The photos of our 2 days at the West Lake (Xi Hu) in Hangzhou say more than the whole post. But I still won’t forgive myself 🙂
At our hotel (Touran Backpacker Hostel in the woods behind the lake), we could rent bikes for the day – we had no idea how we’d be cursing later (if only momentarily), so we went for it.
It was only gradually on the ride that we discovered that my bike had a broken derailleur and a completely loose seatpost (with rusted bolts, so no one could do anything about it without proper tools…). At least the brakes worked 🙂 Alice also had a loose seat, but mostly a punctured soul 😀 So a great ride was taken care of.
Just be warned – you can’t ride a bike within the lake itself and the associated parks and gardens, there are rangers at every turn and they will quickly pry you away
We walked all the way to Leifeng Pagoda and then back to the anchorage – it was clear where we were going next 🙂
We took the ferry to the central beautiful islet of Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, where we had a (unexpectedly) fresh Dragon Well in one of the gardens 🙂 It tasted fabulous! We left our bikes on the shore, so we took the same ferry back (but we could have gone to all the other sides and other docks on the lake – you got a ticket to the center islet and “back” for one price.
We rode our bikes (although it’s not exactly kosher to park rules) across the main bridge that connects the southern and northern parts of the entire lake (which, by the way, is divided into x smaller lakes by individual bridges or banks). We passed a few shops (I was looking for the requisite tin tea boxes to bring our purchases home safely), but mostly we “anchored” our bikes and walked to another beautiful little island and back around the smaller Beili lake, across the Baidi “bridge” and along the northern shore back to our bikes.
Eventually we cycled or walked (because of the beautiful gardens, bridges, scenery, pagodas = you could spend weeks here in utter bliss) around the lake on the west side to our hotel to the south.
It was a full day trip and we only circumnavigated the southern part of the lake, one small island, the northern tip, and rather slowly and leisurely the western part. We didn’t make it to the east of the lake and especially all the adjacent parks, forests, hills (like Lion Peak) and “mountains” where Lung Ching (Long Jing aka Dragon Well) tea is grown. Hopefully next time 🙂 Will you join us?