Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum
This fascinating museum is hidden down a small alley just off Hefang Lu. The museum is housed in a Qing-era building that used to be a TCM shop, but was converted in 1991. It now details the history of Chinese medicine and also offers consultations, treatment and even medicinal food.
South of the Lake
The Silk Museum
A little south of West Lake, Hangzhou’s Silk Museum traces the history of silk production and cultivation throughout the region. Its displays are labeled in English and Chinese and track the silk process from beginning to end. You’ll see silkworms happily munching away at mulberry leaves as well as examples of Chinese imperial dress (both original and reproductions) and some beautiful weaving. Upstairs there’s an interesting art gallery and a shop, which is a good place to buy lengths of silk as prices are fixed and the quality is guaranteed.
Dreamlike Tiger Spring
Halfway between the lake and the Qiantang River, this pretty park on Hupao Shan has a liberal sprinkling of shrines, waterfalls and teahouses, which serve longjing cha using the park’s famed spring water. Legend holds that a Tang dynasty monk wanted to build a temple here but had to move on due to lack of water. Later, he dreamed that a spring had been moved here from afar and sure enough on his return he witnessed two tigers digging the spring!
Two miles south of the lake, the six-story Six Harmonies Pagoda affords good views over the Qiantang River and can be visited as part of bike ride out to Longjing. The pagoda was originally built in the Song dynasty as an attempt to quell the river’s forceful tidal surges, seemingly to little avail as it is now a popular place to watch the famous tidal bore on the 18th day of the eighth lunar month.
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