Hangzhou is a beautiful city with a lot of options to offer. Among these attractions, the West Lake is a stunning freshwater lake dividing into five sections by three causeways. Around the lake, you can find beautiful temples, attractive pagodas, and amazing gardens. The lake has four small islands within itself and three of them are artificial. The lake is also listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The History of West Lake
West Lake was a lot different back in the 8th century. Then it was only a lagoon next to Qiantang River but the governor of Hangzhou changed it into a lake. During the time the lake gradually became larger and more magnificent by planting gardens, building pagodas, and constructing islands and causeway from dredged silt.
What to do around West Lake?
The first thing that comes to mind is just taking a stroll around the lake to gather your thoughts and relax. In early spring, you might be able to have the beautiful cherry blossoms to make the walk much more romantic.
Sitting on branches
The environment around the lake is designed like a park with a lot of benches and you can have a resting place with an admiring view.
The boat ride is another option. Chinese style boats will take you around at a slow pace so you can take in all the beauty the lake has to offer. It’s a much soothing experience if you have just left a crowded city.
Renting a bicycle is another one of your choices when vising West Lake. By riding a bicycle, you can cover a larger area faster and enjoy the lake in a whole new manner.
Enjoy a meal
West Lake is surrounded by numerous restaurants. After a long walk or enjoying the boat ride, you can have a vast variety of choices based on your appetite just near the lake.
Attractions of the lake
There are some really attractive places to visit around the lake that are explained below.
Su Causeway is lovely, especially in spring. Famous poet Su Dongpo constructed the Su Causeway in the 11th century. It has a length of 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers).
The Su Causeway has six bridges connected to it and there are lots of willow and peach trees alongside it. At the time of blossoming in spring, the view becomes breathtaking.
If you go to the northwest of the lake, you can visit the Quyuan Garden. This is a collection of gardens grown over many islets and it is known for its lovely spring lotus blossoms.
West Lake has been a great place to see the full moon for a long time. If you go to the west of the Bai Causeway, you can find yourself by the West outer Lake and among Chinese traditional culture with different structures. Indeed, a nice place to appreciate the full moon.
If you move toward the northern shores from the Bai Causeway, you would reach the Gushan Island, which is the largest island of the lake. This island is home to Zhejiang Provincial Museum and Zhongshan Park. Buildings and gardens on this island were once the holiday residence of Emperor Qianlong in 18th.
Su Xiaoxiao’s tomb
Near Xiling Bridge, you can see Su Xiaoxiao’s tomb. She was a famous courtesan and poet. It’s said that she has died in the grief of waiting for her lover to come back. It’s also said that she haunts the area and you can hear the tinkle of the bells on her dress at nights.
Xia Oying Island
The smallest island is called Xia Oying, where the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon is located. They are three stone towers on the south of the island in water and there are some holes on each of them. These towers form a triangle with 68 yards (62 meters) edges and standing 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) tall. At the full moon nights, candles are lit in the towers and their reflection along with the full moon creates the illusion that you can see several moons.
The Leigfeng Pagoda is located to the south of the West Lake. It was constructed by the king of the Wuyue Kingdom to celebrate his concubine pregnancy. It has been damaged and renovated several times later. If you stand on the pagoda which is over 230 feet (70 meters) you can truly enjoy the panoramic view of the lake.
The hill is less than 100 meters high, but it’s 1,000 meters long. The Jingci Temple in the Nanping Hill was built in 954 during the Wuyue Kingdom era. Also, Xingjiao Temple was constructed in 972 during the Northern Song Dynasty era.
Don’t forget about the show!
There is a musical fountain on the lake and it can be a feast for your eyes. You can watch this 15 minutes show for free. If you were lucky, you would also catch some folklore traditional performances with singing, music, and dancing around the lake to cap off a beautiful day in West Lake.
West Lake: A Romantic Spot, Based on Legends…
There is a love story integrated with the lake, which happened between Bai Suzhen and Xu Xi’an. In this story, Bai Suzhen is a white snake spirit and Xu Xi’an is a mortal. These first met on a boat on the Lake and fell in love with each other. Soon after they got married, but something evil was in work for their destiny.
The evil monk Fa Hai imprisoned Xu Xi’an and separated the couple. Bai Suzhen fought back and tried fearlessly to release her husband. But her courage didn’t work and was imprisoned under the Leifeng Pagoda next to the lake. In the end, they were both rescued by Xiao Qing, Bai Suzhen’s sister and the couple lived happily ever after and marked the lake to be forever a romantic place for lovers.
Enduring Memories of Hangzhou Show
This is a huge show focusing on the folklore between Xu Xi’an and Bai Suzhen and the sad story of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai’s love. The show represents 5 acts and its fantastic music, lighting, and dance assure you to have a memorable time here. Two performances are held every day.
|To Broken Bridge or Bai Causeway||Take metro line 1 to Longxiangqiao. When you reach there, walk toward the west to get to the Lakeside Park (Music Fountain) or toward the north to Broken Bridge or Bai Causeway.|
|To the Wushan Mountain area.||Take the same metro to Ding’an Road. When you reach there, toward the west to get to the to lakeside Nanshan Mountain area or toward the south to Wushan Mountain area.|
|To Su Causeway||Take bus 4, 31, 51, 52, 87, 314, 315, 334, 822, jy6, y2 or y10|
|To Lingyin||Take bus 7, 324, 807, j1, or y2|
|To Yuemiao||Take bus 7, 27, 51, 52 or 118|
|To Shuangfeng or Longjingsi (Longjing Temple)||Take bus 27 or 87.|
|To Hubin||Take bus 7 or 25|
|Enduring Memories of Hangzhou Show|
|Ordinary Seats||360 Yuan for adults and 240 Yuan for children between 3.9 to 4.9 ft|
|VIP Seats (first five rows)||400 Yuan for adults and 270 Yuan for children between 3.9 to 4.9 ft|
|VIP Seats on the Upper Floor of the Boat||680 Yuan|
|Distinguished Seats||680 Yuan|
|Leifeng Pagoda||40 Yuan for adults and free for children less than 3.9 ft|
|Three Pools Mirroring the Moon||CNY 55 (includes boat tickets)|
|Every day||All-day long|
|March 16 – April||08:00 – 19:00|
|May – October||08:00 – 20:00|
|November – March||15: 08:00 – 17:30|
|Three Pools Mirroring the Moon|
|Every day||8:00- 17:00|
Besides the boats, there are battery cars that can help you to have a short trip around the West Outer. The ticket price is 40 yuan and the tour duration is about 70 minutes. So, at the time of visiting the West Lake, try these battery cars as well. We will be grateful if you share your comments and questions about the West Lake with us. Our professional guides will reply to your questions as soon as possible.