With the arrival of spring - a season glowing in colour and warmth is revealed and where the mountainous landscape around the West Lake will awake from its winter hibernation and witness wild flowers bloom, streams trickle and birds chirp.
Hiking on a spring, sunny day whilst breathing in fresh air and smelling the season’s finest floral scents is a great way to enjoy the beauty of Hangzhou and see some of its top ten views.
Top One: Nine Creeks Meandering through a Misty Forest (九溪烟树)
When you meet a stretch of even and broad concrete road flanked by pieces of verdant paddy fields and rows of farmhouses then you know you have reached Nine Creeks. With two paths to choose from whichever way you walk, zigzagging streams trickling past cobblestone paths that border range upon range of mountainous tea fields, welcome you with open arms. Taking off your shoes and walking barefoot or paddling in one of the nine flowing creeks is one way of enjoying nature and if you feel tired, then there is always a teahouse to tempt you in to trying the surrounding green Longjing tea leaves whilst appreciating the magnificent view.
Top Two: Meiling Road (梅灵路) to Lingyin Temple and Meijiawu Village (梅家坞)
Scattered along Meiling Road are many historical relics such as Sansheng Stone (Three Lives Stone: one of the Sixteen Historical Relics around West Lake) in the Upper Tianzhu (上天竺), Lingyin Temple, Peak Flying from Afar and Tianzhu Fair for Pilgrims. In addition the scenery around Meiling Road is utterly captivating - mountains surrounded by clouds, the West Lake enveloped by mist and blankets of tea bushes nestled in between farmhouses in Meijiawu Village are all views not to be missed.
Top Three: Qixia Peak (栖霞岭)
Qixia Peak, covered in a mass of verdant trees, is the famous burial place of General Yue Fei, the national folk hero of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). It is also the home of the enchanting “Five Caves of Qixia” - Ziyun Cave (Purple Cloud Cave), Jingu Cave (Golden Drum Cave), Bianfu Cave (Bat Cave), Woyun Cave (Sleeping Cloud Cave) and Huanglong Cave (Yellow Dragon Cave) of which Huanglong Cave is the most popular.
Top Four: Bamboo-lined Path at Yunqi (云栖竹径)
Yunqi means clouds lingering and therefore Yunqi Hill gets its name from the auspicious coloured clouds that linger on its hill. The attraction, one of ‘Top Ten Views of West Lake’, is widely popular for its dense bamboo forest that lines a lengthy stone-clad footpath. Weaving in and out of bamboo and stepping over streams and pebble stones is what can only be described as a naturist’s paradise.
Top Five: Langdang Peak (琅珰岭)
Langdang Peak is the highest and longest path among all the mountains that surround the West Lake. Since ancient times Langdang Peak has been known for its steepness and it has even been said that only strong young men can conquer it!
Walking along Langdang Peak to the sound of bees buzzing and birds tweeting you can enjoy a number of views such as those that overlook Meijiawu Village and Longjing Village, two renowned areas for producing the world famous Longjing Green Tea.
The sun is shining and the autumn wind is just right. In such good weather, it is a good idea to travel back in time in the Hangzhou Confucius Temple. Here, you can cultivate your mind and soul. In the temple, tablets can be seen everywhere, positioning people instantly in the ancient seat of learning in the capital city of the Southern Song Dynasty. Here, you can stop and appreciate the ancient moss-covered stone tiles, which seems to narrate the thousands-of-year history of the Confucius Temple.