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West Lake

Location:West Lake Scenic Area, Xihu District, Hangzhou (the center of Hangzhou)
Recommended time for a visit:3 hours
Open: Whole Day Highlights:The first batch of China's key national 5A-level scenic spot opened to the public;One of Top 10 China Attractions;The only China's world cultural heritage in the class of lakes.

How to Get There

To get to the lake, visitors can easily find bus routes at Hangzhou Railway Station, Huanglong Sports Center, Wulin Square or East Railway Station, and get off at Su Di, Ling Yin, Duan Qiao, Qu Yuan Feng He, Yue Miao, Shuang Feng, Long Jing Si, Yan'an Road, Hu Bin or Xihu Dadao Stations.
Available bus routes are 4/K4, 6/K6, 7/K7, 15/K15,16/K16,18/K18, 21/K21, 27/K27, 28/K28, 81/K81, K504, 527/K527, Y1, Y2, Y3, Y4, Y5, Y6, Y7, Y8, Y9.

Introduction

If you are having a Hangzhou package tour,our Hangzhou travel guide will introduce you to see the West Lake,which is one of the Hangzhou tourist attractions,thus giving you a complete sightseeing in Hangzhou.
"Ripping water shimmering on sunny day, Misty mountains shrouded the rain; Plain or gaily decked out like Xizi; West Lake is always alluring."

These are the words composed by the famous Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo (960-1127) when he compared the West Lake to Xi Zi, the most beautiful woman in ancient China. These poetic sentiments leave one in no doubt of the glory of the scenery that inspired them.

West Lake is located in the south-west of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. With its beautiful lakes, mountains and many attractions, it has become the world-famous tourist destination and is known as the "paradise on earth" in the world. It was elected as the first batch of China's key national 5A-level scenic spot opened to the public and it is one of Top 10 China Attractions. With its accumulation of years of history, its unique southern charm and a large number of outstanding cultural landscape help itself to be selected into world cultural heritage list, and it is the only China's world cultural heritage in the class of lakes. The Santanyinyue landscape printed on the back of the paper currency for CNY 1 yuan embodies a special status of the West Lake among numerous China's scenic spots.

The West Lake is a like a shining pearl inlaid on the vast land of China, reputed for beautiful scenery, a multitude of historical sites, brilliant cultural relics, and a profusion of native products. Legend has it that the West Lake was a heavenly jewel fallen to earth. Pragmatists insist that it is a mere lagoon on Hangzhou's western fringe. In any case, West Lake has inspired painters for centuries.

Historical Evaluation of the West Lake

An old Chinese saying goes, 'There is heaven above, Suzhou and Hangzhou below'. Centuries later, Marco Polo called Hangzhou the most enchanting city in the entire world. This is most evident in the West Lake area, the effective, if not geographic, center of Hangzhou.

Hills embrace the lake on three sides; the city proper lies to the east. Ancient Chinese people praised the West Lake area as a land of intoxicating beauty. Su Shi, a poet from the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 AD), likened the lake to Xizi, a Chinese Cleopatra, for its allure.

In ancient times, this place had been a shallow sea gulf before it evolved into a residual lake. The Baidi and Sudi causeways provide access to many parts of the lake. Most of the best known tourist sites lie around and within the lake. With a circumference of 15km, the lake area itself is easy for the visitor to negotiate.

Ten Views of the West Lake

Each view in West Lake has its own feature, when combining together, they also can be on behalf of the essence of the beauty of ancient West Lake. Ten Views of the West Lake were formed in the Southern Song Dynasty, and basically are distributed around the West Lake, some are located on the lake, they are:

1. Spring Dawn at Su Causeway

Spring Dawn at Su Causeway tops the list of the ten best known sights in Hangzhou. The causeway was built during the Northern Song Dynasty by Su Dongpo (1037-1101), a great scholar and famous poet, and was named after him. Stretching 2.8 kilometers (1.7 miles), it includes six bridges and is heavily sheltered by green vegetation. When spring comes, the whole causeway is blanketed by peach blossoms and weeping willows, creating an especially charming scene.

2. Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard

This particular scene has earned its name from the fact that it had an abundance of lotus plants growing along its shores, which was known as Crooked Courtyard. It was also the location of a winery. The "perfume" produced by the combination of the scent of lotus flowers and wine, to which was added the scent of the cool breeze from the lake, was said to be positively intoxicating. Though the winery is no more, the cool evening breeze from the lake still blows and the lotus plants still thrive along the shores of Crooked Courtyard, which has been converted into a public park.

3. Autumn Moon over Calm Lake

This scene is seen from the western end of Bai Causeway. The teahouse with its cement terrace bounded on three sides by water, became one of the traditional places to view West Lake, especially on Mid-Autumn night when the moon is full and bright, so it was named as "Autumn Moon on Calm Lake". This scenic spot covers an area of 6000 square meters (7176 square yards). Various garden plants and flowers intermingle with pavilions and platforms.

4. Melting Snow on Broken Bridge

The most romantic, in origin, of the ten scenic sites is surely the one called Melting Snow on Broken Bridge. According to legend, Broken Bridge, which is not really broken, but is a traditional arched stone bridge, is the site where two lovers, Xu Xian and a beautiful maiden, who is actually a white snake, met and fell madly in love. In early spring, when the snow begins to melt, it melts on one side of the bridge first, due the fact that the other side is in shade, which gives the bridge a split image. Viewed from a distance, it looks as if one half of the bridge has been ripped off, since the snowy side blends perfectly in with the surrounding landscape (hence the bridge's name)

5. Listening to Orioles Singing in the Willows

During the Southern Song Dynasty, an imperial garden, featuring especially weeping willow trees - which is almost always the perfect complement to a seascape - was built on this site. The imperial garden has since become a public park, replete with pavilions, bridges and lawns, and of course the orioles still visit the willows, where they sing as beautifully as when the emperor came here to listen to their song.

 

6. Viewing Fish and Lotus Fronds at Flower Pond

This spot is located at the southern end of Su Causeway. A clean stream flows from Huajia Hill to join West Lake here, and many flowers grow where the fresh water flows in, so it called "Flowery Harbor". This area now has been made into a 22 hectare (54 acre) park with many varieties of trees and flowers, featuring a peony garden which blooms in April and a goldfish pond which is the famous site for viewing fish.

7.Sunset Glow over Leifeng Pagoda

The stone arched bridge is at the eastern end of the Bai Causeway. The legendary tale of Lady White Snake took place here. After a snowfall, the snow on the sunny side melts first, while snow on the shaded side still lingers. Looking from afar, the bridge appears to be broken, thus the name.

8. Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds

Most visitors to West Lake are so fascinated by the lake itself that they often don't notice the surroundings. At the site called Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds, visitors are advised to also lift their gaze from the lake's surface and behold the view on the other side of the lake, where one is rewarded by the sight of two mountain peaks, separated by the short distance of about five kilometers, at the northern rim of the lake. On certain days with low-lying clouds, or on other days when a low-lying fog is present, it is as if these twin peaks pierce through the clouds, the fog, etc., hence the site's name.

9. Evening Bell Ringing at Nanping Mountain

This site, like most of the other sites at West Lake, is to be enjoyed to its fullest under certain specific conditions; Evening Bell Ringing at Nanping Mountain, as the name suggests, is to be enjoyed at dusk, when the sun slowly sets, its softened rays casting their multi-colored reflections on the surface of the lake. At this hour the huge bell of Jingxi Temple peals, its clear, forceful sound reverberating across the lake, as if amplified in the still evening air, calling for humility and reminding Buddhists of their age-old religious heritage - and indeed, reminding anyone who experiences this beautiful setting of his or her ultimate smallness within the larger scope of things.

10. Three Pools Mirroring the Moon

Three miniature stone pagodas, which act like beacons, built over 800 years ago and 2 meters in height, are the centerpiece of the scenic spot called "Three Pools Mirroring the Moon". To the west of Three Pools Mirroring the Moon Island stand rounded hollow stone pagodas with five round holes like windows around the top and bottom levels. On the night of the Mid-Autumn festival, when the moon shines full and bright in the sky, a candle is lit inside each of the pagodas. The light from the holes and the moon cast their reflections on the water, hence the name.

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