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Pics from around Xi Hu @ Hangzhou (December 2014)

After I completed the official work at Beijing, the plan was to go to Shanghai. But, I had to take a stop-over at Hangzhou to see the famous Xi Hu (West Lake). Hangzhou is about half an hour from Shanghai and 5hrs from Beijing by bullet train. I did not even have to book a ticket in advance and manage to board an after-noon train from Beijing South station (Line 4 in Beijing Subway).

After the experience in Xian, where we found it tough to find a room, I had booked my accomodation at the 'Redstar Culture Hotel', near the railway station. But, at the time of booking, I did not know that the bullet trains go to the Hangzhou East station, while the hotel was located near the main railway station. Nevertheless, Hangzhou too had a descent metro and I managed to find the hotel without much trouble.

Later in the night, I headed towards the Wu Shan square, at the foothills of Wu Shan (the Wu hills). It involved a good amount of walking and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Xi Hu (the West Lake). Instead, I caught a glance of Chenghuang Ge (the City God's Pavilion), located at the top of Wu Shan and lit beautifully.

Chenghuang Ge (City God's Pavilion), Hangzhou

I took a small hike to the top of Wu Shan, through deserted (and occasionally dark) roads, eventually taking me in front of the Chenghuang Ge. Even though, the whole area was deserted, the building was open and was not sure, if I could go in ... but I took the risk and go inside, expecting a view of the city or Xi Hu (West Lake). I did not manage any view from the top, but the close-up view of the Chenghuang Ge was worth the hike.

Laughing Buddha at Wu Shan square, Hangzhou

After heading back to Wu Shan square, I roamed around a little along the streets. This statue of Laughing Buddha is located right next to the Wu Shan square.

Outside Xi Hu (West Lake), Hangzhou

Next day morning, I was at the famous Xi Hu (West Lake), the main reason why I was at Hangzhou. Measuring about 3.2 km long and 2.8 km wide, the Xi Hu is a world heritage site, famous for many a legends and considered one of the most scenic areas in China.

The Xi Hu has a beautiful walk-way near the entrance and I took a walk around the West Lake, observing the crowd - old and young alike - moving around the lake, enjoying the views.

Baochu Ta (Baochu Pagoda), Hangzhou

A little later, I took a hike up towards Baochu Ta (Baochu Pagoda). This hike was quite interesting as it was fun finding the trail and following it solely based on some sign-boards, as the language was a huge barrier whenever I had to talk to locals and get some information.

Trees near Sunrise Terrace, Hangzhou

I went further up after reaching Baochu Pagoda, hoping to find a different way back to Xi Hu. This eventually took me to the Sunrise Pavillion and then a trail leading somewhere else. With a little shot on time, I decided to head back ... this pic is taken along the trail.

Seats facing Xi Hu, Hangzhou

I was soon back at the Xi Hu walkway, walking around the lake.

Boat in Xi Hu, Hangzhou

There were a few boats taking tourists in to the lake, but I chose to just watch them from the shore.

Su Causeway, Xi Hu, Hangzhou

After walking around the lake for a half circle, I reached the Su Causeway - a series of bridges on one side of Xi Hu, which could take me back to the entrance.

Bridge at Su Causeway, Xi Hu, Hangzhou

One of the bridges at Su Causeway, lined up with beautiful trees.

Leifang Pagoda, near Xi Hu, Hangzhou

Further down the Su Causeway, as I crossed another bridge, I could spot the Leifang Pagoda at a distance.

Fountains at Xi Hu, Hangzhou

Later in the evening, there was a light and sound show at the lake, with the setting sun providing it a wonderful backdrop.

Sandeep at Xi Hu, Hangzhou

I was trying out silhouettes when another photographer offered to take a silhouette of mine too. Soon after this, I was on my way to the train station to catch a train to Shanghai. In the hindsight, planning to go to Hangzhou was very adventurous, given the language barrier, but it worked out as one of the best travel decisions and an unforgettable experience.

© 2017 Sandeep Unnimadhavan