Hangzhou Language and Culture Learning Resources

Hangzhou icon with text - 75 x 75This page features Mandarin vocabulary terms and cultural information relevant to places and attractions in Hangzhou that are featured on our tours. For additional information on learning Chinese, especially while traveling in China, visit our Chinese Language Resources Page. See photos of Hangzhou attractions and get information such as tours that feature Hangzhou, Hangzhou travel tips, and Hangzhou-related links on our Hangzhou Photo Gallery and Information Page.

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CIT tour participants: For a list of the specific attractions featured on your tour, please refer to the itinerary.

Quizlet icon - 75 x 75 Study these words on our Hangzhou-Related Words Quizlet page! Quizlet offers a variety of useful study features and is compatible with a wide range of apps on popular mobile platforms. See the Quizlet links in each section below for more specific lists.
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Click on the pinyin pronunciation key for each word below to hear its pronunciation.

杭州 (Hángzhōu): Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province’s capital and largest city, and a popular tourist destination, population 8,700,400 (2010)

浙江省 (Zhèjiāng Shěng): Zhejiang Province, a coastal province in southeastern China

上有天堂,下有苏杭 (shàng yǒu tiāntáng, xià yǒu Sū Háng): famous expression praising the beauty of the cities Suzhou and Hangzhou (literally, “up above there is heaven; down below there are Suzhou and Hangzhou”); the scenery of West Lake is one of the sources of inspiration for this saying

West Lake and Its Environs

Study the words in this section on Quizlet:
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西湖 (Xī Hú): West Lake, freshwater lake west of downtown Hangzhou surrounded on three sides by hills and on one side by the downtown area; featured in many poems and other works of art, it has a long history of cultural significance in China

Leifeng Pagoda on a hill overlooking West Lake in Hangzhou, China
Leifeng Pagoda and West Lake
(photo by Gustavo Madico)
  • 西湖十景 (Xī Hú Shí Jǐng)

    Ten Scenes of West Lake, an official list of ten poetically named sights and activities around the lake dating back to the Southern Song Dynasty (南宋, Nán Sòng, 1127-1279 CE) marked by stelae in the calligraphy of the Qing Dynasty Qianlong Emperor (乾隆帝, Qián Lóng Dì), who composed a poem for each scene; there is also an official New Ten Scenes of West Lake (西湖新景, Xī Hú Xīn Jǐng) list chosen in 1984

  • 雷峰塔 (Léifēng Tǎ)

    Leifeng Pagoda (literally, “Thunder Peak Pagoda”), a tower on Sunset Hill (夕照山, Xīzhào Shān) on the southeastern shore of West Lake originally built in 975 CE during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (五代十国, Wǔ Dài Shí Guó) period; Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset (雷峰夕照, Léifēng Xīzhào) is one of the Ten Scenes of West Lake

  • 白蛇传 (Bái Shé Zhuàn)

    Legend of the White Snake, a Chinese legend about Madame White Snake (白娘子, Bái Niángzi), a thousand-year-old white snake who takes on human form and falls in love with a man; because their love is forbidden, she is cast into a deep well at Leifeng Pagoda

  • 净慈寺 (Jìngcí Sì)

    Jingci Temple (literally, “Temple of Pure Compassion”), a temple on Nanping Hill (南屏山, Nánpíng Shān) near Leifeng Pagoda originally built in 954 CE; Evening Bell Ringing at Nanping Hill (南屏晚钟, Nánpíng Wǎnzhōng), the nightly ringing of the temple’s large bronze bell, is one of the Ten Scenes of West Lake

West Lake and downtown Hangzhou at night
West Lake and downtown Hangzhou
(photo by Lu Yu)
  • 三潭印月 (Sāntán Yìnyuè)

    Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, a group of three small towers in the water south of Lesser Yingzhou Island (小瀛洲, Xiǎo Yíngzhōu) that emit candlelight on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节, Zhōngqiū Jié); one of the Ten Scenes of West Lake, it is located in the south-central part of the lake

  • 花港观鱼 (Huāgǎng Guānyú)

    Red Carp Pond (literally, “Viewing Fish at the Flower Pond”); one of the Ten Scenes of West Lake, it is located on the southwestern shore

  • 柳浪闻莺 (Liǔlàng Wényīng)

    Liulang Wenying Park or Orioles Singing in the Willows (more literally, “Listening to Orioles in the Waving Willows”); one of the Ten Scenes of West Lake, it is located on the eastern shore

  • 断桥残雪 (Duànqiáo Cánxuě)

    Broken Bridge (literally, “Lingering Snow on Broken Bridge”); one of the Ten Scenes of West Lake, it is located on the northeastern shore

  • 保俶塔 (Bǎochù Tǎ)

    Baochu Pagoda, a slender pagoda on Baoshi Hill (宝石山, Bǎoshí Shān, “Precious Stone Hill”) on the northern shore of West Lake

Tourists relax in covered rowboats on Hangzhou's West Lake at sunset
Boats on West Lake at sunset
(photo by Ricky Qi)
  • 白堤 (Bái Dī)

