I was happy when Jetstar started budget flights to Hangzhou, China. Zhejiang Province has many interesting scenic spots but Hangzhou’s famous Westlake is the biggest draw for me. There are apparently 36 lakes all over China, named Xihu or Westlake but this one by far is the most famous.
This symbol of Hangzhou lives up to its name as one of the most beautiful lakes in China. I thought as first that this was a natural lake but was originally a lagoon adjoining the Qiantang River. In the 8th century, the Governor of Hangzhou had it dredged & a dike was built cutting off the river completely. Westlake is about 3km long & a bit under 3km wide. There are 2 causeways, the Baidi & Sudi that splits the lake into 2 sections.
I visited Westlake at different times of the day since I was staying at the Orange Crystal Hotel a stone’s throw from the lake. It was great to be able to see the lake in different lightings at various times of the day.
The boat ride in the early morning was totally relaxing & enjoyable though I had to haggle with the boatman to ensure I was not overcharged. Pictures speak a thousand words & so I leave you with the photos I took.
Hangzhou is perhaps less bustling compared to neighbouring Shanghai but she is more charming, laid-back & comparatively inexpensive to visit. You can easily catch the bullet train which plys the Hangzhou-Shanghai route in less than an hour & do a day trip for those who need some retail therapy.
Hangzhou is definitely worth a visit. Early April is the time to view Peach & Plum blossoms at Westlake & the profusion of spring flowers on the embankments of the lake is sheer delight! However it is less crowded in Autumn & my take is that October would be the best time to go.