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24/06/2013

Things to do in Hangzhou II

7. Su Causeway - Walk, Ride, or Bike

The Su Causeway is a north-south pedestrian-only path that cuts through the western part of West Lake, popular attraction included in affordable China travel packages. The causeway is 2.6 km long, and it contains several bridges under which small boats can pass through. There are many trees, grassy areas, and benches (good for picnic) all along the way, so if you're not in a hurry, you could plan on strolling the entire length of the Su Causeway. Alternatively, there are electric trams you can take to make the sightseeing faster, but beware that the trams only run in one direction - from south to north on the Su Causeway - and in the clockwise direction around the West Lake. So be sure to plan ahead accordingly, in which order you want to see the sites. You can also rent a bike if you prefer, but you will have a dodge a lot of people when the causeway is very crowded.

8. Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon

This is one of the famous scenic spots along the West Lake. The "Three Ponds (or Pools) Mirroring the Moon" is actually located on an interesting island which contains four lakes itself. You will also notice that this scene can be found on the back of the 1 yuan bill. A good place for some memorable photographs of the lake and the Leifeng Pagoda in the distance. However, since this is on an island, it can become extremely crowded with tourists and tourist groups. It is probably best to go early in the morning.

9. China Silk Museum

This excellent museum is located south of West Lake and is the first state-level professional silk museum in China as well as the biggest silk museum throughout the world. It opened to the public in 1992 and since 2004, people can visit it for free. The museum introduces the 5000-year-long history of Chinese culture silk which in ancient China was experted to the west along Silk Road route (Silk Road tours). China is the earliest country that engaged in sericulture, filature and making clothes with silk. It details what it takes to produce and make silk garments and then exhibits such garments. There's also a shop were you buy silk items.

10. Original Leifeng Pagoda

You can still see the old brick structure of the original Leifang Pagoda which collapsed in 1924. The reason why it fell down is quite a strange one. Due to a superstition that bricks from the tower could repel illness or prevent miscarriage, many people stole bricks from the tower to grind into powder. On the afternoon of September 25th, 1924, the pagoda finally collapsed due to disrepair. On March 11, 2001 a mausoleum was excavated and many treasures were found, most notably a gold and silver coated hair of the Buddha.

11. The Long Bridge

This "bridge" is more a zigzag platform located in the far south-eastern corner of West Lake. In the Song dynasty (960-1279) there was a bridge spanning a big outlet of the lake out of the Qianhu Gate. The story goes that some 820 years ago, a local boy and girl committed suicide by throwing themselves at night into the lake from the bridge under which two lotus flowers came into bloom immediately. With the passage of time, the outlet gradually silted up and the bridge turned into a short one. This bridge was built in 2002 to cover its original length. For more about the Bridget via China tour operator.

12. Lingyin Temple

This temple is without doubt a premier showpiece in the West Lake environs and is notable also as one of the ten most famous Buddhist temples of China. The presence of a temple on this site can be traced back to the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420 AD) when, according to local legend, Hui Li, an Indian monk, came to the area where he was inspired by the spiritual nature of the scenery to be found here. To his mind this had to be a dwelling of the Immortals and so he gave the temple a name "Ling Yin" (Temple of the Soul's Retreat). At its peak under the Kingdom of Wuyue (907-978), the temple boasted nine multi-storey buildings, 18 pavilions, 72 halls, more than 1300 dormitory rooms, inhabited by more than 3000 monks. It has been rebuilt no less than sixteen times since then. The current buildings are modern restorations of late Qing buildings. During the Cultural Revolution, the temple and grounds suffered some damage at the hands of Red Guards. However, they escaped large scale destruction partly because of the protection of Premier Zhou Enlai.

The above-mentioned attractions make contribution to local China tourism.

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