West Lake (Xi Hu)
There are many "West Lake" in China but the West Lake in Hangzhou is the most famous one. As the Long Bridge was full of people, I managed to find 1 spot where I could take a good view of West Lake as well as the Leifeng Pagoda afar.
Hangzhou - a city of opposites
Six million people, hustle, bustle, shop-till-you-drop if that's your idea of a vacation.
The main tourist market seems to stretch forever and contains a seemingly endless variety of stalls/shops.
There's even an Irish bar just off the main street at the east end!
The Silk Market (see photo) is also well worth a visit, but be careful about checking the quality when comparing prices between the stalls.
It's worth haggling on prices too.
There's a great deal of history & culture to be found. Marco Polo described it as " The most beautiful city in the world " after his visit and there is a lot to see.
I've stayed twice in the Ramada (Hai Hua) Plaza hotel. It has good rooms,excellent staff and the food is excellent. It is situated close to the shops, but only about 200 metres from West Lake.
"The West Lake"
The West Lake is ,as its name suggests, on the West side of the City! Whilst not large in area, it is a beautiful antidote to city life.
In a few hundred metres one moves from a busy city to an area of calm and tranquility.
Early mornings see the local chinese of all ages practicing Tai Chi and dancing, from senior citizens in everyday clothing to those that can only be described as "performers", clad in traditional chinese silk costumes.
The most bizarre sight for me however, was the group of ladies I came upon who were preparing to exercise early one morning.
I noticed that they were wearing what looked like tap-shoes and stayed toseewhat they were going to perform
The small hi-fi was switched on - and they started dancing to the music of .........Riverdance!
The lake is surrounded by a number of good-quality hotels and restaurants and the best Chinese restaurant that I have ever been in Zhei Wei Guan - is only a 10-minute ride away.
This restaurant has to be seen to be believed. The location, the range of food, the busy and efficient staff come together to provide a visual and gourmet experience that ypou would find hard to equal. I advise booking, especially in the summer and at weekends.
"The river dance"