West Lake (Xi Hu) & Lei Feng Pagoda

When you visit Hangzhou, you cannot miss West Lake. It’s a center attraction and is a heritage site declared by UNESCO World Heritage. The greenery around the lake is absolutely beautiful. It is so nice to have a relaxing walk around the area.

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The West Lake displays different shades of beauty in different weather and season. So, you can visit it anytime of the year. There were many lotuses on the lakes and the dew was shinny under the sun on the leaves. Sometimes dragonflies would fly in the low air. What a beautiful picture it is! We took a lot of photos there as attracted by the view of the West Lake.

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We spent a few hours here. Taking a boat cruise on the West Lake is the best way to view numerous cultural sites, Pagodas and Temples, also the artificial lakes with many willows, their draping foliage, all so utterly mesmerizing.

There was not a single piece of trash in the water, and the lakeside was unspoiled by commercial development. The lake and its surroundings exude a hazy feeling and that is what is special. The lake feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

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The landscape around the lake is really beautiful and there are several boat options to enjoy the artificial islands inside and lots of beautiful gardens, monuments or museums around the lake.

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From center island, we took another boat to the other side of the lake which has the Lei Feng Pagoda. There are countless pagodas and temples in Hangzhou, but the pagoda we highly recommend is the Lei Feng Pagoda.

This pagoda can be seen everywhere and it stands on a small hillside by the lake, rises to the sky and overlooks the area. The road to the top floor of the pagoda is short, only five floors and if you do not want to climb the stairs, you can choose between riding an escalator or taking steps to reach the pagoda on top of the hill.

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The panoramic views from the higher levels are magnificent, with a few small boats slowly cruising in the peaceful and serene lake, and distant hills in the background, one can easily imagine the sceneries in traditional Chinese landscape paintings coming to life.

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The original pagoda was built in 975 by a king who decided to celebrate the birth of his son. The building survived for centuries, but a local tradition eventually led to its collapse in 1924. The tradition was to take a number of bricks from the base of the building, as luck signs.

The pagoda was rebuilt in 2000 on the site of the original pagoda, so that the building is not only a religious building, but also preserves the remains of the ancient building.

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On the ground floor of the building, you can see the remains of the original pagoda and on each floor you will be impressed by the reliefs and the paintings along the rounded walls.

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The walk to the Lei Feng Pagoda and around West Lake is lovely. We enjoyed the grounds and the views are outstanding. The pagoda itself is an interesting story, the building style intriguing and the art work impressive. Certainly worth a visit

Best Times for Visiting West Lake

  • West Lake is suitable for visiting all year round. The scenery varies according to the weather, and season.

Spring — Best Season

  • Spring (March to May) is the best season for enjoying the lake. Green leaves and flower blossoms enhance its beauty. March and April are the peak season for West Lake travel.

Summer — Lotus Blossoms

  • Summer (June to August) is the season of lotus flowers. The lotuses attract many people.
  • “Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard” (a classic West Lake sight) is the best place to see in summer. It is an area by the western shore of the lake. Every summer, there are hundreds of types of lotus in full bloom, attracting many visitors.

Fall — Calm Lake and Clear Sky

  • Fall (September to November) is cool at West Lake. The weather is less rainy, which makes it a good season for walking round or leisurely boating on the lake. West Lake is also a popular place for observing the full moon at Mid-Autumn Festival.

Winter — “Melting Snow on Broken Bridge”

  • “Melting Snow on Broken Bridge” is one highlight of winter. The bridge is not only famous for its snowy scenery, but also for its romantic legend. It was on the Broken Bridge that Bai Suzhen first met her lover, Xu Xian. Then the romance blossomed.
  • Winter (December to February) at West Lake is very cold and wet. Sometimes it snows. The lake in snowy surroundings is a different, still spectacular, sight. Winter is really a good season for enjoying a less-crowded West Lake.

 

Entrance Fee

West Lake is a large open lake area which welcomes tourists for free. However, admission fees will be charged to visit some scenic spots around.

Attractions Opening Hours Ticket Price
West Lake All day long Free of Charge
Lei Feng Pagoda Mar. 16 – Apr.: 08:00 – 19:00
May – Oct.: 08:00 – 20:00
Nov. – Mar. 15: 08:00 – 17:30
Ticket selling stops half an hour before closing.
CNY 40;
Free for children less than 1.2 meters.
Three Pools Mirroring the Moon 8:00- 17:00 CNY 55 (including the boat ticket)

 

Public Transport to West Lake

By Metro: Hangzhou Railway Station 

  • The subway stop at the railway station is called Chengzhan Station (城站)
  • Take line 1 (red line), which is also the only line here, towards either Linping Station (临平) or Xiasha Jiangbing Station (下沙江滨). Both of these are terminal stations for line 1
  • Get off in at Ding’an Road Station (定安路), which is just 1 stop from the railway station. Or get off at Longxianggiao Station (龙翔桥), which is 2 stops from the railway station. Ding’an Road Station is slightly farther from the lake, about 10-minutes walk. Longxiangqiao is very close, just 2 blocks away
  • The subway ride is 10-15 minutes

By Metro : Hangzhou East Railway Station 

  • The only good option is to take the subway line 1 (red line). There are 2 subway lines here so make sure you get on the right one. The line you shouldn’t take is blue
  • Take line 1 towards Xianghu Station (湘湖)
  • Get off in 6 stops at Longxiangqiao Station (龙翔桥) or 7 stops at Ding’an Road Station (定安路). Longxiangqiao is closer to the lake just 2 blocks away. Ding’an Road Station is about 10-minute walk from the lake
  • The subway ride will take 20-30 minutes

By Bus:

  • Take bus 4, 31, 51, 52, 87, 314, 315, 334, 822, JY6, Y2 or y10 to Sudi (Su Causeway).
  • Take bus 7, 324, 807, J1, or Y2 to Lingyin.
  • Take bus 7, 27, 51, 52 or 118 to Yuemiao (Tomb of General Yue Fei).
  • Take bus 27 or 87 to Shuangfeng or Longjingsi (Longjing Temple).
  • Take bus 7 or 25 to Hubin

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