|"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.
Originally a shallow sea inlet, due to the laying down of silt this 5.68 square kilometers (about 1,404 acres) of water became the famous West Lake. The cultural landscape of the lake initiated in the 9th Century, took shape in the 13th Century and had been thrived since the 18th Century. For about ten centuries, it has always been the spiritual home of Chinese culture elites, the paradise for all strata of Chinese people and a well-known lake in China with the longest history and biggest influence. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List on June, 24, 2011, by the committee of the 35th World Heritage Conference in Paris.
|An Island in West Lake|
Near to the lake can be found the Temple of Soul's Retreat (Lingyin Temple) in its woodland setting near to Peak Flown From Afar (Fei Lai Feng). Legend has it that this limestone peak flew from India where it had formed part of a holy mountain. These are of particular interest to Buddhists and those who have a love of sculpture and art. The Mausoleum of General Yue Fei is a monument to the patriot who was murdered in 1141 at the behest of his archrival Qin Hui, the Song prime minister. These buildings like others in the vicinity of the lake such as the slender Six Harmonies Pagoda add to the calm and beauty of their surroundings.
|Leifeng Pagoda in the Lake Area|
Another natural spectacle to be found here is the Qiantang River Tide that has enthralled people for centuries. Overlooking the river estuary stands the 13 storey high Six Harmonies Pagoda. Dating from 970 and built on the site of an earlier pagoda that served as a lighthouse, the name refers to the six codes of Buddhism i.e. harmony of the body, speech and thought and the renunciation of personal pleasure, opinions and wealth. A climb to the top of the pagoda carries the reward of an impressive view over the river.
Crossing the river is the Qiantang River Bridge. This is the first two-tier bridge to have been designed and built by Chinese engineers in modern times. The other great feat of much earlier engineering is the Grand Canal. Linking Hangzhou in the south with Beijing in the north, this is the longest man-made waterway in the country and surpasses both the Suez and Panama canals.
We hope that this introduction to the delights of the area surrounding the lake will tempt you to visit them for yourself. You can be assured that the splendid and diverse landscape will remain long in your memory as you call to mind scenic sites to be found south of the Yangtze River.
1. West Lake is a large open lake area with some scenic spots around it charging admission fee. For example:
|Spots||Addr.||Admission Fee||Bus Routes|
|Leifeng Pagoda||15 Nanshan Road||CNY40||Y1, Y2, Y3, K4, J5, Y6, Y7, Y9, K291, K504, K808, 822/K822|
|Three Pools Mirroring the Moon||the bigger islet in the southwest of the lake||CNY20||----|
|Chenghuang Pavilion||3 Wushan Road||CNY30||38/K38, Y7, Y8, 8/K8, J9, 25/K25, 34/K34, 35/K35, 40/K40, 59/K59、60/K60|
|Lingyin||1 Fayun Nong, Lingyin Road||CNY30 (Temple of Soul's Retreat) |
CNY45 (Peak Flown From Afar)
|Y1, Y2, 7/K7, Y13, K807/K837|
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.
Hangzhou Bus Search
3. Round-the-lake battery car: CNY40 per person
The battery car can stop at any place along the route and it takes about 70 minutes to round the lake.
4. Sightseeing bus: Y9 is double-decker tourism bus running around the lake. Ticket is CNY 5 for the whole journey. The starting and end point is Huanglong Tourism Dispatch Center.
5. The free tourism bus line has been opened between the lake and Xixi Wetland. The bus starts from Leifeng Pagoda and departs every half an hour from 09:00 to 14:30, back from Xixi Wetland from 11:00 to 17:00.
6. Free shuttle bus from Leifeng Pagoda to Polar Ocean Park is also available. There are four buses a day from 09:30, not timely. The last bus leaves at 15:00 and will be back from the ocean park at 16:00.
Related Links: West Lake Cruise
Recommended Tours including the visit to West Lake:
Hangzhou City Tour: 3 Days Luxury & Standard Tour
Hangzhou Extension Tour: 7 Days Tour of Hangzhou - Ningbo - Putuo - Shanghai
More Hangzhou Tours