Our 3 week China tour – Hangzhou edition

Our next stop after Suzhou was the city of Hangzhou. Any Chinese person will tell you that you must visit Hangzhou for its natural beauty, particularly West Lake. This seems supported by the tourism industry as it’s a stop on most China tours. But in our opinion we think Hangzhou’s reputation is exaggerated and what we saw failed to impress. What was impressive was the traffic. This might be due to the fact that there are three cars for every Hangzhou family.

Despite the traffic we did manage to visit the famous West Lake (and many of its sites), Yu Fei Mu (Temple) and Xixi Wetland Park during our two days in Hangzhou.

WEST LAKE

It’s #1 on Trip Advisor’s list of things to do in Hangzhou and the guidebook refers to West Lake as one of the scenic wonders of the world. It didn’t seem to be any different than Xuanwu Lake in Nanjing or other such Chinese lake parks. But perhaps I just didn’t see it under the right appreciative light.

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Panoramic of West Lake seen through the drizzle

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Escalator going up to a pagoda. And an elevator inside the pagoda to take you up most of the way. Sure beats climbing all those stairs.

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When in China…

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Hoards of people admiring and feeding hoards of koi fish at Huagang Garden on West Lake

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Crooked bridge

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Calm lake

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3 Pools Reflecting the Moon. At full moon, candles are placed inside these small pagodas and the openings covered with paper so that the reflections on the water resemble the moon.

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My Chinese maiden

TEMPLE OF YU FEI

Yu Fei Mu is the tomb of a Song dynasty general who was so successful in his battles that his overlords had him falsely charged and executed for fear he would overthrow them. Yu Fei was revered for his patriotism and became a martyr after his death. To this day, he is still a symbol of patriotism to the Chinese people.

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Front of the temple. Still raining.

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People still bring flower offerings to Yu Fei.

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Burial mounds of Yu Fei and his eldest son.

XIXI WETLAND PARK

It was a lovely green space but it was certainly not like the wetlands we are accustomed to in Canada. Our wetlands are wild and full of wildlife. Xixi Wetland was neither. It was “managed” and “restored” to the point that few birds were seen. We saw two. Xixi Wetland Park is more like a pioneer village but with more green space.

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Wetlands with no wildlife. Notice the wood barrier at the edge of the water that has altered the natural shore. The natural shore is an important habitat for birds and other wildlife.

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Old fishing village that has long been vacated by the inhabitants and is now used for cultural education purposes. Chinese version of the pioneer village.

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Path to the village

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Making noodles the traditional way

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Harder than the kids thought

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Boardwalking

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