Cheap Way to Visit Hangzhou

Hello, Jian Shuo

I read quite interesting information in your blog

I’m a grandmother presently staying at my children’s place in Shanghai for a few weeks

I would like to go to Hanzhou as everybody says it’s quite beautiful

Problem is I have a very little income; could you please advise me as to the cheapest way to go there and tell me whether I can see enough in one day, or to I have to stay in a hotel for one night ?

I thank you very much in advance for your advice and congratulate you for your kindness in helping other people

Hope to get an answer real soon

Since the question is about how to get to Hangzhou really cheap, I will focus on saving budget in this guide.

Travel to Hangzhou

The cheapest way to Hangzhou, I believe, is by train. (correct me if someone found better or cheaper way).

Take Metro #1 to the Shanghai South Railway Station (or transit to #1 from all other metro system), and buy tickets to Hangzhou.

It costs 25 RMB before (I don’t have the updated price yet, but should not change too much) for single trip on the “hard seat”, which is the cheapest ticket. Since it is only 2 hours trip, it won’t be a problem for elder people.

Train Station in Hangzhou

Typically, you should arrive in New Train Station. Here is information you may need when you buy your return tickets.

Ticket Office

Wulinmen Ticket Office: No. 199, Wulin Road

Huansha Road Ticket Office: No. 147, Huansha Road

Railway Station Inquiry Number:

0571-87829424 (New Train Station)

0571-86450514 (East Train Station)

Transportation in Hangzhou

Take bus from the Train Station to the West Lake. Hangzhou has many attractions, but West Lake is definitely the top on the list. Bus takes like 2 RMB (correct me if I am wrong here. I am not so sure today), and spend your time in the West Lake area. If you only have one day, spend as long as you can in the places near West Lake.

Visiting Time

Typically, one day trip is good enough for most visitors who are lack of time or budget. You can arrive in the morning around 10:00 AM and be back at night around 8:00 PM.


There are some nice hotel in Hangzhou and they are cheaper than in Shanghai (relatively). Home Inn (NASDAQ: HMIN) has branches there with 168 RMB room, and there are many which are cheaper than this.

To stay one night is a good idea, since the scene of the West Lake at night and in early morning is also great – even better than during the day time, in my personal opinion.

A bonus tip: don’t worry if it rains in Hangzhou. West Lake looks best (according to people’s opinion in the last thousand years) when it is raining.

Hope this helps, and have a happy trip to Hangzhou.

18 thoughts on “Cheap Way to Visit Hangzhou

  1. Hi Jianshuo, about the train fare, it has been adjusted quite a bit to RMB44 since the kinda of train you mentioned (RMB25) is GONE forever, now replaced by the new bullet train; and another problem is about how to get hold of a ticket especially one at weekend. I used to live both in the two cities, I mean returning to Hangzhou in the weekend, and I did not have to buy tickets in advance and I have always known a little secret that Carriage 5 & 6 is always empty(they don’t sell tickets on these two carriages), you could lie in the long seat if you like, but now, the whole situation is different: for so many times, I have to go plan B – travel by bus, coz since the new bullet train is only one deck, and with more people are ready to experience the high speed train, getting hold of a ticket becomes so difficult, at least according to my experience. So I would suggest plan B(almost anytime you want it) or go to the spot at least a week before to buy one.

    And about the returning tickets, ask the service girls in the train (they used to sell it in the train), because you should never expect to get one to return especially on Sunday if you try those ticket offices just a couple of hours in advance.

    One last problem I would like to share here is about getting a taxi at weekend in Hangzhou. It took me for a while to understand why there are many cases of refusal to take passengers in town, but in one recent trip there, I met a very helpful and kind taxi driver who explained that pretty well for me. He warned me that NEVER expect to catch a taxi around West Lake area especially in the late afternoon of weekends (some other times may not apply), because no such a driver would risk to lose money in that area, too many private cars are driving into and out of that area and no one can actually move fast, so I would say don’t waste your time trying to catch one, coz trying luck there doesn’t sound practical at all. Allow yourself enough time to walk of the area and you will get one soon.

    I will be more than happy to help if there are more tips that I haven’t thought of to offer.

  2. Caroline, thanks for the great inform. That helps me too to prepare for the next Hong Zhou trip.

    So everyone, it seems Caroline has the more updated information. Please follow her instruction.

