West Lake in Hangzhou
West Lake (西湖 Xī Hú)
Hangzhou’s most famous scenic sight. Technically, there are “10 Scenes of the West Lake” and “10 New Scenes,” but they are overrated, and often seasonal (Snowfall Over Broken Bridge, etc). Rather than make a checklist and walking back and forth looking for them, simply spend a clear day wandering the circumference of the lake and the causeways, take a ferry to the islands, and you will probably cover most of the sites anyway. The “West Lake” itself can be divided into countless smaller sites, from Mr. Guo’s villa to “Orioles Singing in the Willows”.
The “West Lake Scenic Area” itself is very large. This section only covers areas in the immediate vicinity of the lake. Other spots are covered in later sections.
- Lesser Yingzhou Isle (Three Pools Mirroring the Moon)— Built in the early 1600s, this is the largest island on the lake. When there is a full moon, candles inside the pagodas are lit, and in the candle light it appears as though you see the moonlight (if you are romantic enough to see it), hence the name.
- Mid-Lake Pavilion— Bulit in 1552, it is the oldest island in Hangzhou. There is a Chinese inscription on the Qing Dynasty-era stone arch in which the Qing Emperor wrote “Chong Er”, or “Endless Love”.
- Lord Ruan’s Mound— This is a mound they made from piling up dirt after dredging the lake 200 years ago. However, it is not just a dirt mound. At night (summer), entertainment activities are occuring in the garden on the island.
- Hubin #X Park— Hubin Parks 1, 3, 6 and probably the numbers in between are the parks between Hubin Road and the West Lake. Relatively newly-designed as the West Lake Tunnel that goes underneath was being built in early 2004, these parks are good to sit for a bit, buy ice cream or a newspaper, and most importantly hire a boat from the cluster of boat docks at each park.
- Su Causeway— Almost 3km long, this causeway dates from the year 1189 and has a bunch of willows and peach trees. It is long north-south causeway that starts by the Shangri-La on Beishan Road and goes all the way down to Nanshan Road.
- Bai Causeway— Starting at the eastern end of Beishan Road, this cause way leads to Solitary Hill and cuts off the distances between, say, Hubin Road and the Shangri La.
- Solidary Hill And Zhongshan Park— Where Loud Wai Lou restaurant is located, this is the only natural island on the lake. At least 3 emperor’s constructed palaces are here. Besides an expensive restaurant, the popular area is the home of the Xiling Seal-Engravers’ Society, and the seals, calligraphy, engraving-masters, and relics that go along with it.
- Yang Causeway— This is more than 3km long and one road west of the Su Causeway. It starts at the intersection of Beishan and Shuguang Road (which becomes Yang Causeway once you are south of this intersection); the causeway runs north-south. Yang Causeway includes Quyuan Garden (aka Qu Garden aka Qu Courtyard), which is the most popular spot to see tons of lotus blossoms (late spring > summer). The water area to the west of the top of Yang Causeway is Maojiabu Scenic area, with orchids blended into the water scenery. Another tourist spot on Yang Causeway is Mr. Guo’s Villa, which was built in 1907 and is considered one of the most “classical” gardens in Hangzhou. At the southern end of the causeway, just before Nanshan Road, is a fish-viewing pond.
- King Qian’s Memorial, (Qian Wang Ci)— 5 kings of the Wuyue Kingdom are buried here in this memorial on the south end of the lake off Nanshan Road.
- Wushan Square, (吴山广场 Wu Shan Guang Chang)— Wushan Square and Wushan Hill are a major town center in Hangzhou. The view from the top is excellent on a clear day, and there are also trails around the hills from behind the pagoda. The pagoda itself has been modernized with an elevator and nice open-air teahouse at the top, but the original bell is still intact and in use. This area also features easy access to Hefang Jie shopping street at the base of the hill, full of small pedestrian streets and shopping stalls. It is also extremely close to the West Lake itself.
Gardens forests and nature in Hangzhou
Temples and pagodas In Hangzhou
West Lake in Hangzhou