West Lake or Xihu is a freshwater lake located in the historic area of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province in eastern China. The lake is divided by the causeways of Su Di, Bai Di, and Yanggong Di. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake.
West Lake has influenced poets and painters throughout the ages for its natural beauty and historical relics, and it has been among the most important sources of inspiration for Chinese garden designers, as evidenced by the impact it had on various Chinese classical gardens. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, and was described as having "influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries" and as reflecting "an idealized fusion between humans and nature."
Overview of West Lake
There are dozens of lakes called West Lake worldwide, but "West Lake" usually refers to the Hangzhou West Lake, which is located in the western area of Hangzhou City. It is surrounded by mountains on three sides. The average depth of West Lake is 3 meters, and the capacity is about 14,290,000 cubic meters. The lake is divided by Gu Shan, Bai, Su and Yanggong Causeways into five areas. Ordered by their areas, they are Outer West Lake, West Inner Lake, North Inner Lake, Little South Lake and Yue Lake. "Outer West Lake" is the largest. "Gu Shan" or Gu Hill is the largest natural island in the lake. Su & Bai Causeways run across the lake. Three small man-made islands, "Xiao Ying Zhou", "Hu Xin Ting", and "Ruan Gong Dun" lie in the center of Outer West Lake. Thus, the basic layout is "one hill, two causeways, three islands, and five lakes".
West Lake is not only famous for its picturesque landscape, it is also associated with many scholars, national heroes and revolutionary martyrs, thus embracing many aspects of Chinese culture. In addition, many ancient buildings, stone caves and engraved tablets in surrounding areas are among the most cherished national treasures of China, with significant artistic value.
How to get West Lake
To get to the lake, visitors can easily find bus routes at Hangzhou Railway Station, Huanglong Sports Center, Wulin Square or East Railway Station, and get off at Su Di, Ling Yin, Duan Qiao, Qu Yuan Feng He, Yue Miao, Shuang Feng, Long Jing Si, Yan'an Road, Hu Bin or Xihu Dadao Stations. Available bus routes are 4/K4, 6/K6, 7/K7, 15/K15,16/K16,18/K18, 21/K21, 27/K27, 28/K28, 81/K81, K504, 527/K527, Y1, Y2, Y3, Y4, Y5, Y6, Y7, Y8, Y9.
Round-the-lake battery car: The battery car can stop at any place along the route and it takes about 70 minutes to round the lake.
Sightseeing bus: Y9 is double-decker tourism bus running around the lake. Ticket is CNY 5 for the whole journey. The starting and end point is Huanglong Tourism Dispatch Center.
The free tourism bus line has been opened between the lake and Xixi Wetland. The bus starts from Leifeng Pagoda and departs every half an hour from 09:00 to 14:30, back from Xixi Wetland from 11:00 to 17:00.
Free shuttle bus from Leifeng Pagoda to Polar Ocean Park is also available. There are four buses a day from 09:30, not timely. The last bus leaves at 15:00 and will be back from the ocean park at 16:00.