  3. Those on a really tight budget – please be aware that practically everything bought from the kiosks along the lakeside is considerably more expensive than normal prices. For drinks, the price increase is in the region of 100% – a bottle of mineral water goes for 3RMB rather than the more usual 1.5RMB elsewhere. If on Hubin Rd, along the lakeside, buy your refreshments at the convenience store near the Hyatt – the prices there aren’t inflated.

  4. Caroline is right.The new bullet’s fare is 44 Yuan,from Shanghai southen station to Hangzhou station(not Easten station).And I think you could not reserve a hotel before May 1 in Hangzhou,there is none.Next Saturday we will have a trip to Hangzhou,we will have to spend the night in Fuyang.If you go,good luck!

  5. It’s glad that I can help:-)

    Talking about hotels, I know a more economic place called 西湖之春, RMB200 for a standard room, although a little higher that Home Inn or Jingjiang Inn, it is not that crowded, I tried to book a room in this hotel several times when I failed to get one in the above two I mentioned, and it worked for me. If you don’t ecpect too much from the service and so prime location, I would say this is not a bad choice. The most frequent destination of west lake for me is Yongjinmen, where West Lake Xintiandi is located(where Starbucks, Hagen-Daz and other coffee shops are located), and it takes about 10 mins(RMB10) taxi to get there in non-rush hour.

    About restaurants in Hangzhou, I have tried a quite nice one in my last weekend trip. It’s called 榆园 near Hupao Road(also West Lake area), cozy decoration with a mixture of culture(both French and Mexican to my understanding). I went there in a late Saturday afternoon, and we drove along the Botanic Garden and several other visiting places, it was really enjoyable to drive in that area with breath-taking view just aside, but again I have to warn about the traffic, it was moving slowly since so many people were driving into 满觉陇 to have afternoon tea and dinner, and it takes a little patience to get a parking lot and even a table in the restaurant.

    Finnally about the satisfaction we are expecting in trips, I’ve always believed that no trips can be perfect, and if you start complaining, you just can’t stop forever, so my advice is that stick to your plan A, but never say NO to plan B and you will find yourself more willing to visit Hangzhou again and again.

  6. I think Jianshuo has given the best advice on how to visit Hangzhou in a cheap way. He is really right about suggesting the use of the train and the buses in Hangzhou. I understand there are many expats in Shanghai who are very interested in visiting my beautiful city. But please don’t think Hangzhou is a terribly expensive city. With some good planning and homework done, you can actually spend less and see more from a short visit to the city.

    I am working and living in Hangzhou. Considering Shanghai expats’ such great interest in my city, I might start giving more useful info on Hangzhou on my blog. Salute to you, Jianshuo! For never before have I thought of expanding my personal blog into some city guide site for Hangzhou.

    Speaking of my blog, you guys are welcome to drop by at, as it already contains some writings and photos of the paradise city of Hangzhou.

  7. Bullet train to HangZhou? Any picture about that train? How long is the journey to HangZhou now using the bullet train?

  8. I took the bullet train once. It looks modern and slick. But the ride still took about one hour and 40 minutes. It’s not as fast as you I expected.

  9. Jianshuo,

    It’s people like you who make the world more beautiful and living in Shanghai more pleasant because you have always been son helpful and are so sincere.

    I’ve moved out of Shanghai, but when we used to live there, we used to like going to Hangzhou a few times each year. We’ve tried many different restaurants there. I can recommand one Sicuan food It’s called Chuanweiguan restaurant. Excellent food at very reasonable prices. I found a website on its business card, There are three branches in Hangzhou. If you like spicy food, you can give it a try.

    jianfeng, I trid to open your blog listed above, but it says it can’t be found. Did you list the correct url?


  10. I have more of a business question that perhaps someone can comment on. My partner & I currently source products from China & visit often. Someone mentioned to us that Hangzhou was a good place to go source products. He said there was an area where you can go select merchandies, buy small quantities (such as 10). Because they are all in stock, you can have them put on a container right away & shipped. Does anyone have any idea what this area is called?

  11. Does anyone know where to board the “bullet” train to HangZhou from Shanghai?

    I tried googling “bullet train china” for more information, but I couldn’t find it…. Does anyone know?

  12. Okay,

    My friend Ben and I are planning a trip to china for about 11 days. we are staying in beijing and are taking a train to shanghai but want to visit somewhere else as well. here are my questions

    1. Should we visit Suzhou or Hangzhou or BOTH?? which in your opinion is better?

    2. i thought about visiting “yellow mountain.” could we do this in a day trip from shanghai or should we stay in a town close by?

    3. Okay, if you had a choice between 1 or 2 of the destinations above, which would they be?


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