Heavenly Hangzhou: Exploring the Gateway to Westlake University

A first of its kind in modern China, Westlake University is a research-oriented institution that was founded by a group of globally respected scientists and scholars in 2018. It aims to be a world-class leading institution that caters to a truly international environment. By studying for a degree at Westlake University, students get chances to excel in future-orientated disciplines, partake in cutting-edge research, and travel abroad on exchange programs. But for some, what truly sets Westlake University apart is its unbeatable location in the historic Chinese city of Hangzhou, also known as the “Paradise on Earth”. 

Hangzhou is a city that seamlessly blends ancient charm with modern innovation and natural scenery. As a center where technology companies, medical institutions, and high-tech innovation converge, it offers an ecosystem where students have exposure to the latest advancements and boundless opportunities to excel within their desired fields. Beyond its technological prowess, Hangzhou is a city of remarkable beauty that boasts famous landscapes and attractions. Its most renowned gem, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of West Lake, is a testament to its allure. 

Join us as we delve deeper into the wonders of Hangzhou and what Westlake University’s strategic location means for prospective international students. 

Hangzhou: The City of Heaven 

History & Culture

Hangzhou’s rich historical and cultural heritage draws in students and visitors from around the world. The city was the former capital of the Southern Song Dynasty, during which time it was a center of learning and intellectual pursuits. Today, this legacy lives on with its numerous museums, libraries, and research centers that serve as valuable resources for students at Westlake University. 

Visit these highlights and immerse yourself in the city’s history and traditions: 

  • Lingyin Temple (”The Template of Soul’s Retreat”):  A renowned Buddhist temple dating back to the 4th century, adorned with ancient statues and intricate carvings. 
  • Hefang Street: A lively pedestrian street lined with shops, teahouses, snack stalls, and souvenir stores, showcasing local crafts, silk products, and delicious street food.
  • Wuzhen Water Town: A well-preserved ancient town with quaint canals, old-fashioned buildings, and stone bridges, where traditional Chinese architecture and rural life are frozen in time. 
  • National Silk Museum: Hangzhou is famous for its silk production, and this museum showcases the history and art of this Chinese invention. 
  • China National Tea Museum: A museum that explores the history, cultivation, and appreciation of tea in China
  • Song Dynasty Town: A theme park recreating the ambiance of the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). It offers an immersive experience of the ancient capital’s architecture, customs, and performances.

Natural Beauty

Hangzhou is blessed with a breathtaking blend of natural elements that has long been a source of inspiration to artists, poets, and scholars. The area is adorned with mist-covered hills, bamboo forests, and tea plantations, along with historical temples and gardens set against mountainous landscapes. Hangzhou is dedicated to environmental conservation, the preservation of its landscape, and the promotion of sustainable behaviors among locals and tourists.

Living within nature can positively impact your well-being, as students of Westlake University will find. The inspiring landscape offers a calming retreat from the demands of academic life, helping students feel more balanced and connected to the world. Hangzhou’s scenery promotes peace and relaxation, which can help reduce stress, improve mental well-being, and enhance focus and productivity, thus improving your academic performance.

These are some of Hangzhou’s top natural attractions:

  • West Lake: A breathtaking freshwater lake that is a symbolic icon in China, an inspiration for creative works, and a must-visit destination for all. 
  • Longjing Tea Plantations (the home of Dragon Well tea): A scenic area of terraced tea fields carpeting the slopes, where you can learn about tea cultivation and savor this famous Chinese tea. 
  • Xixi National Wetland Park: One of China’s largest urban wetland reserves that can be explored over the water trails by boat. 
  • Yunqi Bamboo Forest: Dense bamboo groves nestled in the mountains, making it a peaceful place for leisurely walks and meditation. 
  • Hangzhou Botanical Garden: A haven for plant enthusiasts and nature lovers. 

Modern Infrastructure & Development

Hangzhou city stands as a shining example of modern infrastructure and development in a forward-thinking metropolis. Its transportation system is highly advanced, with an extensive network of buses, metros, and high-speed trains connecting the city. The innovative bike-sharing program, “Public Bicycle,” is a convenient and eco-friendly transportation option that is popular among students. 

