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West Lake

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  • Beautiful Scenery, West Lake
    Beautiful Scenery, West Lake
  • Bicycle Tour Around West Lake
    Bicycle Tour Around West Lake
  • West Lake Sight-seeing Ship
    West Lake Sight-seeing Ship
  • Sun Set at West Lake
    Sun Set at West Lake
  • Hangzhou, West Lake
    Hangzhou, West Lake
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Known as the 'Paradise on Earth', The West Lake (Xi Hu) is located in the west of Hang Zhou City, Zhejiang Province. It is a national scenic area famous for its beautiful landscape, rich in historical places of interest and splendid culture. The scenic area covers an area of 60 square kilometers (23 square miles), of which the lake takes up 5.68 square kilometers (2.19 square miles). The lake is the focal point of the scenic area, and is surrounded by mountains on three sides, its banks dotted with shady trees, refreshing springs and streams. There are more than 90 scenic spots in the area, of which more than 40 are scenic sites while the others are historical relics.

There is much to enjoy in the scenic area, including the West Lake, the Broken Bridge, the Leifeng Tower, the Dragon Well, and Tiger Spring. The scenic spots can be summed up as 'one lake, two peaks, three springs, four temples, five hills, six gardens, seven caves, eight tombs, nine streams, and ten scenic spots'.

The scenic area is named after the famous lake, West Lake, which is divided into five smaller lakes - the Inner Lake, Outer Lake, Yuehu Lake, Western Inner Lake, and Southern Lake by the Su Causeway and Bai Causeway. In the center of the lake are three islets: Ruangongdun Islet, Mid-lake Pavilion, and Xiaoyingzhou Islet. In spring, the corrugated lake surface is studded with boats, while on the bank, the grass turns green, peach trees are full of blossom and the distant hills are misty and verdant. Walking around the lake, you will be fascinated by the breathtaking scenery and totally addicted to the spring of te lake. The charm of the lake is not only belongs to spring, you will see different views of the lake from the blooming lotus in summer, the beautiful nights in autumn, to the red plums blooming among white snow in the winter.

The two causeways on the lake are famous for their respective builder. Bai Causeway was built by Bai Juyi, a famous Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) poet. In 822, Bai Juyi came to Hangzhou as a Cishi (an official title). His official experience really upset him at that time, but when he saw the charming scenery of West Lake, he was much encouraged and decided to make a great effort on his work as well as poem-writing. Bai Causeway has seen his contribution to the regulation of  the lake. Su Causeway was built by Su Dongpo. Su Dongpo was the local official of Hangzhou in the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279). Considering the lake's significant role as an irrigation source, Su Dongpo raised money from the entire city and hired 200,000 workers to build the causeway. People named it 'Su Causeway' to commemorate Su Dongpo.

The Chinese legend of Madame Bai and Xu Xian (a love story of a white snake and a doctor) took place at West Lake, and the Broken Bridge and the Leifeng Tower were believed to make a great contribution to the story. The Broken Bridge lies to the east of Bai Causeway. It was built in the Tang Dynasty, and was said to be the meeting place of Madame Bai and Xuxian. Since the deck of the Broken Bridge is close to the surface of the lake, it appears that the bridge is broken when it is covered by snow in winter. Standing on top of Leifeng Hill, Leifeng Tower was built during the Five Dynasties and Ten States (907 - 979), and was believed to be the place where Madame Bai was imprisoned by Monk Fahai, another legendary hero. Now, the tower is also famous for its unique view at sunset.

If you have learnt Chinese tea culture, you must have heard of the famous tea Longjing (Dragon Well) tea. Hangzhou is the birthplace of Longjing Tea. If you would like to know more about Longjing Tea and Chinese tea culture then visit the Chinese Tea Culture Museum near West Lake. Su Dongpo Memorial is also not far from the scenic area.

1. By Bus:
a. Tourism Bus No.1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Holiday Special Bus No.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 in Hangzhou City (CNY 2).
b. Take Bus No. 7 or 135 at Hangzhou Railway Station.
2. In The Scenic Area:
a. You can take a mini sight-seeing bus in the scenic area and get off at any site you want (CNY 15-35).
b. There is a public bicycle service for visitors' convenience. You can rent a bicycle at any renting sites and return it at any other site. The detailed charges are as follows: 

Within 1 hour Free
1-2 hours CNY 1
2-3 hours CNY 2
Over 3 hours CNY 3 per hour
3. Charges for Sightseeing Cruise:
CNY 45 per person (including the two isles in the lake);
CNY 40 per hour for four-seat yawl;
CNY 50 per hour for six-seat yawl;
CNY 10 per hour for five-seat boat;
CNY 60 per hour for six-seat old-style boat.
4. Charges for Sightseeing Cars around the Lake:
CNY 40 per person for the whole trip around the lake;
CNY 10 per person for part of the trip.

 More Top Tourist Attractions in Hangzhou:       Xixi National Wetland Park        Lingyin Temple 

Questions & Answers on West Lake
  • I didn't find any tours of the West Lake AREA-not only going right around the lake itself.
    Can one be combined with another tour?
    Also, I saw no tour which takes people on the Grand Canal.
    Is there a tour of the water towns?

    Asked By Jerry (USA) | May. 10, 2012 16:22
    1 AnswerAnswer Question
  • can i still see the red maple leaves in hangzhou?where can i find them?

    Asked By Hellen (New Zealand) | Dec. 03, 2010 03:55
    1 AnswerAnswer Question
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