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The majority of Hangzhou-bound trains leave throughout the day from the Shanghai South Railway Station (Shanghai Nan Zhan) (tel. 021/6317-9090) in the southern part of town (reachable by Metro Lines 1 and 3). There are a few Hangzhou-bound trains that leave from Shanghai Railway Station, but the times are less convenient and the journey takes longer than from South Station. The D5685, D3105, D5551, and D5689 bullet trains all depart the South Station between 7am and 8am and arrive in Hangzhou around 90 minutes later. If you plan to stay overnight, the D5557 leaves Shanghai at 6:35pm and arrives at 8:04pm while the D5681 departs at 7:03pm and arrives at 8:21pm. Return train D5680 leaves Hangzhou at 6:24pm and arrives at South Station at 7:42pm, and the D5672 leaves at 8:50pm and arrives at 10:12pm. Soft-seat train tickets range from ¥54 to ¥75, plus a typical ¥20 service charge if purchased from hotel tour desks. A daily express direct train D310 also leaves Hangzhou at 8:15pm and arrives in Beijing at 7:44am.

For the most up-to-date information on Hangzhou train schedules, check the website travelchinaguide.com (www.travelchinaguide.com). The Hangzhou Railway Station (Hangzhou Huoche Zhan) (tel. 0571/5672-0222 or 0571/8782-9983) is in the eastern part of town. The no. 7 or no. K7 bus connects the station to downtown and the Shangri-La Hotel for ¥2, while a taxi should cost around ¥12 to West Lake.

There are also buses traveling between Shanghai and Hangzhou, but they are a lot less convenient than trains. A direct bus (¥100) to Hangzhou leaves from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (tel. 021/6834-5743 or 021/6834-6467) and runs between 9:30am and 7pm.

Hangzhou also has an airport (tel. 0571/8666-1234 or 0571/8666-2999; www.hzairport.com; airport code HGH) with a newly built international terminal (Terminal A) about a 30-minute drive from downtown, with international connections to Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok, Osaka, Tokyo, Taipei, and to Beijing and other major Chinese cities, but not Shanghai. A taxi into town costs around ¥130 while an air-conditioned airport bus (tel. 0571/8666-2539; ¥20) runs to the railway station, the Merchant Marco Hotel (nearest stop to the Shangri-La Hotel), and the Wulinmen CAAC ticket office in town.

If you want to see Hangzhou on a group tour, the Jin Jiang Optional Tours Center, Changle Lu 191 (tel. 021/5466-7936), in Shanghai offers a convenient, if expensive, 1-day group bus tour with an English-speaking guide and lunch, departing Shanghai around 8am every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and returning in the late afternoon. The price is ¥850 for adults. The same tour operator can also arrange a private 1- or 2-day tour (on any day) with a guide, air-conditioned car, lunch, and door-to-door service for significantly more. The top Hangzhou hotels recommended in this guide can also organize half- or full-day city tours.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.