BootsnAll Travel Network

Spring Break Trip Plan : Hangzhou

(I am going to Hangzhou this weekend to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Here is what I have done in planning our trip:

1. Where to go: Nanjing and Hangzhou were our two preferred options: a nearby city with enough attractions for a 3-day vacation. Both of us haven’t been to Nanjing, and I have been to Hangzhou once 8 years’ ago (I’ve been to Hangzhou in 2006 for Chinese Blogger Conference but I didn’t go anywhere, so it didn’t count.). I know Hangzhou will be extremely beautiful with plum and peach blossom in early April, but I don’ t know about Nanjing. So we decided to take a less risky option to avoid ruining our vacation. Later, I found out there is also cheer blossom and an exhibition of tulip in a park called “Prince Bay Park” (太子湾公园).

2. Where to Stay: I spent a weekend night reading hotel reviews on two major hotel booking sites in China: elong and ctrip. Ctrip has much more user reviews and even has a page of the ranking. For one moment, I was every exciting that I found a great hotel in Ctrip with a very high user rating. But then I cross-checked it on elong and there were only less than 10 (maybe 3) reviews on this hotel. What’s worst: they are all very negative. I was then very frustrated in whether or not to trust the reviews. It is easy to trust when all you hear are good news, but things become complicated even when you read one line of negative words. At the end, I picked a hotel under “holiday inn” brand rather than a highly recommended “best western” one. In my knowledge of hotel, “holiday inn” is a better brand than “best western”. This experience really made me wonder “how hotel reviews will be useful to users” ? I wish I can ask an emotional search engine to filter the reviews for me!

3. What to Do: “West Lake” (xihu, 西湖) is the natural landmark of Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province. So this is a must-go spot. And I am highly interested in Chinese green tea, and Hangzhou is the home to the best green tea – longjin tea (龙井茶) in China. I want to hike into the village to buy some fresh green tea of 2008, and watch people “stir fry” the tea leaf. And also check out a few museums.

4. How to organize the trip: We love map! so we start looking at the maps to plan our itinerary. The most interesting map I found is a 3D virtual map (see below screen). It is specially helpful to optimize the route by grouping the attactions by area with map like this.

(click to see  larger image)

Hangzhou visual map

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