China Hangzhou-Qinghefang Ancient Street
Be sure to allocate at least a few hours in your Hangzhou itinerary to wander the city's splendid historic district, centering on Qinghefang Ancient Street (qing hé fang gu jie). An easy walk from West Lake, this always bustling and relatively unspoiled area provides a glimpse into what city life in China must have been like in the old days. In addition to its many traditional restaurants and teahouses, the area is a hotbed of creative culture, with countless street artists demonstrating ancient writing skills and art techniques, along with boutique stores and market stalls selling everything from silk products to tea (Longjing, of course). Be sure to take a peek into some of the many unchanged side alleys leading off Qinghefang for a look at how Chinese tradesmen and craftsmen have lived through the centuries.
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