Hangzhou Adventures - Part 3


West Lake enjoys an international reputation for its idyllic scenery and plentiful cultural spots. It is also the only lake in China that enjoys the World Cultural Heritage status. 

Now brace yourselves for the flood of photos!

Tourists can go on a manned boat ride to tour the lake, but be prepared to part with around RMB180. Personally, I prefer steering my own motor boat in the inner West Lake. There's more freedom to it.

Bee-oo-ti-ful places for photo opportunities. Instagram fans rejoice!

Statues of Li Bai bidding his friends farewell. I recall reading about this poem in my Secondary school Higher Chinese textbooks.

As it was a weekday, and it was drizzling, there were few tourists. Claustrophobic no more!

I found it quite amusing that roadside store owners would walk by your side promoting their selfie sticks. Well, I have my own so I was pretty glad no one approached me to hard sell their products. 

I attempted an artsy shot. Goodness knows how long I had to maintain that pose for. My cheek muscles were almost spasming when I finally found the perfect angle for the ideal shot.

Summer and the sea of lotus leaves. I would have loved to see the blooming lotus flowers but they'll only bloom in July and August.

After 4km of walking, I took a break. There are benches all around the lake for tired tourists. This is the place where you can rent a boat to drive around on your own.

More lotus leaves. On a side note, fresh lotus seeds actually taste pretty good.

It was slightly misty on that day, so I couldn't see far.

Knock knock, anyone home?

The Wenlan Pavilion was a museum of sorts that showcases the collections of the Imperial Library (Si Ku Quan Shu 四库全书) and it was built in the Qing Dynasty.

Wenlan Pavilion is a typical Jiangnan courtyard with pavilions, artificial rockeries, corridors, ponds and bridges. Doesn't it remind you of the residences of those rich officials in Chinese dramas set in the past?

A three-storey conserved garden villa with Western and Chinese influences. This would be ideal for the filming of horror movies...

The West Lake has top ten sites from the Southern Song Dynasty, another ten from the 1984 selection, and ten more from the 2007 selection. Almost all of them have poetic names. It would be impossible to visit all in a single day.

For those familiar with the history of Yue Fei (a famous general in the Song Dynasty), you could visit his tomb at the temple built in memory of his contributions. Tickets are required for entry.

Tourists could also visit Lei Feng Pagoda and learn about the Legend of the White Snake. Basically, a young scholar, Xu Xian, fell in love with a gorgeous woman, who was actually a white snake in human form. A monk, Fahai, intervened to save the scholar's soul, and imprisoned the snake in Lei Feng Pagoda. Honestly I think it's pretty overrated and overcrowded with tourists. The only thing worth seeing there is the bird's eye view of West Lake, which isn't exactly worth the expensive ticket cost.

There are hidden corners around West Lake that aren't well-known among tourists, such as the gardens behind Hangzhou's Silk Museum.

The museum offers free entry to all. 

You get to see the amazing embroidery and weaving skills of the ancient Chinese, and learn about the history of silk. These are actual imperial garb from the Qing dynasty.

Flowers in full bloom!

 These ponds are perfect for fishing. I spotted some old uncles with fishing rods and families with fishing nets around. This was taken on my second visit to West Lake (thankfully the weather was awesome then.)

Then, there's the West Lake Museum.

A scaled-down model of the entire West Lake.

And some stuffed animals native to the area.

After walking around for so long, we headed to a nice but rather secluded air-conditioned restaurant 南山人家. If not for recommendations from locals, we wouldn't have known of the place.

We managed to chill in a private VIP room with its own balcony and restroom. 

The dishes were amazing! My favourites would be the spicy mini lobsters (centre), hotpot braised radish (second bottommost from right), fried yolk fish fillet (top left) and thousand islet fish soup (top centre). Though the fish soup didn't quite match up to the standards of the authentic thousand islet fish soup at Thousand Islet Lake itself, it's still pretty impressive.

I swear my taste buds were in gastronomic heaven during my entire holiday. And it was evident that I've put on weight too. :(

More to come in the next few posts~

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