East Lake

The East Lake is situated six kilometers (3.7 miles) to the east of the historic Shaoxing City. With a wonderful combination of a hill, grottoes, stone bridges, it might pass for a miniature landscape. On a par with the West Lake in Hangzhou and the South Lake in Jiaxing, it is one of the three famous lakes in Zhejiang Province. Although it is quite small, its delicacy and elegance rank it among the best resorts in Shaoxing.

The crescent lake is hemmed in by a hill formed of bluestone, a kind of material widely used in building houses, bridges and roads. Stoneworkers had quarried stones from this hill since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220AD). In later times the hill hollowed out, leaving only steep cliffs and a deep pool. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), banks were set up to separate the river outside from the lake inside; the lake was then beautified with diverse bridges, cute pavilions, willows on the banks in an uneven and intriguing pattern. The end-product is this charming lake. New embellishments like a corridor and a tea garden have been added.

It is great fun to sit in a boat - called an aquatic taxi in this area, and to glide silently along the cliffs and grottoes. These taxis tend to be small and exquisitely finished - a work of art in themselves. The cliffs look ominous in their ever-changing colors and hues, as one glides along. The grottoes vary in size and prominence. The entrance of the 'Taogong Grotto' allows only one boat at a time to pass. Visitors, however, can see the sky in the relatively ample interior. The 'Peach Grotto' together with its inverted image in the water resembles a big peach. Arriving at the top of the hill, one can savor a cup of tea and enjoy a splendid view of the ancient town as well.

Admission Fee: CNY 40
CNY 85 for black awning boat tour
Bus Route: 1,  28