Things to do in Hangzhou

Join the curious throng at Qingping Medicine Market

Depending on which side of the fence you reside, Qingping Medicine Market is a fascinating insight into traditional Chinese culture or a prime example of how they lag behind the West. Stalls sell everything from shark fin, tiger paw and scorpions, to live kittens, puppies and monkeys. It’s an experience, to say the least.

Get those knots ironed out

Dragonfly Therapeutic Retreat oozes peace and tranquillity, has English-speaking staff and doesn’t break the bank. The Nanshan Retreat ( is on the south eastern shore, while the newer Xixi Retreat (tel: +86 21 6266 2108) is by the northern shore. Treatments include aroma oil massages and hot stone massages, plus the infamous hangover relief massage.

Join the circus for an evening

If spinning ring walkers, leaping motorcyclists, laser shows, aerial ballets and kung-fu bears sounds like your thing, then treat yourself to an evening at the Chimelong Circus ( A truly 2016 type of circus, Barnum Baileys it ain’t.

Find Europe in the middle of Guangzhou

Much of Guangzhou’s charm lies in its intensity, but if you long for a time-out take a trip to Shamian Island. Something between the United Kingdom and Paris in the 19th century, it’s quiet cobbled streets and colonial architecture whisper reminders from a different era. It’s accessible by bridge next to Huangsha station.

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