West Lake, Hangzhou, China.
The focal point of a visit to Hangzhou is beautiful West Lake, around which much of the oldest part of the city is centered. Surrounded by hills and historic temples, this large lake covers an area of nearly six square kilometers and is divided into five sections by the Su and Baidi Causeways: the Outer Lake (Wai Hu), the North Inner Lake (Beili Hu), the West Inner Lake (Xili Hu), the South Lake (Xiaonan Hu), and Lake Yue (Yue Hu). The nearly three-kilometer-long Su Causeway was built in 1089 and is itself one of West Lake's most important attractions as it links its north and south banks and is tremendously popular for strolls, particularly in spring when its flowerbeds and peach trees are in bloom (an especially pleasing sight when viewed while taking a boat ride across the lake).
It's also home to many fine old bridges, most notably the Broken Bridge(Duanqiao) linking the Baidi Causeway with the shore. Other highlights are the Pavilion of the Autumn Moon (Pinghu Qiuyue) from 1699, and the Pavilion of the Cranes built around 1300 in honor of poet Lin Hejing, who died in 1028 and whose grave lies nearby. Also worth visiting are the Isle of the Hill of Solitude (Gushan) with its fine views and museums; Little Paradise Island with its four mini-lakes linked by the zigzagging Bridge of the Nine Arches and famous for its lotus blossoms, water lilies, pavilions, and terraces; and the Bay of Flowers (Huagang), a 50-acre park dating back to the 12th century. Another interesting attraction here is the West Lake Museum with its many exhibits related to this important body of water and its influence on the city. Also, be sure to catch one of the fun West Lake musical fountain performances, held each evening at 7pm.
If you have access to a car or aren't averse to taking a tour bus, try to add Qiandao Lake to your travel itinerary. Located 80 kilometers southwest of Hangzhou, this manmade lake is one of the most picturesque settings in an already lovely location and serves as a great place for hiking and water-based activities such as swimming and pleasure boat rides, as well as adventures including diving around the famous Submerged city of Shi Cheng.
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