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West Lake

Hangzhou is famous for its gorgeous scenery, stunning sites, Dragon Well Tea, and unique culture. The most famous attraction in Hangzhou is the West Lake. It occupies an area of over 60 square kilometers. It is surrounded by stunning scenery and plenty of cultural relics. West Lake is surrounded on three sides by mountains. The banks of the West Lake are beautifully landscaped with flowers and trees. In each of the four seasons the West Lake takes on a different look. In summer hundreds of lotus blossoms bloom, in the fall the Three Ponds are reflected in the lake, in the spring the willows lining the West Lake bud, and in the winter the plum flowers bloom in an explosion of red. There are ten famous sites of the West Lake which are famous throughout China and there is no Chinese person who doesn't know them.

West Lake

Spring arrival at the Su Causeway:
The Su Causeway, located 3 kilometers from West Lake, runs from the Nanping Mountain to the Qixia Hill. A famous poet in the Northern Song Dynasty, Su Dongpo made it by using the mud that he dredged from the West Lake when he worked in Hangzhou. Later generations wanting to memorialize his contributions named the causeway the Su Causeway. At the end of winter the Su Causeway acts like spring's emissary by telling the locals that spring has come because the green willows, in bloom along the causeway dance slowly in the breeze.

Lotus in the Breeze at the Crooked Courtyard:
The crooked courtyard was a distillery located on the banks of the West Lake during the Southern Song Dynasty. Located in the West Lake near the distillery were many lotuses. In summer, when the lotus flowers were in bloom, the warm summer breezes would blow their wonderful fragrances across the area. Sitting by the banks of the West Lake sipping alcohol and enjoying the fragrant lotus blossoms is a favorite part of Summer for locals.

Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake: 
This site isn't actually a particular site at all. Poets for thousands of years wrote classical Chinese poems to express their feelings and the experience of enjoying the moon reflected in the West Lake. On a quiet night, sitting in an open boat to enjoy the full moon reflected in the water is an essential part of experiencing the West Lake.

Melting Snow at the Broken Bridge: 
The West Lake has many ancient bridges. Of all the bridges in the West Lake, the Broken Bridge is the most famous one. The bridge got its name because during winter, when viewed from the West Lake, the bridge appears to be broken because the snow on the bridge blends in with the snow on the bank. Hangzhou rarely has snow day, but when it does snow, all of the locals take a cruise on the West Lake to enjoy the famous view.

Orioles Singing in the Willows: 
Along the bank of the West Lake are hundreds of willows. Orioles like to congregate in the trees and sing to their lovers. It is a wonderful time to sit in a pavilion along the bank of the West Lake with friends, drink some local Dragon Well Tea and enjoy the day.

Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor:
In Southern Song Dynasty, a minister built a personal house here. He fed many beautiful fish and flowers. Many people were drawn to the area to enjoy the fragrant flowers and beautiful fish. The area has become a beautiful large park which is still filled with flowers and goldfish.

Sunset Glow at Leifeng Pagoda: 
It is said that in the ancient past the famous White Snake was sealed underneath the Leifeng Pagoda. The legend of the White Snake is one of the many romantic legends that surround the West Lake. The mountains near the pagoda are full of camphor, maple, and elm trees. It is a wonderful place to stroll.

Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds: 
The two mountains, the Southern Mountain and the Northern Mountain, located on two banks of the West Lake. In the spring and fall, the tops of the mountains are blanketed in mist and clouds. The mountains are stunning to view.

Evening Bell at Nanping Hill: 
Nanping Hill is located on the southern bank of the West Lake. It is only 100 meters high but is over 1 thousand meters wide. In the year 954 A.D., an emperor of the Five Dynasties Period built Jingci Temple on the hill. In the centuries that followed, other temples were built upon the hill also. The bells rung every evening in the temples echoes in the many cracks and crevices of Nanping Hill and can be heard for great distances.

Three Pools Mirroring the Moon: 
There are three islands located in the middle of the West Lake. Located in the middle of the West Lake near the central island are three small stone pagodas which appear as though they are floating in the water. The Three pagodas are known as the Three Pools and can be found on the back of the 1rmb bill. There is a pavilion located on the island nearest the pagodas. Sitting in the pavilion in the evening to enjoy the reflection of the moon in the middle of the pagodas is one of the must be experienced sites of the West Lake. The ten famous sites of the West Lake have been drawing visitors for centuries. They are just one of the many reasons why Hangzhou has been a tourist hotspot.

Recommended China tour with Hangzhou: 20-Day China in a Nutshell

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