From 11:00 to 23:00 — 24 Hours Around West Lake (Ⅱ)
From 11:00 to 13:00
Praying in Xiangji Temple and Indulging Yourself with Delicacies in Shengli River Food Street
Chinese people are well-known for taking eating as the top priority, which contributes a lot to its wide range of dishes and extremely abundant food culture. Hangzhou is no exception. There are many food streets in Hangzhou, but Shengli River Food Street (胜利河美食街) stands out. Different from other food streets, Shengli River Food Street is a hotchpotch of cuisines and snacks from different parts of China. Without stepping out of the street, you can sample all the representative cuisines in China, such as Cantonese Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, let alone Zhejiang cuisine.
Not far from Shengli Food Street is Xiangji Temple (香积寺) which has underwent many battles. It is the most prestigious temple in Gongshu District (拱墅区). Back in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Xiangji Temple was the distribution center of pilgrims to Lingyin Temple and Tianzhu Temple. Every day, thousands of boats passed by Xiangji Temple which is quite spectacular. Besides its important status in Hangzhou Buddhism culture, Xiangji Temple also houses a historic pagoda which was listed as cultural relic under municipal protection by Hangzhou in 1963.
From 13:00 to 15:00
The Former Residence of Hu Xueyan (胡雪岩故居)
Hu Xueyan is a legendary businessman and at the same time an official of the Government of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912). He was also the founder of the famous Hu Qing Yu Tang — No. 1 Traditional Chinese Medicine Pharmacy in Jiangnan (a geographic area). Back then he was extremely wealthy. It’s said that his fortune was half of the financial income of the Qing government. So you can imagine how luxurious his residence can be.
As large as 7,200 square meters, the Former Residence of Hu Xueyan is a typical Jiangnan style mansion. Its structure is quite complicated. People can easily lose their way here. In the mansion, the number of the buildings built for Hu Xuyan, his mother and wives to live in are more than nine, let alone numerous pavilions, rockeries, bridges, gardens and ponds. Connecting by delicate corridors and lanes, each building has distinctive style, function and name. In addition, without exaggeration, the residence is a museum of various kinds of carvings. Wood carving, brick carving, and stone carving are everywhere.
From 15:00 to 17:00
Yongfu Temple (永福寺)
To the west of Lingyin Temple, at the foot of Shisun Peak (石笋峰) lies the over-one-thousand-year-old temple — Yongfu Temple. The temple features the architectural style of Tang Dynasty (618-907). Not far from the temple is a tea field of about 2,666 square meters. Every year around Tomb-sweeping Day (around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar), monks in the temple are busy picking tea leaves. While in autumn, the place boasts serenity with red or brown trees all over mountains. It’s a great pleasure to sip a cup of tea and chat with monks in such an environment.
From 17:00 to 19:00
According to historical records, Maojiabu was named for the couch grass (mao in Chinese) all over the place. It was the starting point of the famous “Pilgrim’s Path”. In the past, pilgrims had to rent a boat to cross West Lake and land at Majiabu, from which they then went on to Tianzhu Temple and Lingyin Temple to worship Buddha. The way leading to the temples has ever since been known as Pilgrims’ Path.
In late 1940s, the road from Hubing to Lingyin was open to traffic. Since then, people began to take buses to the temples. And Maojiabu gradually faded away from people’s sight. For the next seventy years, Maojiabu haven’t been disturbed. With Yanggong Causeway gaining reputation, Maojiabu which is along Yanggong Causeway came into people’s sight again. People are amazed at its rustic scenery, especially the scenery at dusk.
From 19:00 to 21:00
The Romance of the Song Dynasty (宋城千古情)
Renowned as “Top Three Shows in the World” along with “Moulin Rouge“ in Paris and “O Show“ in Las Vegas, the Romance of the Song Dynasty is an indoor, panorama style, large-scale performance.
The show is based on Hangzhou history and mythology and is intermixed with singing, dancing and acrobatics. Viewing the show can help you understand Hangzhou’s present and past: from Liangzhu Culture to the prosperity of the Southern Sony Dynasty; from General Yue Fei’s defense against the invasion to the legend of the White Snake. The Romance of the Song Dynasty narrates not only the history of Hangzhou, but its soul as well.
From 21:00 to 23:00
Beishan Street (北山路)
Beishan Street is the only historic street in the West Lake Scenic Area, along which scatters many famous villas which can date back to last century. They are of various types, from mansions to private houses, from traditional Chinese style to western style. Beishan street witnessed the prosperous Hangzhou during the Republican Era (民国时期), and is a veritable museum without walls, showing visitors the history and its legacy.
Beishan Street at night features different flavor. Those villas were highlighted by colorful lights and the dark night. Behind each villa lies a story, like Qiu Sui Villa (秋水山庄). It narrates a love story between Qiushui (秋水), a courtesan in late Qing Dynasty and Shi Liangcai (史量才)– a journalist best known for his ownership of Shen Bao (申报).
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.