Header image courtesy of Wu Qingshan / LYCS Architecture
When travelling around Hangzhou, one should never miss the famous West Lake (西湖) with its gorgeous temples, pagodas, and gardens. However, there are many photogenic spots other than the usual touristy destinations, some of which you probably have never heard of. Hangzhou is ancient yet modern, urban yet natural, and since it is a mix of everything, you will find distinct characteristics to suit your taste at these unique photogenic spots.
Situated near West Lake, Guiyu Restaurant (桂語山坊) is a simple but sleek restaurant that emanates complete quietude. Its interiors are minimalist, with woods and warm lighting to create a cosy and relaxing atmosphere. Tall bamboo plants are situated in the centre area of the room to create a Zen environment while visitors enjoy an exquisite meal.
All dishes are freshly produced and delicately presented, served with four kinds of teas on the side. Not only can you take pictures with the restaurant’s aesthetic backgrounds and beautiful cooking, but you can also revel in an exceptional dining experience with your friends and family. Moreover, Guiyu received its name due to the abundant osmanthus surrounding it. Especially during the autumn season, the road the restaurant is on is filled with floral fragrance and the falling flowers definitely add to the breathtaking scenery. A lot of locals visit the path as well as Guiyu for nice photos and delicious food.
Guiyu Restaurant, 2-1 Manjuelong Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou, China | (+86) 571 8797 7138
Designed by Renzo Piano, the famous architect of the New York Times Building and the Aquarium of Genoa, OōEli (天目里) is known to be his first project in China. Smoothly blending the modernity of the buildings with its surrounding nature, visitors will find many artistic elements here that create Instagram-worthy moments.
OōEli offers many things to see and do in its innovative complex, but the must-visit store is Tsutaya (蔦屋書店), which mainly sells books but also offers CDs, bicycles, coffee, plants, and more. Since this retail shop originated in Japan, it is infused with Japanese culture and characteristics. Kimono (きもの) and yukata (浴衣; casual summer kimonos), as well as many sewed goods and pottery, are displayed in its art exhibitions.
After Tsutaya, you can go for afternoon tea at Seesaw Coffee and Cycle & Cycle. If you are looking for a restaurant for lunch or dinner, try out Chimido (柴米多) for some Italian pizzas or No. 18 Brew Pub (十八號酒館) for cheese bread and beer. All of these places are photogenic and serve amazing food, guaranteeing you a fruitful trip to OōEli.
OōEli, 398 Tianmushan Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou, China
On this road lives an old town full of aesthetic restaurants and retail stores. Most of them are well-decorated, but the best-known store is Mu Chuan Vintage (沐川中古店), a favourite amongst locals for classic designer brands, including Dior, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton. Goods are sold at friendly prices and the interior is embellished with quirky artworks.
If you want to dine, visit Barfly (蒼蠅酒肉館) for its Japanese cuisine. Furnished with bizarre paintings, peculiar sculptures, and vintage CDs, the moody restaurant is a great spot for get-togethers. You can order skewers, toasted mochi, and alcohol to fuel your conversations.
Another fun location is B.F.F WeeKend, where you can DIY your toasts with different toppings and yoghurt spread. Go to Zhongshan North Road with your family and friends for some quality time, and spend a whole day shopping, eating, and taking cute pictures!
Zhongshan North Road, Hangzhou, China
Located in Xixi Wetland (西溪國家濕地公園), 2100 Club is the first blockchain bar in the world. When visiting, you will soon notice the intersection between contemporary and antique designs. The gridded and curvilinear ceiling plus the use of black stainless steel for its walls exhibit an urban atmosphere, but the warm lighting and Chinese roof structure reserved hints of ancient elements for the architecture.
Embraced by lush greenery, the club also offers diverse food options, from coffee to cakes to cocktails. 2100 Club offers private rooms for karaoke and meetings, too. You will get a different experience depending on what time of the day you arrive at the club. In the morning, the place is quieter with a heavier emphasis on the surrounding nature, while in the evening, it is a loud social spot with people gathering to mingle with friends.
Either way, 2100 Club definitely provides an eclectic environment for its customers, as well as a perfect area for good pictures! While the restaurant is quite empty during the daytime, it is best to call and reserve a table in advance for nighttime visits.
2100 Club, C2-23, Jiangcun Market, Xixi Wetlands, Hangzhou, China | (+86) 571 8655 2100
If you want to step away from the busy city, Longwu Tea Village (龍塢茶村) is a great place to spend time in. Located in West Lake District, this tranquil area plays a major role in tea production and boasts the largest Longjing tea (龙井茶; Dragon Well tea) garden. While taking pictures of your moments here, it is nice to learn about its cultural heritage as well.
Visitors can not only go sightseeing around the clear lakes, bamboo forests, and Guangming Temple (光明寺水庫), but also participate in tea picking, frying, and tasting activities. Since the local lifestyle significantly adds to the village’s essence, feel free to have a chat with the friendly residents to understand their simple and healthy daily routines.
The ecological environment of the Longwu Tea Village provides a relaxing space, and the sceneries are even more stunning during sunsets when the tea gardens are shimmering in gold. There is also a quiet town for tourists to stroll around, and you can stay at the Nine Boutique Hostel (玖别) or other resorts if you will be around for two or three days.
Longwu Tea Village, Xihu District, Hangzhou, China
Touristing and travelling around can get exhausting no matter how fun your vacation is, so if there’s a day when you do not feel like sightseeing, go to Hangzhou Kerry Center (嘉里中心) for some shopping and light grazing. Roam around its nearby market first for the pop-up stores, which sell street foods and diverse goods. After that, wander into the shopping centre and explore an area that covers more than eighty restaurants and over a hundred retail stores, as well as art galleries for cultural enrichment.
Hangzhou Kerry Center, 353 Yan’an Road, Xiacheng District, Hangzhou, China