Summer in Hangzhou can get really hot, but that doesn’t necessarily mean one must be confined to the indoors to beat the heat. Even during the warmest months, there are places that stay true to the nickname of ‘nature’s air-conditioner’, with fresh air and exquisite scenery. Here we list some of our recommendations for the weary summer adventurer.
The title of ‘scene of the season’ may belong to showy lotus flowers in full bloom across the city, most famous of them found at West Lake, but this very title comes at the price of popularity- throngs of people out for the very same thing. For those looking for something serene that affords a beautiful scene and lower temperatures, the following are tried and tested offerings.
Turtle Pool (乌龟潭)
Situated in the West Lake Scenic Area, Turtle Pool is relatively off the beaten track, which makes it a god-given spot for spending idyllic summer days. Featuring some of the most wonderful scenery in Hangzhou, it is renowned as "Xanadu" among locals. The place is easy to locate, just opposite Temple to Yu Qian (于谦祠). Walking towards Turtle Pool, a charming body of water welcomes you. The tourist walk at Turtle Pool is paved along the water and flanked by towering trees and thatched cottages scatter around the pool. All these offer visitors a nice place to hide away from the sun with the cool breeze caressing the face and pleasing sights for sore eyes. What a treat!
How to get there: Take No. 318, 197 to Kongjun Liaoyangyuan bus stop (空军疗养院: Sanatorium for Airmen); or take 194, Y2 to Yuhuwan bus stop (浴鹄湾: Yuhu Bay).
Beishan Road (北山路)
Lined along Beishan Road of the Geling Hill (葛岭) Section is a row of exquisite villas. Most of these were built during the 1920s by wealthy Shanghai businessmen tired of the urban life and attracted to the place by the unrivalled aesthetics of the West Lake. These architecturally distinct villas have spacious courtyards which make for nice places to enjoy the cool in the bustling West Lake area. Here we recommend two particularly appealing villas.
Jingyi Villa (静逸别墅): With its back against Geling Hill and the front facing the West Lake, one finds that this villa, surrounded by lush green trees, is cooler than anywhere else around. The European style two-storey twin houses clearly are the highlight; linked by crooked corridors, the two houses are built on the east and west parts of the estate.
Manao Temple (玛瑙寺): A large temple, it stretches from No.15 Geling Road in the east, to No.84 Geling Road in the west. Just like Jingyi Villa, the temple complex teems with age-old trees. What one finds special about this temple is that it’s hard to lose sight of the West Lake, no matter how deep into the complex you wander.
How to get there: Take No. 186, 49 to Xiaocheqiao bus stop (小车桥: Xiaoche Bridge); take No. 209 to Longxiangqiao bus stop (龙翔桥: Longxiang Bridge); or take No. 25 to the intersection of Qingchun Road and Dongpo Road (东坡路庆春路口)
Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden (曲院风荷)
Summertime finds the typical Hangzhounese indulging in a particular tradition- viewing lotus flowers at Quyuan Garden and this year is no exception. While most foreigners are familiar with scenes of pink lotus flowers swaying amongst green lotus leaves in the breeze, not many are aware of the ‘Dense Forest at Lakeside (湖滨密林)’. Seen from afar, it may not immediately strike one as an ideal attraction, but indeed serves as a huge sun umbrella providing much welcome shade for those coming to view Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden on burning hot summer days.
How to get there: Take No. 82, 15 and 28 to Hangzhou Zhiwuyuan bus stop (杭州植物园: Hangzhou Botanical Garden); or take No. 197 to Dongshanlong bus stop (东山弄: Dongshan Lane).