Hangzhou, the city where I was born and raised, I can’t tell you enough about how much I love it. It is one hour on high speed train from Shanghai, which runs frequently all day and till late.
Lingyin Temple, commonly literally translated as Temple of the Soul’s Retreat, is one of the largest Zen Buddhism temples in China. It’s up in the mountains west of West Lake and bus No.7 (starts form Hangzhou Railway Station and go around the lake) will take you strait up there. However, due to the popularity of the attractions on that route, the bus is usually overcrowded.
It is a little confusing but you do need to purchase two tickets to visit the temple. The first ticket is entering the park, which costs 45 yuan. Please take some time to visit the park and climb up the mountain. There’s a tea room, a small temple and also a great view of the city. P.S. pictures were taken at different time, that’s why the sky looks different.
Then, it’s another 30 yuan to visit Lingyin Temple. As a local, I usually visit early in the morning when it’s quieter than other hours. By the way, they give you free incense sticks when you enter. Whether you believe in it or not, it always feel good to participate and get to feel and experience the culture.