bus tour! Happy ending! The regular public transport, the bus 58 drives around the sea and often stops close to the shore. The other sights were so easily reached, though for my personal taste, having seen them from afar from my nightly boat tour had been enough.