As the G20 World Summit draws nearer, we are starting to receive official information about what kind of conditions to expect during the weeks leading up to the event such as with visas, travel, etc.

hangzhou g20 logo

Our first report is on a very positive note, so try to forget any máfan encountered for a moment and listen up, because 3 destinations – Yellow Mountain, Xinchang County, and Qiandao Lake – are all offering free or heavily-discounted entry tickets during the G20, making it so much more enticing to leave the city for a bit as it prepares for a near-shutdown. Read on for dates and conditions to claim these offers, and start planning your trip!

1. Yellow Mountain Scenic Area / Huangshan (黄山)

Clouds and Sharp Peaks at Anhui's Yellow Mountain / Huangshan

Puffy clouds floating over the mountain's peaks

Location: Anhui Province, ~3.5 hours from Hangzhou

Discount: Free tickets for 55 scenic areas, including the mountain (Reg. price 230 RMB), Hong Village (Reg. Price 104 RMB), and Xidi Village (Reg. Price 104 RMB). Cable car fee optional and not included.

Dates: 9.1 – 9.7

What to Bring: Passport and valid Hangzhou residence permit


1. Hangzhou West Bus Station (杭州汽车西站) - Tunxi Bus Station (屯溪) (close to villages / Tunxi Ancient Street). Buses run every day from 6:50am - 6pm (90 RMB).

2. Hangzhou West Bus Station (杭州汽车西站) – Yellow Mountain Scenic Area / Tangkou (黄山景区) (close to the mountain). Buses run every day from 7:20am - 3:10pm (110 RMB)

Note: If you are planning on hiking up the mountain, you must first take another bus to the entrance of the scenic area. It takes around a half-hour.

About Yellow Mountain:

The Sea of Clouds at Yellow Mountain

Sea of Clouds - 云海

As one of China's major tourist destinations, Huangshan is well known for its scenery, sunsets, oddly-shaped peaks, and its famous yún hǎi (云海),  or “sea of clouds”.

It is said that Yellow Mountain is where the Yellow Emperor, mythical ancestor of the Chinese, lived, refined precious medicines, and became a supernatural being. Xu Xiake, a noted Chinese geologist in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), left his praise in this quote:

“You don't need to see any more mountains after seeing 'the Five Mountains', and you don't need to see the other four mountains after seeing Huangshan.”Peaks at Yellow Mountain

Must-see destinations in the scenic area include the mountain, Tunxi Ancient Street (屯溪老街), Xi Di Village, and Hong Village (宏村). People usually only visit one village because the two look similar and charge more than 100 RMB each. Though since they are free during the offer period, we strongly recommend going to both.

The villages are famous for their “black-tile, white-wall” traditional Chinese architecture, earning them both a listing as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000.

Xidi Village was built during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), and features over 120 ancient houses. Hongcun Village enjoys the reputation of 'A village in the beautiful Chinese picture' because of its location at high altitude and appearance as being shrouded by clouds and mist.

Tunxi Ancient Street dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) when Emperor Huizong (1082-1135) moved his government to Lin'an (now part of Hangzhou), and conscripted many nearby architects and workmen to construct the new capital. After returning to their hometowns, they imitated the architecture used in Lin’An to build the Ancient Street. Today, the traditional architecture remains intact as most of these houses have been turned into shops.

Before visiting Yellow Mountain, it is important to book a place to stay and decide on a bus destination, because it can be extremely hard to find a hotel after arrival, and there are a few possible bus stops along the way. If you are arriving in the city late, or would like to visit the ancient streets first, get on the bus at Hangzhou West Bus Station to Tunxi Bus Station, then catch a taxi to your hotel/hostel.

If you wish to hike directly after getting off the bus, then take the bus to Huangshan Scenic Area / Tangkou. Please note that you have to take another bus to the entrance of Huangshan. It can take more than five hours to finish hiking the mountain, so begin as early as possible. Many travelers begin their climb around 3-4am, so they can reach the top just as the sun is rising, which is truly a magnificent sight.

When finding a place to stay, there are many options near Tangkou (the South entrance), the North entrance, Hong Village, and Xidi Village. There is also a hostel on top of Yellow Mountain, but is more expensive than staying at the bottom.


2. Xinchang County (新昌县)

Laying Buddha statue in Xinchang Zhejiang Shaoxing

That's a big Buddha, not the biggest though

Location: Zhejiang Province, ~2 hours South of Hangzhou

Discount: 50% off tickets for Big Buddha Temple (Reg. 100 RMB), Tianzhu Lake, Wozhou Lake, Shijiu Feng (19 Peaks), and Qipanxian Valley

Dates: 8.26 – 9.6

What to Bring: Passport and valid Hangzhou residence permit


1. Hangzhou Passenger Transport Center (杭州汽车客运中心) – Xinchang (新昌). Buses run from 7:05am – 7:15pm (58 RMB)

2. Hangzhou South Bus Station (杭州汽车南站) – Xinchang (新昌). Buses depart at 8:50am, 10:10am, and 1:50pm (58 RMB)

Upon arrival in Xinchang, you can take public bus 8路 directly to Big Buddha Temple (大佛寺景区).

