There are 36
lakes in China called Xi Hu, but this one is
by far the most famous. Indeed, this West Lake is the one from which all other west
lakes take their name.
Xi Hu is the
symbol of Hangzhou, and can make for a pleasant outing.
Twilight and dawn can be better times to view the lake, especially when itâ€™s
layered with mist.
Xi Hu was
originally a lagoon adjoining Qiantang Jiang. In the 18th century the governor
of Hangzhou had
it dredged; later a dike was built that cut off from the river completely. The
resulting lake is about 3km long and a bit under 3km wide. Two causeways, the Baidi and the Sudi, split the lake into
each have a number of arched bridges, large enough for small boats and ferries
to pass under. The sights are scattered around the lakeâ€”a motley collection of
gardens, bridges and pavilions. Many have literary associations that are
unfortunately lost on most foreigners.
The largest island in the lake is Gu
Shan (Solitary Hill Island)â€”the location of the
Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Zhongshan Gongyuan and the
restaurant Louwailou Caiguan. The islandâ€™s buildings and garden were part of
the holiday palace
of Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century. The Baidi causeway links the island to the mainland.
island in the middle of the lake is known as Lesser Yingzhou where you can look
over at Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, the three small towers in the water on
the south side of the island. Each tower has five holes that release shafts of
candlelight on the night of the Midâ€”Autumn Festival in September, when the
noon is full.
available for hire, along with a boat person who rows from the back. Larger
boats also cruise from docks along the eastern and northern sides of the