West Lake - Classical Beauty In China
One of China’s most enduringly popular holiday spots, Hángzhōu, dreamy West Lake panoramas and fabulously green hills can easily tempt you into long sojourns. Its scenic is the very definition of classical beauty in China: pagoda-topped hills rise over willow-lined waters as boats drift slowly through a vignette of leisurely charm. Walkways, perfectly positioned benches, parks and gardens around the banks of the lake offer a thousand of advantage points for visitors to admire the faultless scenery.
When is the beginning of existence?
Originally a lagoon adjoining the Qiántáng River, the lake didn’t come into existence until the 8th century, when the governor of Hángzhōu had the marshy expanse dredged. As time passed, the lake’s splendour was gradually cultivated: gardens were planted, pagodas built, and causeways and islands were constructed from dredged silt.
The northwest of the lake is fringed with the lovely Qūyuàn Garden, a collection of gardens spread out over numerous islets and renowned for their fragrant spring lotus blossoms. Near Xīlíng Bridge (Xīlíng Qiáo) is Su Xiaoxiao's Tomb, a 5th-century courtesan who died of grief while waiting for her lover to return. It’s been said that her ghost haunts the area and the tinkle of the bells on her gown are audible at night.
The smaller island in the lake is Xiǎoyíng Island, where you can look over at Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, three small towers in the water on the south side of the island; each has five holes that release shafts of candlelight on the night of the mid-autumn festival. From Lesser Yíngzhōu Island, you can gaze over to Red Carp Pond, home to a few thousand red carp.
Opera singing, ballroom dancing and other cultural activities often take place around the lake, and if the weather’s fine, don’t forget to earmark the east shore for sunset over West Lake photos. It's hardly needed, but musical dancing fountains burst into action at regular intervals throughout the night and day, close to Lakeview Park.
When is the best time to visit ?
Crowds can be a real issue here, especially on public days off when it can seem as if every holidaymaker in China is strolling around the lake. Escape the jam of people by getting out and about early in the morning – also the best time to spot the odd serene lakeside taichi session.