About Xinchang County:

Xinchang County is a great destination for hiking due to its abundance of hills, clean waters, and  a huge Buddha statue that was built during the 4th century.

This huge statue is a part of Dafo ("Big Buddha") Temple (大佛寺). The statue itself is located in a grotto, and is carved into a massive slab of granite which, thankfully, is less subject to erosion than other stone types such as sandstone, allowing it to survive for over 1700 years. Facing the 15-meter-high sitting Maitreya Buddha and its gaze is truly an awe-inspiring experience.

Big Buddha Statue in Xinchang, Zhejiang Province

Now THAT's a big Buddha

Other scenic areas include Tianzhu Lake (天烛湖), Wozhou Lake (沃洲湖), Shijiu Feng (19 Peaks) (十九峰), and Qipanxian Valley (七盘仙谷). Considering they are quite far from each other, it might be best to contact a travel agency to book a group tour since they can take care of all the logistics for you. Remember to give your passport to the tour guide when he/she buys the admission tickets.

Rapeseed flowers at Wozhou Lake in Xinchang, Shaoxing

Wozhou Lake (沃洲湖)

Tianzhu Lake in Xinchang, Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province

Tianzhu Lake (天烛湖). It's name translates to Sky Candle Lake

Nineteen Peaks in Xinchang, Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China

19 Peaks (十九峰)

3. Qiandao Lake / Thousand Island Lake (千岛湖)

Aerial View of Qiandao Lake or Thousand Islands Lake in Zhejiang, China

Qiandao Lake

Location: Zhejiang Province, ~2.5 hours West of Hangzhou

Discount: Price: 40 RMB; Original: 150 RMB

Dates: 8.20 – 9.10

What to Bring: Passport and valid Hangzhou residence permit


Important: After getting off the long-distance buses, you must either take a taxi or public bus to the lake scenic area ( called 旅游码头). If taking a public bus, only 4路,6路,and 7路go to the scenic areas. They each cost 1 RMB.

1. Hangzhou West Bus Station (杭州汽车西站) – Qiandao Lake (千岛湖). Buses run from 6am – 6:50pm, (65 RMB)

2. Hangzhou Passenger Transport Center (杭州汽车客运中心) – Qiandao Lake (千岛湖). Buses run from 7:30am – 6:20pm (73 RMB)

3. Hangzhou South Bus Station (杭州汽车南站) – Qiandao Lake (千岛湖). Buses run sparsely from 8:30am – 5:35pm (70 RMB)

4. Huanglong / Yellow Dragon Tourist Center (黄龙旅游集散中心) – Qiandao Lake Sunlight Bus Station (千岛湖阳光汽车站)

About Qiandao Lake 千岛湖:

Qiandao Lake (Thousand Island Lake) sits in Chun’An County, and was created over half a century ago when a nearby dam was built, flooding what was once a city. Today, it is famous for its landscape and clean water. In fact, the water is so clean that China’s largest bottled-water provider, Nongfu Spring (the red bottle), uses the lake as the source for its water in the region.

View of Qiandao Lake from a boat

Reach over and take a nice gulp

“Thousand Island” is an appropriate name as 1,078 islands cover its surface. It is a preferred summer tourist destination where enjoy water activities such as swimming, surfing, boating and jet skiing, which are offered by more than a dozen five-star resorts in the area.

Biking along the lake is another pleasant experience, as specially built bike lanes circle its perimeter. Bike rentals are available if you don’t have your own ride. There are also plenty of places to grab a bite and take in lovely views of the lake.

Qiandao Lake Green Bicycle Path

Qiandao Lake Green Bicycle Path (绿道)

Editor’s Note: Beware of prices within the scenic area, as even a simple lunch could end up costing a pretty penny. There are a few shows or activities on the islands (Thailand lady-boy performances, jet skiing, etc.), but they cost extra and are usually not worth the prices. Instead, start early and take half a day to walk along the islands, then eat lunch and bike on the path during the afternoon.

Editor’s Note 2: You must get to the lake early as boats depart for the islands in the morning. In the afternoon, boats only ride to one of the three routes, limiting options. Book a hotel or hostel ahead of time, as the lake is always busy during the summer. If you don’t want to stay the night, the last bus back to Hangzhou departs around 6pm.

Important Note: Some hostels or motels have also been encouraged to give discounts to those leaving Hangzhou during the G20. Don’t just book online - call and ask for discounts!


With this guide in hand, you can start planning your G20 vacation. If you need any help, feel free to contact us by sending a message to our WeChat public account, or contact us.


Happy travels!

Categories: Travel

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