West Lake (Xihu) in Hangzhou

West Lake (Xi Hu in Chinese), located in the southwest of Hangzhou city, is one of the most important spiritual home of Chinese culture elites, with the longest history and biggest influence. Famous for the picturesque landscapes, the lake is divided into several parts by the causeways, with numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands around.

Been divided into several parts by the causeways, West Lake, as well as the surrounding temples, pagodas, gardens and artificial island, makes up the most beautiful landscapes, which attracts millions of visitors come to see the elegant combination of the nature and man-made features.

Hangzhou West Lake

Best 10 Scenic Spots on West Lake

There are ten best-known scenic spots on the West Lake throughout the ages for the natural beauty and cultural relics. If you can understand Chinese, you will also be amazed by the four-character epithet of each scenes, which also presenting the beauty of Chinese language.

  • Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring (蘇堤春曉)
    Su Causeway was named after the builder, Su Dongpo, who is a great scholar and poet in Song Dynasty. When spring comes, the whole causeway (including six bridges) is blanketed by peach blossoms and weeping willows, which form especially charming scenery that tops the list of the ten sights.

  • Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring.
    Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring.

  • Scent of the Quyuan Brewery and Lotuses on the Wind in Summer (曲院風荷)
    Quyuan, close to the banks of West Lake, is used to be an imperial brewery in Southern Song Dynasty. Nearby, there is an abundance of lotus plants growing along its shore. When the gentle summer breeze through, it mixed with the fragrance of lotus flowers and wine, giving you a feeling of refreshment and delight. Though the brewery is no more, the cool evening breeze from the lake still blows and the lotus plants still thrive along the shores of Crooked Courtyard, which has been converted into a public park.

  • Lotuses on the Wind in Summer.
    Lotuses on the Wind in Summer.

  • Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn (平湖秋月)
    The best time to see this view is in autumn, especially on Mid-Autumn night, when the moon is full and bright. You can stay in a lakeside teahouse, enjoying a celestial world, with the moon shining full and bright in the sky, reflected on the shimmering water, and the water and the sky merging in one color at the far end.

  • Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn.
    Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn.

  • Remnant Snow on the Broken Bridge in Winter (斷橋殘雪)
    The name of Broken Bridge (Duanqiao in Chinese) is said to be given for this scene. In a clear day after a snowfall, the snow-covered Bai Causeway looks like a long silver chain over the lake. When the snow begins to melt, it seems to break up when it reaches the end of the causeway, where the dark surface of the bridge appears from the melting snow, and that is the exact scene of the bridge breaks as the snow melts.

  • Remnant Snow on the Broken Bridge in Winter.
    Remnant Snow on the Broken Bridge in Winter.

  • Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset (雷峰夕照)
    This scenic spot is best to see at sunset. The Leifeng Pagoda reflected by the gorgeous evening glow stands on the peacefull Xizhao Hill and casts itself with a grand outline in the sky.
  • Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds (雙峰插雲)
    This view may be only seen on a drizzly autumn or spring day, when the top of Twin Peaks break the cloud cover. Since the Twin Peaks are located on the northwest side of the lake, it is best viewed from Hongchun Bridge.
  • Orioles Singing in the Willows (柳浪聞鶯)
    Aside the West Lake, there is a public park, that replete with weeping willow trees, pavilions, bridges and lawns. Especially in spring, you can hear the orioles singing and see the row of willows weeping branches swaying in the breezes.

  • Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset.
    Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset.

  • Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond (花港觀魚)
    On the southwestern side of West Lake, the Flower Harbor blooms throughout spring and summer. At the garden's Red Carp Pond, you can see fish crowding to the surface to snap up food.
  • Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon (三潭印月)
    It is the famous scene that you can see at the back of RMB 1 bill. This scenic place is famous for viewing the moon scene. While the full bright moon hangs in the sky, candles are lit in the three pagodas. The moon and he shimmering water reflect with each other, forming a fully poetic view.

  • Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon.
    Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon.

  • Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill (南屏晚鐘)
    Located atop Nanping Shan (Nánpíng Shān, 南屏山) on the south side of the lake, Jingci Temple (Jìngcí Sì, 净慈寺) has an extra special bell ringing to bring in the Chinese New Year.

Things to Do on the West Lake

Leisure Cycling Around the Lake

Travelling West Lake by bike is an environmental friendly way to enjoy the sightseeing with more freedom. Feeling the picturesque scenery of Xihu, breathing the fragrant air of nature, you can handle your travel pace well.

There are automatic bike rental stations around the city, and you can pick up and drop off your bike at different locations. You need to buy a magnetic card in advance, to use when collecting a bike and returning it.

Leisure Cycling Around the Lake.

Leisure Cycling Around the Lake.


Short Cruise on the Lake

A cruise on the lake is available during the day and at night by kinds of boats to choose. The painted boats are the most comfortable boats. You can cruise around the Huxinting area, with Traditional Chinese music plays onboard. Another boat taking you around the Huxinting Island is Medium-size yacht.

There are also some self-rowing boats that charged per hour. You can row the boat to Three Pools Mirroring the Moon,Huxingting Island, Yuangongdun and Yanggong Causeway.

Short Cruise on the Lake.

Short Cruise on the Lake.

Tickets to these islands are exclusive, and one person needs to remain at the boat to take care it if your group plans to travel in these islands.

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