    Bai Causeway, a long dyke and walkway in the northern part of West Lake named after the renowned Tang Dynasty (唐朝, Táng Cháo, 618-907 CE) poet and government official Bai Juyi (白居易, Bái Jūyì), who ordered the construction of the original causeway

  • 孤山 (Gū Shān)

    Solitary Hill, a large island in the northwestern part of West Lake; connected to the northern shore by Bai Causeway, it is the location of a number of attractions, including the internationally famous restaurant Lou Wai Lou (楼外楼, Lóuwàilóu)

  • 苏堤 (Sū Dī)

    Su Causeway, a long dyke and walkway in the southwestern part of West Lake named after the renowned Song Dynasty (宋朝, Sòng Cháo, 960-1279 CE) poet and government official Su Dongpo (苏东坡, Sū Dōngpō), or Su Shi (苏轼, Sū Shì), who ordered its construction; Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring (苏堤春晓, Sūdī Chūnxiǎo) is one of the Ten Scenes of West Lake

  • 杨公堤 (Yánggōng Dī)

    Yanggong Causeway, a long walkway in the western part of West Lake

  • 湖心亭 (Húxīn Tíng)

    Mid-Lake Pavilion, pavilion on an island in the middle of West Lake

  • 印象西湖 (Yìnxiàng Xī Hú)

    Impression West Lake, a popular show produced by director Zhang Yimou (张艺谋, Zhāng Yìmóu) that is performed on the lake

A densely packed cluster of red and white carp in West Lake's Red Carp Pond, also called Viewing Fish at the Flower Pond
Red Carp Pond
(photo by Brian)
  • 龙井问茶 (Lóngjǐng Wèn Chá)

    Dragon Well Tea Village (literally, “Inquiring About Tea at Dragon Well,” its name in the New Ten Scenes of West Lake), the site of the spring from which Dragon Well tea gets its name

Tea-Related Words

Study these words (and more tea-related words) on Quizlet:
Detailed Lists: Characters and English | Pinyin and English
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茶叶 (cháyè): tea leaves

泡茶 (pào chá): to steep or brew tea

喝茶 (hē chá): to drink tea

香 (xiāng): fragrant

浓 (nóng): strong in flavor

淡 (dàn): weak in flavor; bland

品茶 (pǐn chá): to drink tea “properly,” as a connoisseur

绿茶 (lǜchá): green tea, tea that is only minimally oxidized during processing; examples include Dragon Well (龙井, Lóngjǐng) and Maofeng (毛峰, Máofēng)

红茶 (hóngchá): black tea (literally “red tea,” for the color of the brewed tea itself), heavily oxidized tea; examples include Dianhong (滇红, Diānhóng) and Keemun (祁门, Qímén), as well as most teas traditionally drunk in the West

乌龙茶 (wūlóngchá): oolong tea (literally “black dragon tea”), semi-oxidized tea such as Ti Kuan Yin (铁观音, Tiě Guānyīn) and Dong Ding (冻顶, Dòngdǐng)

普洱茶 (pǔ’ěrchá): pu’er or pu-erh tea, post-fermented tea named after the area in Yunnan Province where it is produced

白茶 (báichá): white tea, lightly oxidized and minimally processed tea such as Silver Needle (白毫银针, Báiháo Yínzhēn)

香片 (xiāngpiàn): jasmine tea (literally “fragrant flakes”), green or white tea leaves with dried flowers; though often referred to as jasmine tea in English, other types of flowers are also used

Qinghefang Ancient Street

Study the words in this section on Quizlet:
Detailed Lists: Characters and English | Pinyin and English
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清河坊古街 (Qīnghéfāng Gǔjiē): Qinghefang Ancient Street, a pedestrian street area in Hangzhou with a history as a commercial center dating back to Hangzhou’s tenure as the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty; attractions in the area include puppet theaters, curio stalls, teahouses, and traditional medicine shops

Pedestrians stroll past storefronts on Qinghefang Ancient Street (Southern Song Imperial Street) in Hangzhou, China
Qinghefang Ancient Street
(photo by Fang Guo)
  • 南宋 (Nán Sòng)

    Southern Song Dynasty, 1127-1279 CE

  • 南宋御街 (Nán Sòng Yùjiē)

    Southern Song Imperial Street, another name for Qinghefang Ancient Street; some other pedestrian streets dating back to the Southern Song also use this name

  • 胡庆余堂中药博物馆 (Hú Qìngyú Táng Zhōngyào Bówùguǎn)

    Hu Qingyu Hall Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum, a TCM museum and shop in the Qinghefang area originally opened by 19th-century magnate Hu Xueyan (胡雪岩, Hú Xuěyán) as a pharmaceutical factory

Former Residence of Hu Xueyan

胡雪岩故居 (Hú Xuěyán Gùjū): Former Residence of Hu Xueyan, the magnificently designed and furnished residence of the 19th-century pharmaceutical magnate; the compound has been called “China’s Number One Mansion”

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