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Hangzhou

Boats at West Lake, Hangzhou

Practical Info about Hangzhou

Getting around the city

Like many cities in China, a good way to get around in Hangzhou is by bicycle. A public bike system is available, giving travellers access to bikes located across the city for a small fee, plus a deposit. Buses are another good way to get around the city, as the networks are extensive, however all signage is written in Chinese. There are different kids of buses that range in cost from CNY1-4, however the tourist routes are prefixed with a 'Y'. A metro system was opened in November 2012. Line 1 is the first of 8 lines which are planned to operate in Hangzhou, Zhejiang and the surrounding suburbs. Line 1 is 48 kilometers in length, and with 30 stations it is the longest first section of metro ever opened in China. Taxis are also available, and trips within the city start from CNY11. The bright turquoise city taxis are easily spotted on the streets, and are more reliable than those offered by touts at tourist spots. Few drivers speak English, so travellers should have their destination written down, or be able to point it out on a map. Visitors in Hangzhou are not advised to drive, as the traffic is known to be chaotic and road signs confusing.

Time

GMT +8

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Plug types vary but the two-pin flat blade and oblique three-pin flat blade plugs are common. Adapters are generally required.

Currency

China currency is the Renminbi Yuan (CNY), which is divided into 10 chiao/jiao or 100 fen. Make sure you exchange your leftover Yuan before returning home because this currency can only be exchanged within China's borders. Foreign cash can be exchanged in cities at the Bank of China. Banks are closed weekends. The larger hotels and the special 'Friendship Stores' designed for foreigners will accept most Western currencies for purchases. Major credit cards are accepted in the main cities, but acceptance may be limited in more rural areas. ATMs are scarce outside the main cities.

Communication

The international dialling code for China is +86. Phone cards are widely available and calls can be made from post offices and hotels; phone booths on the streets are usually for local calls only. In hotels, local calls are generally free or will be charged only a nominal fee. Mobile phone networks are very advanced and Chinese networks have roaming agreements with most non-North American international operators. Internet cafes are available in most main towns.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 110 (Police); 120 (Ambulance - Beijing)

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan - 3 Jan
Spring Festival 31 Jan - 6 Feb 19 Feb - 25 Feb
May Day 1 May - 3 May 1 May - 3 May
Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day) 5 Apr - 7 Apr 4 Apr - 6 Apr
Dragon Boat Festival 31 May - 2 Jun 20 Jun - 22 Jun
Mid-Autumn Festival 6 Sep - 8 Sep 26 Sep - 28 Sep
Peoples Republic of China birthday 1 Oct - 3 Oct 1 Oct - 3 Oct

Climate

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Hangzhou has a humid, subtropical climate with generally warm and mild conditions all year round. The pleasant and temperate weather is an advantage for tourists and is probably one of the reasons the city is so popular with foreigners. As with most of China, the four seasons are distinct: summer is long, hot and humid; autumn is cool and clear; winter is dry and cold; and spring is warm, rainy and short. There are two rainy seasons in Hangzhou: the first is a brief period between late June and early July when Hangzhou experiences the Asian monsoon season; and the second is Hangzhou's typhoon season which brings heavy rains in August and September. Although the area is prone to typhoons during this time the storms very seldom hit Hangzhou directly so it is usually less dramatic than it sounds. The best time to visit Hangzhou is in autumn (September to November) when the average temperature is a mild 63°F (17°C). Summer in Hangzhou is also a fairly popular time to visit but the heat and humidity can get uncomfortable if you aren't used to it. Spring is stunningly beautiful because of all the blossoms but it is too rainy to be a peak tourist period.

Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport

Getting to the city

Shuttle buses are available to downtown Hangzhou and other local cities. The journey to the centre of Hangzhou takes around one hour.

Car rental

A number of car rental companies have a desk at the airport, as well as pick up/ drop off locations in Hangzhou.

Airport taxi's

Taxis are located outside the terminal building. The journey to the city centre should take between 30 minues and one hour, and cost no more than CNY100.

Transfer between terminals

Terminal A (international) and Terminal B (domestic) are close to each other, but allow time for quarantine, customs and security screening.

Facilities

Terminal A, the international terminal, was opened in 2010 and includes all the facilities you would expect at a world-class airport. There are coffee shops, bars and restaurants throughout both terminals, including McDonalds and KFCs as well as plenty of Chinese restaurants. There are information desks, currency exchange facilities, a hairdresser and smoking rooms. A business centre offers fax and copying facilities. Terminal A has a number of duty free stores, offering well-known brands at very low prices.

Parking

Parking is available at both terminals.

Internet

There is free broadband internet access in Terminal A.