About 20 minutes north of the Qiantang River (Qiántáng Jiāng, 钱塘江) from Liuhe Pagoda, the Nine Creeks and Eighteen Gullies (Jiǔ Xī Shíbā Jiàn, 九溪十八涧) make for a lovely stroll or bike ride through attractive countryside. Heading north from the river, the main path passes through paddies and tea terraces, along pleasant streams and, ultimately, to a small lagoon, a teahouse and the Longjing Tea Plantations further into the hills, terminating at Longjing Village (Lóngjǐng Cūn, 龙井村). You can also head south from..
Liùhé Tǎ (六和塔), or "Six Harmonies Pagoda," stands south of West Lake, aside the Qiantang River. The 60 m (196 ft) tall pagoda was built during the Song Dynasty in part to gain the favor and assistance of Heaven in warding off floods and in moderating the Qiantang River's unique tidal bore, when a massive wall of water rushes upstream under optimal lunar conditions. The Qiantang tidal bore is the world's largest, rising up to 9 meters (30 ft) and attaining speeds up to 40 km per hour (25 mph). If you happen to be in..
The Xiling Seal Society (Xīlíng Yìnshè, 西泠印社) is a charming institution dedicated to the study, preservation and creation of classical Chinese inscriptions, printmaking and painting. Located in West Lake on Solitary Hill island just opposite Zhongshan Park (Zhōngshān Gōngyuán, 中山公园), the Society boasts a history of over 1,900 years. On a rising slope, the Xilin Seal Society grounds are covered in beautiful gardens, rockeries, and sculpture and provide a great place to explore or just relax. The Society has..
Completed in 1861, this elegant garden villa was built as a private retreat for a wealthy Qing Dynasty silk merchant. Guo's Villa (Guō Zhuāng, 郭庄) is a fine example of Chinese aesthetics in which the manmade and natural blend in harmonious balance. The main hall and courtyard are built in a traditional Zhejiang style, arranged to face the waters of West Lake. Facing the Su Causeway, the villa is also within view of Southern Screen Hill and the Baochu Pagoda. The villa is divided into two sections: the residential quarters and..
Hangzhou is famous for three things: its water, its fertile and picturesque countryside, and ancient tradition. All three combine in a perfectly brewed cup of Longjing tea (Lóngjǐng chá, 龙井茶). Ideally made with water straight from the Dragon Well (Lóngjǐng, 龙井) and leaves picked from the terraces of the Longjing Tea Plantation (Lóngjǐng Wèn Chá, 龙井问茶), a cup of this delicate green tea connects you with some two thousand years of history, going back to the second century AD when Dragon Well water was discovered and combined with green tea..
If you're looking to escape the tourist hordes that surround Hangzhou's West Lake, then a walk up the slopes of Jade Emperor Hill (Yùhuáng Shān, 玉皇山) could be just what you're looking for. Despite a fairly central location, it doesn't attract many visitors and so makes for a welcome break after doing the rounds of Hangzhou's more prominent attractions. Sitting directly south of Leifeng Pagoda, the hilltop reaches a height of 239 m (784 ft), and the journey up the 2600-step footpath rewards with quite lovely views of both the..
One of the traditional "Ten Scenes of West Lake," the sight of the Autumn Moon Over the Peaceful Lake (Pínghú Qiūyuè, 平湖秋月) was usually taken in from a boat out on West Lake. In his reformed list of the "Ten Scenes," the Qing Emperor Kangxi had a pavilion specially constructed on the Bai Causeway (Bái Dī, 白堤) from which to view the moon reflecting off the calm waters. As with other views of the lake, such as the Su Causeway's "Spring Dawn," timing is important. If, however, you find yourself in Hangzhou..
Leifeng Pagoda (Léifēng Tǎ, 雷峰塔), rising above West Lake's south shore, is a fascinating window on Chinese culture and history as well as a wonderful place from which to view Hangzhou's famed lake. The Leifeng Pagoda ranks on the traditional list, later standardized by Qing Dynasty Emperor Kangxi, of the "Ten Scenic Spots of West Lake" as "The Glow of Sunset Upon Leifeng Pagoda" (Léifēng Xīzhào, 雷峰夕照), the viewing spot for which is north of the pagoda itself. The pagoda we see today was rebuilt atop the ruins of..
Comprised of the Red Carp Pool and the Peony Garden, Flower Harbor (Huā Gǎng, 花港) is the sight of a former private garden built and owned by Lu Yunsheng, an imperial official of the Southern Song Dynasty, along West Lake. Watching the fish of Red Carp Pool in Flower Harbor was part of the traditional "Ten Scenes of West Lake" later standardized by Qing Dynasty Emperor Kangxi. Today, Flower Harbor is open to the public, providing year-round natural beauty. Spring in the Peony Garden is glorious with pink, violet and custard-colored blossoms..
The Lingyin Temple (Língyǐn Sì, 灵隐寺), which literally means "where the divine rest in seclusion," has long been considered one of the most important Zen Buddhist (Chán in Chinese, 禪) temples in China. Established in 326 AD, Lingyin is located at Feilai Feng, making it one of Hangzhou's most significant and popular attractions. Founded by a legendary Indian monk known as Huili, Lingyin is lined with various limestone sculptures and smaller shrines, including Ligong Pagoda (Lǐgōng Tǎ, 理公塔), where Huili's ashes are..
Overview A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2011, Hangzhou's premier tourist attraction, West Lake (Xī Hú, 西湖) and its surrounding gardens, hills, rockeries, temples, pagodas and parks have for centuries inspired poets, officials and tourists with their beauty. This beauty pulls an estimated 12 million domestic tourists and half a million foreign tourists annually making it—and, consequentially, Hangzhou—one of China's most tourist-heavy locales. The lake covers a sizeable area on the southwestern edge of the..