Most westerners are probably unfamiliar with Hangzhou, which is a shame since it has so much to offer. It is considered one of the most picturesque cities in China and forms one corner of a golden triangle of successful urban titans, the other two being Shanghai and Suzhou. Hangzhou has emerged as a tech giant recently and is the home of one of China’s most important corporations: Alibaba. It also has some incredibly renowned technology universities, so there’s an atmosphere of youth and wealth, which are clear advantages for teachers hoping to make extra money in a booming economy. This short guide will hopefully acquaint prospective teachers with a city that has endless potential.
- Hangzhou offers a unique mix of affordability and comparatively high salaries to most cities outside of Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. Because of this perfect combination, teachers can expect to save quite a lot of their salaries. Saving $650-$1000 a month is completely within the realm of possibility from the base salaries being offered there currently, but it’s proximity to Shanghai makes Hangzhou one of the best hidden gems for earning potential in the country. Cheap one hour train rides to Shanghai mean it’s possible to work part time on a weekend in an inflated market but live in an incredibly inexpensive one. Industrious teachers could double their savings with a single Saturday afternoon if they go this route. However, it should be noted that Hangzhou’s own wealth is enough to support highly lucrative private tutoring opportunities.
- Because of its incredible landscape and natural beauty, Hangzhou has earned a reputation as a great city for outdoor sports. There are western run paragliding schools and canoeing clubs. Gorgeous mountains and lakes stretch into the city, making for fabulous hikes or opportunities for a lakeside picnic. This reputation has even landed it as the host city for the 2022 Asian Games.
- Transportation options abound—Hangzhou has an international airport, high speed rail stations, a subway, buses, and tons of inexpensive taxis. One of the most exciting parts of traveling in China is that is so affordable. High speed rail ensures that Hangzhou is connected to most of the other major cities in the country, with some of the farthest costing less than $100 for a ticket. A high speed train to Shanghai costs around $10, for example.
- And how about that proximity to Shanghai? For most teachers, Hangzhou is plenty large enough to keep them occupied for an entire year, but Shanghai and Suzhou also offer massive amounts of exciting activities and venues to explore. Over 50 million people live in these three cities, making it one of the most thriving and prosperous areas in the world.
- Interestingly enough, Hangzhou has quite a long history as a religious hub for Islam and Judaism. For this reason, Hangzhou has quite a lot of Islamic Chinese food, a delicious cuisine that most westerners aren’t even aware of. It also means that many of the temples, historic relics, and mosques offer a unique look into a country with a culture that is underappreciated in its diversity. While tourists often spend most of their time at enormous attractions like the Great Wall, these subtle cultural revelations and experiences tend to provide a much richer understanding of the host country.