Since ancient times the moon has been the eternal theme of Chinese literature and the inspiration for countless poets. In China, the full moon has forever been associated with family reunion and viewing this autumn wonder with friends and family is now an annual custom. In Hangzhou, there are several wonderful places to view the autumn moon and each of the following offers the viewer a different viewing experience.
Where to go:
Three pools Mirroring the Moon (三潭印月) Since 1999 the ‘Three Pools Mirroring the Moon’ has appeared on the back of the 1RMB note. Only national landmarks have the honor of appearing on such notes which therefore highlights the popularity of this unique scenic spot.
This scenic location is also called Lesser Yingzhou (小瀛洲) and is renowned for its unique view of thirty-two moons and for being one of the three islets of the West Lake along with Mid-lake Pavilion (湖心岛) and Ruan Gong Islet (阮公墩). This famous scene is connected by a zigzagging bridge from the south to the north and a dike from the east to the west, which forms a big Chinese character ‘田’. Featuring ‘an islet inside a lake’ and ‘a lake inside an islet’, the ‘Three Pools Mirroring the Moon’ is considered to be a classic example of Jiangnan Garden Design.
In the south of the islet there are three elegant pagodas positioned in the water which are arranged in the shape of a triangle. Each side of one pagoda measures 62 meters long and each rises two meters above the water. Their hollow bodies display five round holes into which candles can be placed and on a mid-autumn night people cover the holes with sheets of thin paper. With the candles lit these pagodas, seen from a distance, create the vision of fifteen ‘moons’ hanging in the air. In addition, the candle light also casts reflections around the lake where another fifteen ‘moons’ can be seen. With both the candle light and moon light magnificently reflected on the lake’s lucid waters a rather extraordinary view of thirty-two ‘moons’ can be captured, however these can only be witnessed on a mid-autumn day when the moon is shining at its brightest and most fullest.
Address: West Lake, Hangzhou (杭州西湖) Tel: 86-571-87179617
Autumn Moon Over the Calm Lake (平湖秋月) ‘Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake’, situated at the west end of the Bai Causeway (白堤), is a lakeside scenic spot that directly faces three sides of the lake. Offering the broadest view of the lake, here you can stand on a water-hemmed terrace or sit on the platform that stretches into the lake, either way, watching the moon on an autumn night rising slowly over the calm lake is poetry in motion.
It is no wonder that this Hangzhou location has earned the title ‘Top Ten Views of West Lake’. Dotted around you are elegantly structured pavilions, zigzagging little bridges and un-even rockeries which, together with the glistening moon and the gentle breeze reflecting and rippling respectively on the mirror-like waters below, will drift you leisurely through one of autumn’s most magical scenes.
Spring is here and so is the 2017 “Intoxicating Springtime” – Hangzhou Outdoor Leisure Season which, in the following three months, will provide the city with over 50 springtime outdoor experiences and tour itineraries. With six themes to choose from such as child-parent, flower viewing, games and sports, spring couldn’t be livelier.
The annual time for picking Longjing green tea leaves, one of the top ten renowned teas of China, has begun in Hangzhou and everywhere tea farmers are now busy picking and hand frying the famous leaves. If you wanted to take a sneak peek at how the farmers meticulously pick their verdant leaves from bushes nestled in undulating hills, or if you wanted to sample, at first hand, this year’s Longjing variety, then head to the following three tea villages which are known for their tea, tea culture and tea-related tourist attractions.