One of the most beautiful and famous places to visit in all of China is West Lake. It is located in Hangzhou, in the Zhejiang province of eastern China. A famous poet from the Song Dynasty by the name of Su Dongpo compared the beauty of the lake to the beauty of Xi Zi, the most stunning woman of the era. This area of China has inspired painters and poets for centuries.
In 1982, West Lake became a National Key Scenic Resort and one of the Ten Scenic Resorts in 1985. In 2006, it was named a national 5A tourist resort. It offers visitors a variety of wonderful things to experience.
West Lake has three causeways and covers more than 1400 acres. The average depth of the water is only about five feet and is comprised of five different sections: the Outer Lake, the North Inner Lake, the West Inner Lake, and the Lesser South Lake. Rugged peaks and thick forests surround the lake, making a trip there seem as though you have stepped back in time.
West Lake offers a variety of beautiful sights for those who make their way into the area. On the southern portion of Outer Lake lay a manmade island called the Island of Little Oceans. Within the island are four small lakes. It is here that people can view the famous Three Pools Mirroring the Moon in the evenings when the candles are lit.
Also near the lake and tucked away in the woods is the Ling Yin Temple. This is one of the ten most famous Buddhist temples in all of China. This area has had a temple on the grounds for more than fifteen hundred years, since the time of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. This beautiful temple includes a number of ancient artifacts, the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, and a huge statue of a laughing Buddha.
You can also find the Mausoleum of General Yue Fei, which is a monument to a hero of the Song Dynasty, and visit the nearby National Silk Museum. In fact, you could spend weeks in the West Lake are and never run out of things to see and do.
Some prefer just to visit some of the manmade islands and to walk the mist shrouded forest paths that surround the lake areas. No matter what you like to do, whether it is exploring the countryside or learning about the country's ancient past, you will find it in West Lake.