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Ultimate Picks of Must Sees in Hangzhou

One of the seven capitals of ancient China, Hangzhou is an ancient cultural city and a well-known tourist destination. In the 13th century, Marco Polo praised Hangzhou as the most beautiful city in the world. Here is a list of our ultimate pick of must sees in Hangzhou and we have to admit this is a difficult choice as Hangzhou has so many places that are both beautiful and culturally appealing.

1. West Lake 西湖

Held in the embrace of hilly peaks on three sides, this water wonderland has been an attraction for centuries. The lake and its environs have all the elements of a traditional Chinese garden but on a grand scale. The natural setting of strangely shaped peaks, serene forests and springs, dense foliage and a myriad of blossoms, especially in springtime, are enhanced by a treasury of sculpture and architectural features. Whatever the season, the panorama is pleasing to the eye and the nuances of light shade together with the moods of the weather present an ever-changing picture that justifiably has been described as 'intoxicating'.

2. Spring Dawn at Su Causeway 苏堤春晓

It's a 2.8 km. long boulevard cutting across the south-north scenic area, and lined with trees and flowering plants. When Spring comes with crimson peach blossoms and green willows; the scenery is all the more charming. Strolling along the boulevard, one feels as if the West Lake were wakening in dawn mist. Young willows were ethereal, spring breeze so caressing, and birds were chirping in unison.

3. Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden 曲院风荷

In Southern Song Dynasty, Quyuan Courtyard was an official vinery where many lotus were planted. However, later it became a small garden with a few lotus flowers planted in the water in front. Started from 1983, an extension project has been under way to develop it to a huge park. Currently, the park includes five sections: Yue Lake, Bamboo Garden, Lotus Garden, Winding Garden and Lakeside Forest. Therefore it is very popular attractions for the tourists with General Yuefei’s Tomb, Guo’s Villa and Hangzhou Botanical Garden around. Especially in summer breezes, the air is scented with delicate fragrance of lotus intermingled with the tasteful bouquet of wine.

4. Three PoolsMirroringtheMoon 三潭印月

The three stone pagodas, first built over 800 years ago,2 meters in height, are the main scenic spot calling 'Three Pools Mirroring the Moon'. To the west of the isle stand three ball-shaped hollow stone pagodas with five round holes around. At the night of the Mid-Autumn festival, when the moon shines full and bright in the sky, a candle is lit inside each of the pagoda, the light and the moon cast their reflections through the holes on the water, hence the name.

5. Inquiring About Tea atDragonweu 龙井问茶

Dragon Well is a circular pond 2 meters in diameter, the spring water drains down to a brook along the Yingma bridge, Huangni Hill and finally winds it way into West Lake through Mao Jia Bu. What is more interesting to see is a “dividing line” on the surface of the well water when it is stirred, a line that, like a hair spring and disappears slowly.

6. Lingyin Temple 灵隐寺

The Lingyin Temple stands at the foot of the Beigao Peak and faces the Feilai Peak (Peak That Flew Here) across a stream. With many old trees, groves of bamboo, and quiet and beautiful surroundings, the Lingyin Temple is one of the most famous temples south of the Changjiang (Yangtze) River, and it attracts a great number of tourists from home and abroad.

7. Six Harmonies Pagoda 六和塔

Located on Yuelun Hill overlooking the Qiantang River and south of West Lake (Xi Hu), the Six Harmonies Pagoda is one of the true masterpieces of ancient Chinese architectures. There is a spiral staircase leading to the top floor and upon each of the seven ceilings are carved and painted figures including animals, flowers, birds and characters. Each story of the pagoda consists of four elements, the exterior walls, a zigzagged corridor, the interior walls and a small chamber. Viewed from outside, the pagoda appears to be layered-bright on the upper surface and dark underneath. That is a harmonious alternation of light and shade.

8. The Qiantang Tidal Bore 钱江涌潮

The extraordinary surging tide of the Qiantang River on the eighteenth day of the eighth lunar month (also around the Mid-Autumn Day) is a world-renowned natural wonder. The soaring tide of the Qiantang River is such a marvelous spectacle that only the Amazon River's surging tide rivals it! When the surging tide comes, the water can rise up to a height of 30 feet and the noise it generates sounds like thunder, or thousands of horses running. Various activities will also be held to celebrate the annual Tide - Watching Festival, according to local custom.

9. The Grand Canal 大运河

The Grand Canal, 1,764 km (about 1200 miles) in length, is the longest man-made waterway as well as being the greatest in ancient China, far surpassing the next two grand canals of the world: the Suez and Panama Canals. Running from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in the south to Beijing in the north of China and connecting different river systems, the Grand Canal contributed greatly to ensure that the Chinese primary economy thrived in past dynasties. Now more than 2000 years old, some parts of the canal are still in use, mainly functioning as a water-diversion conduit.



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