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West Lake (西湖) in Hangzhou (杭州)

West Lake is arguably the most famous lake in China; not because it’s very big or because it is very deep, but simply because it is so breathtakingly beautiful. And after visiting the lake this summer, I understand why it has been such a famous location for over a millennium.

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It takes the whole day to explore the lake at a leisure pace. While it is indeed  possible to walk around the lake, I would recommend hiring a bike, as it’s not too expensive in Hangzhou and the traffic around West Lake is pretty nice as you don’t have to compete with cars. Or alternatively you can hop on one of the electric vehicles that constantly circle the lake transporting tired tourists onwards to the next view.

Like I said walking is doable, but you better enjoy long walks and have good shoes. Then again, you don’t have to run around the lake, you can take your time, and sit down on one of the benches that are everywhere on the lakes shores, or even better just sit on the shore and soak your feet in the soothing water (which I had to do a few times).

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There are also plenty of boats going around the lake, which you can use to enjoy the sights more easily; or for just relaxing in. You’ll also need a boat to get to some of the restaurants that are located on the islands at the middle of the lake. And while I am exceedingly fond of restaurants that are located on water and are only accessible by boat, I was still dieting after thoroughly enjoying Beijing cuisine for a week.

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There are ten famous scenes around west lake, but I wouldn’t be too worried about trying to collect them all, pretty much all scenes around the lake are amazing. Besides to see all the scenes in one go would be quite difficult as they depend on time of the day and season such as Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring and Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn. Or even weather, clouds and snow like the Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter or Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds.

Unfortunately I didn’t have six months to wait for the snow, so I just had to do with the sunset, but I can promise that sunset will be magnificent wherever you are on the West Lake.

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See gallery for all my photos from West Lake