Hangzhou (杭州), Zhejiang Province
Hangzhou’s most celebrated tourist attraction is the West Lake. Walking around the lake is indeed beautiful, and you could fill a whole day exploring sites on the lake, including a botanical garden and many small parks, pagodas and tombs. Visit the Leifang Pagoda for great views of the lake. (Don’t worry about the stairs if you’re feeling tired — escalators and elevators mean you can get to the top almost without moving a muscle.)
Dragon Well (龙井, Longjing) green tea is produced near Hangzhou, and there is a museum about tea production just outside the city. You can also wander up and down tea terraces near Longjing Village, south of Hangzhou. (Hangzhou’s city-run tourist buses will drop you off near the entrance to the terraces.)
There’s enough to do in Hangzhou that it’s definitely worth making more than a day trip, if you have the time. My mom and I stayed at the Zhongshan International Hotel (Zhongshan Dajiudian), which is a bit pricier than the hostels I usually recommend. If you book ahead, you can find rooms for less than 500 RMB. If you’ve been staying in hostels and need a break from all the sharing, this would be a relatively inexpensive but more comfortable option.
Superfast D trains go from Shanghai to Hangzhou in an hour and a half. They leave from the Shanghai South Train Station throughout the day. You can search for the exact schedules here.