Green Teas and Misty Mountains
Hangzhou has, for centuries, been praised as one of the most beautiful cities in China, and it still lives up to expectations. Lined with pagodas and gardens covered in a dreamy mist, Hangzhou’s West Lake is a perfect getaway for families. Boat rides are a great way for families to enjoy a water-side holiday, and younger children will also be enticed by the large aquarium and botanical gardens.
The area around Hangzhou is known for its green tea production, and several tea markets and museums are sure to appeal to everyone’s taste buds. The mountain resort of Moganshan, where old colonial mountaintop villas serve as guesthouses, is only a short bus ride from Hangzhou and offers a cool oasis away from the summer heat.
The Travelers: Australians Peter and Mandy Jensen, and their kids Ruby (9), Max (7) and Lucy (3).
Where to Stay: The Shangri-La Hotel is located right on the lake and features a terrace restaurant with lake views, an indoor swimming pool and bicycle rentals with options for kids, including baby seats (0571 8797 7951).
Mountain Retreat: One of the highlights of the family’s trip was walking through bamboo and tea fields in the mountains around Moganshan, originally a destination for well-to-do Shanghairen wanting to escape the summer heat. The Jensens rented out Yiyuan Villa with friends, which came complete with staff and Western breakfasts (0572 803 3011).
Life on the Lake: The family loved their boat ride on West Lake to the exact spot featured on the one yuan note – Three Pools Mirroring the Moon Island. The octagonal Six Harmonies Pagoda had fine views over the Qiantang River. Walk or cycle across the lake via the Su Causeway and explore the myriad of restaurants and teahouses on the southeastern shores.