Water is the soul of Hangzhou: the lake, the river, and then there’s the canal. There has been a whole lotta changes going on up north on the Grand Canal with the museum, the Canal Culture Park and all of the renovation with the ancient bridges. Now there is Xiaohe street to offer up a little competition to Hefang street. You all have at some time or another visited Hefang street. It does have its good features with the Huqingyutang Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum, the snack street, oh and of course Dairy Queen and McDonalds. It didn’t always used to be such a tourist trap. There was a time when this “ancient street” used to be a quaint community. Then they redid it.
When we visited Xiaohe street around a year ago on our Water Bus trip to Gongchen Bridge, we found it interesting but a little depressing as well – dirty with stagnant, putrid water and garbage everywhere. Now the city has thrown some money at it in order to draw more tourists. Sure, they had to relocate the residents while they were doing the work, but they should be pleased with the end result. There’s now a nice mixture of freshly painted two-story houses and shops making and selling wine, cotton and preserved food. All of these are positioned on a cleaned-up branch of the Grand Canal. On holidays, you can even see some folk artists cutting paper, painting egg shells, knitting and doing calligraphy. Hefang street is no longer the only place to catch some folk art. Xiaohe street is charming, at least for the time being, so before it becomes just like it’s southern sister, better go there and check it out.
Take the water boat from the Wulin stop (across from Hangzhou Tower) and get off at the Gongchen stop.
Busses: 38, 1 (Changzheng Bridge stop)
Xiaohe street is opposite the Quangxing Community (广兴)