In Hangzhou, there is an old saying: West Lake is beautiful on sunny days, splendid on rainy days, gorgeous on snowy days and simply stunning at night.
Whilst during the day the lake, set against a sea of green, gracefully echoes the sounds of paddles skimming on its tranquil waters and the murmuring of voices from inside its boats and along its lucid edges. At night, to the sounds of frogs croaking, colourful reflections illuminate from the moon, monuments and mountains and back down again onto the city’s most glistening masterpiece.
From May 5 until the middle of November (18:30-22:00) the annual West Lake Night Cruise is back on board and to fully appreciate the lake’s charms, multiple routes are waiting for you to sail the night away.
Selection of Boats:
Rowing Boat Since ancient times rowing on a lake has been the inspiration for a number of poems and paintings as well as one of the most pleasant pastimes of Chinese romantic scholars. In such a historic and cultural city like Hangzhou and on a lake whose beauty has been praised by all, there really is no better way to tour its scenery than by rowing a boat. With beautiful views at every stop and with fragrant Longjing tea in the air, following the footsteps of ancient scholars is simply poetry in motion.
Route: flexible and can be custom made Where to board: every wharf around the West Lake Fare: The First Hour: 150 RMB per boat. Additional Time: 75 RMB per boat every half an hour
Painted Boat This type of boat circles the entire West Lake where a number of unique views can be enjoyed. Route: Broken Bridge→Bai Causeway→Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake→Su Causeway→Three Pools Mirroring the Moon→Orioles Singing in the Willows→Hubin Music Fountain →Broken Bridge Time: 50 min. Where to board: Dusk Cruise in No.1 Lakeside Park; Dusk and Night Cruise in both No.2 Lakeside Park and Children's Palace Hours: Dusk Cruise 17:00-18:00 from May to October Night Cruise 18:00-21:00 from September to October 18:00 - 21:30 for the rest of the year Fare: 50RMB per person (children from 1.2m to 1.5m 25RMB and groups of 25 people and over 40RMB).
Self-driven Boats This boat is electricity-driven and will breeze you through a number of scenic spots. This is ideal for those who like to travel at speed. Route: flexible, mainly in north inner lake and can be custom made Where to board: Broken Bridge Fare: The First Hour: 40RMB per boat for a four-seater; 50RMB per boat for a six-seater Additional Time: 20RMB per boat every half an hour for a four-seater 25RMB per boat every half an hour for a six-seater
Quanrao (荃桡) - The Dragon Boat With a golden dragon head and tail, dove-tail eaves and exquisite carvings, this dragon boat strikes out to all who pass it by. Cruising the West Lake in this elaborate boat, to the sounds of Jiangnan Sizhu* (江南丝竹) playing, is guaranteed to be a roaring success.
*Si and zhu refer to the stringed instruments and pipe instruments prevailing in the Southern Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.
Route: No. 5 Lakeside Park→Bai Causeway→Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake→Su Causeway→Three pools Mirroring the Moon (stay for five minutes) →Orioles Singing in the Willows→ Hubin Music Fountain→No.5 Lakeside Park Time: 50 min. Where to board: No. 5 Lakeside Park Hours: 18:30-21:00 from Sunday to Thursday; 18:30-21:30 on Friday, Saturday and during national holidays. Fare: 90RMB per person (including a fruit platter, Longjing Tea or other drinks and the performance of Jiangnan Sizhu) Night of Beishan Road - The Coffee Boats Coffee Boats are painted boats especially made for the ‘Night of Beishan Road’ where you can reminisce the glorious past through the historic buildings that line orderly along this notable path. Each and every one of these buildings is an architectural masterpiece built by Shanghai businessmen during the time when Hangzhou was renowned as the Garden of Shanghai – the Economic and Financial Centre of China. The performance of Jiangnan Sizhu is also available.
Hours: 18:30 - 22:00 from Tuesday to Friday; 18:30 - 22:30 on Monday, Saturday and Sunday and during national holidays Route: Children’s Palace→Broken Bridge→Autumn Moon over Calm Lake→Xiling Bridge→the water area before Beishan Road → Children’s Palace Time: 50 min. Where to board: Children's Palace and Xinxin Restaurant (新新饭店) Fare: 90RMB per person which includes a cup of Longjing Tea or coffee and the performance of Jiangnan Sizhu. Children from 1.2m to 1.5 m receive a 50 percent discount.
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.