While the rest of the country is moving from two wheels to four, cycling culture is thriving in Hangzhou. The city developed China's first bike-sharing system in 2008 in an effort to alleviate traffic congestion. It's since grown into the world's biggest, and one of the world's best, public bike systems. You can hardly go a kilometer without passing a bike-sharing station.
Hangzhou residents have access to over 84,000 bikes scattered across 3,300 service spots. The bikes have taken more than 600 million trips in the past seven years.
Hangzhou has glorious history and culture
Hangzhou is one of China's seven ancient capitals and has been designated a "Historic and Cultural City" by the government. Its history can be traced back over 2,200 years to the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC). It flourished after being linked with the north via the Grand Canal, which starts in Beijing and ends in Hangzhou.
From 907 to 978 AD, Hangzhou was the capital of the Wuyue Kingdom during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. Then in 1132, it became the capital of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279).
Hangzhou is famous for silk
You will see silk clothing and trinkets everywhere in Hangzhou for a reason. Silk fabric was developed in China and according to archeological findings, as far back as the period of the Liangzhu Culture (3400-2250 BC), the ancestors of the Hangzhou people were already engaged in a series of silk making activities from raising silkworms to making primitive tools for silk weaving.
The best seasons to visit are spring and fall
The best times to visit Hangzhou are in spring (March–May) and fall (September–November), when outdoor attractions such as lakes, tea plantations, and water towns can be comfortably visited.
You would better avoid weekends, however, and Chinese public holidays, such as Labor Day (May 1 to 7) and National Day (October 1 to 7). At such times, Hangzhou is always crowded with Chinese people.
Hangzhou is a “cashless city”
In Hangzhou, people go out without cash. This phenomenon is attributed to Alipay, a mobile payment app developed by Alibaba. Alipay is increasingly used in China generally.
In Hangzhou, all the buses, 98 percent of taxis, more than 95 percent of supermarkets and more than 80 percent of restaurants can use Alipay for payment. In addition, more than 50 urban service fees can be paid through Alipay, including utilities, hospital charges, etc. Mobile payments cover almost every aspect of life.