Hangzhou’s commitment to sustainable development is reflected in eco-friendly initiatives such as green building standards and the use of renewable energy. Westlake University contributes its efforts through various initiatives, such as its recent participation in the Global Environmental Measurement and Monitoring Initiative (GEMM), involving efforts to improve the health of the Hangzhou Bay ecosystem. 

Cultural & Recreational Activities

Westlake Impression

Don’t just look; there is plenty of fun to be had in Hangzhou! International students can explore the museums, theaters, and galleries to get an appreciation of China’s artistic and cultural offerings. The city is also brimming with shops and markets for indulging in a diverse range of local culinary delights.

For adventure-seekers, the city’s natural surroundings are the ideal place to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and boating. Strike a healthy balance between your studies and leisure time by engaging in cultural experiences and physical pursuits such as: 

  • Impression West Lake Show: A grand outdoor performance of lights, music, dance, and theatrical effects that showcase the beauty and legends of West Lake.
  • Cycling: Rent a bike and explore the city’s surroundings via its extensive network of cycling paths and scenic routes.
  • Hiking: Popular hiking routes include the surrounding mountains of Mount Huanglong and Mount Jiuhua, and the tea-covered hills of Longjing Village.
  • Fishing along the Qiantang River: Experience the tranquility of the river while trying to catch various freshwater fish species.
  •  Hang-gliding and Paragliding: The hills and mountainous areas around Hangzhou provide ideal conditions for these adrenaline-pumping activities.
The famous European traveler Marco Polo visited Hangzhou during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368). He was such a large influence in introducing Hangzhou and silk to the Europeans that there was a statue built near West Lake to honour him.

Westlake University: Gateway to Hangzhou 

The Campus of the Future 

Contributing to an environment that nurtures creativity and introspection, Westlake University’s two main campuses are just as impressive. The newer Yungu campus is located at the heart of the growing university town of Zijingang Science and Technology City. It is one of the most sustainable and multi-functional campuses in the world, home to state-of-the-art facilities creatively positioned on a site the size of 170 football fields. Further South of Hangzhou city, the original Yunqi campus is being updated with features to enhance your university experience, including teaching spaces, restaurants, multi-functional halls, community recreation centers, and more. 

How West Lake Inspired the Name 

Westlake University derives its name from its close proximity to the iconic West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is regarded as one of the most beautiful sights in China. Situated to the West of the city, the West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou is surrounded by flowing streams and hills dotted with temples, pagodas, gardens, and both natural and artificial islands. 

Aptly, Westlake University’s name reflects its strong connection with the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of the area. Just as the tranquil waters and scenic landscapes of West Lake inspire and captivate visitors, Westlake University also aims to provide an educational environment that fosters creativity, reflection, and a deep appreciation for the beauty that surrounds it.

Contributions to Hangzhou 

Westlake University plays a pivotal role in attracting and cultivating talent in Hangzhou, contributing to the city’s overall development. With its emphasis on international collaboration and academic excellence, Westlake University has drawn in a diverse array of professors, staff, and students with international roots to foster a multicultural community.  The result is the enrichment of both academic and student life, as well as the contribution of diversity and growth within the city of Hangzhou. 

Study Abroad: Go Global 

As much as students love Hangzhou, studying at Westlake University opens the doors to other amazing destinations all over the world. As part of its commitment to internationalization and fostering globally orientated students, all of Westlake’s undergraduate programs include a study abroad experience. Students can choose from over 20 reputable partner universities in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia for the chance to broaden their horizons and gain global exposure. By choosing Westlake University, students not only benefit from the university’s outstanding academic environment but also position themselves strategically to explore a world of diverse experiences beyond Hangzhou and China.

Learn More

As an international student at Westlake University, you too can play a part in Hangzhou’s growth as a global hub of knowledge and innovation. Start your enriching academic journey by choosing the program that aligns with your goals. You can learn more details and apply online with ease on the China Admissions platform. 


Kay contributes to the Marketing team at China Admissions. A "third-culture kid" based in Thailand, she has had lifelong exposure to international communities and has worked with top global brands. Having studied abroad herself, she encourages young minds to invest in their self-development and foster an appreciation for new countries and cultures.
Kay M

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