West Lake - Xi Hu
This is why you come to Hangzhou, so go see it. It is beautiful on the shore or on a boat. It is beautiful with a cow or with a goat. It is beautiful in the rain or in the sun. It is beautiful when seen slow or on the run. Okay, half of that was Dr. Suess, but really it is beautiful. The west shore is less developed the east where there seems to be a business district.
Hangzhou is a very interesting city. It is reknowned throughout China for its scenic beauty and its historical significance. It was one of the capitals of ancient China, and was visited by Marco Polo, who reportedly called it the most beautiful city in China. One reason for this is West Lake, which, I understand, is a favorite destination for Chinese honeymooners. The lake is very serene, and a boat tour of the lake and its islands is really a relaxing way to spend a few hours. Of course, there are other attractions in Hangzhou which really give you a feeling of the city's history. There is a section in Hangzhou which I call "old town," because the buildings and shops have been restored to the way they probably looked in Marco Polo's day, and the shop people in this section are dressed in period clothing. It really takes you back to a simpler, more peaceful time. Located in "old town" is a medicine museum, which, in its heyday, was a famous pharmacy and medicine factory. Located in the hills surrounding West Lake is Lingyin Temple, an ancient Buddha temple complex with some very interesting architecture. The main building of the temple complex houses the largest wooden Buddha statue in China. And hundreds of statues are carved into the hillside that runs alongside the path leading to the temple. The Six Harmonies Pagoda, which overlooks the Qiantang River and the famous bridge which spans it, is fascinating. You can climb the stairs inside to the top, providing a breathtaking, panaromic view of the river and the outskirts of Hangzhou. The China Silk Museum, which has displays showing the history of silk making through the ages, is located in Hangzhou. And there is also the Longjine Tea Plantation, which is where they raise the tea plants that eventually become the world-famous Longjine Dragon Well Tea, which is shipped all over the world. The surrounding countryside, with its terraced hills of tea plants, is picture-postcard beautiful.