Lakes with the same name of “West Lake” are legion. But of all the “West Lakes”, West Lake in Hangzhou is oft-lauded as the most beautiful one, particularly in the Chinese circle around the world. This World Cultural Heritage crowned lake is well known for its charm of traditional Chinese landscape and cultural legacy behind it.
As a drifter originally from Hangzhou, each time I return to my intoxicating hometown, the first thing to do is stroll along the lakeshore of West Lake for a long-wanted feel and touch of the lake which dominates the psyche of Hangzhou locals.
Early morning wander or later afternoon stroll along the lake is exhilarating, stretching your bodies and extending your minds. If you are enthusiastic photographers, you won’t miss the golden time both around sunrise and sunset to snap some brilliant shots of the lake against its three-sided mountains and fiery sunglow.
Plan your Hangzhou tour for viewing the local sunrise and sunset? My favorite place for seeing sunrise over West Lake and the city itself, is the hill on the north edge of West Lake – Baoshishan ( Precious Stone Hill ).
Baoshi Shan is teemed with unique caves, weird stones and rocks. There are some Buddhist and Taoist shrines nestled here on the green hill. A slender pagoda known as Baoshu Pagoda is atop the hill, facing the chubby Leifeng Pagoda across the lake in the south.
Check out the time for sunrise the night before and get up early to catch the sunrise. Basically it takeas about 15 minutes to clamber up to the high rocks west of Baoshu Pagoda. These rugged high rocks are perfect spots to have a panoramic view of the lake and the downtown Hangzhou on the east lakeshore of West Lake.
The slim Baoshu Pagoda is a road sign, following which you guide your hill hike for shooting sunrise over West Lake.
There are two places to view the sunsets over West Lake – The Lakeside Park and Longqiao Park. On the east shore of the lake, the Lakeside Park is actually composed of 6 sub-parks, namely from Lakeside Park One to Park Six. You can easily walk along the shore with the six lakeside parks.
Another place for seeing the sunset over West Lake is Changqiao Park, on the southeast corner of the West Lake. In the park, there is a pavilion known as “Xizhao Pavilion”, literally means “Sunset Glow” in Chinese. It is one of the best spots to take pictures of the sunset over Leifeng Pagoda, and the lake, hence the classical scene “Sunset over Leifeng Pagoda”.
Tip: Hassle-free Hangzhou Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for Hangzhou Guided Tours:
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