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Hangzhou West Lake

Introducing Hangzhou West Lake, Hangzhou West Lake guide, Hangzhou West Lake Travel Guide
Article from Hangzhou Municipal Commission of Tourism

Among the world’s best rated lakes, Hangzhou’s wondrous West lake cannot be rivaled. The real attraction of Hangzhou West Lake, however, lies not on the surface, but in its abundant wealth of legend, myth, and enigma accumulated over various dynasties.

Throughout China, there is no other lake which has caught the imagination of so many poets, scholars, painters, sculptors, calligraphers and even emperors over so long a time. Blessed with enchanting natural scenery and an enduring cultural legacy immortalized by a multitude of poems, calligraphy masterpieces, paintings and sculptures, Hangzhou West Lake’s boundless charm is not only a visual spectacle, but also an experience felt by the heart.

To depict Hangzhou West Lake's surreal beauty, Su Dongpo wrote in his poetry:

The shimmering ripples delight the eye on sunny days.
The Dim hills present a rare view in rainy haze.
West Lake compares to Xi Zi at her best.
She is gorgeous richly clothed or plainly dressed.

This poetry does full justice to Hangzhou West Lake’s beauty. Resplendent with temples, museums, islands, villas, tea houses, memorial halls, pools, arched bridges, pagodas, monasteries, and casual walkways lined with classic willow trees, the culture-laden Hangzhou West Lake, a consummate performer, is destined to bewitch, mesmerize and overwhelm each visitor taking in its beauty.

The legendary origin of this beloved lake, has various versions. One of the most famous sayings holds that a dazzling pearl fell from heaven and morphed into an instantaneous paradise in Hangzhou. A popular poem sheds light on its mystical origin, and it goes like this:

The West Lake, a dazzling pearl
Falling from the sky,
The Flying Dragon and Dancing Phoenix
Forever standing by.

Geologists, however, put forward a less romantic view. They state that Hangzhou West Lake was once a lagoon near the mouth of the Qiantang River. What we see today is the action of lasting dredging efforts over the past millennium.

There are many classic tales of love and woe set at Hangzhou West Lake, among which Lady Snake White and Liangshanbo and Zhuyingtai stand out as the two most famous.

Due to Hangzhou West Lake's historical and cultural significance, Hangzhou West Lake was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. UNESCO quotes that :

Hangzhou West Lake is an outstanding example of a cultural landscape that displays with great clarity the ideals of Chinese landscape aesthetics, as expounded by writers and scholars in the Tang and Song Dynasties. The landscape of Hangzhou West Lake has had a profound impact on the design of gardens, not only in China, but further afield, where lakes and causeways have imitated the harmony and beauty of Hangzhou West Lake. The key components of Hangzhou West Lake still allow it to inspire people to project feelings onto the landscape. The visual parameters of this vast landscape garden are clearly defined, rising to the ridges of the surrounding hills as viewed from Hangzhou.

Quick Facts on Hangzhou West Lake

• Name: Hangzhou West Lake
• Location: West Lake, Hangzhou
• Phone: +86-571-87179617)
• Best Time to Visit: March to May
• Recommended Time for a Visit: 3 Hours
• Opening Hours: All day 
• Admission Fee: Free 
• Battery Car: CNY40

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