The Best Spots for Appreciating Lotus Flowers
Once again the blooming period of lotus flowers is upon us. It is at this point in summer that the vibrant pink petals surrounding golden stamens elegantly dance in the breeze against a backdrop of green leaves and blue skies.
The annual West Lake – Zhuji (renowned for being the hometown of Xi Shi – one of the four ancient beauties in China) Lotus Flower Appreciation Event raised its curtain on July 19. Co-organized by Hangzhou Tourism Commission and People’s Government of Zhuji, the event is organized for the purpose of promoting the summer’s brightest and loveliest scenes. Besides Zhuji, the main venue of the event, and Jian’de, the side venue, places ideal for enjoying this summer sight include West Lake and Xixi National Wetland Park.
There is really no place to appreciate lotus flowers more iconic than West Lake, which is now taken over by Jiande red lotuses and various types of water lilies.
Jiande red lotuses boast double-layered white, pink and dark red petals that carry a strong fragrance. The water area north of Hu Pan Ju Teahouse and near No. 1 Lakeside Park are the top two recommended places to view them. For water lilies, one can then head to Nine Zigzags Bridge or Bridge of Nine Turns in the scenic area of “Three Pools Mirroring the Moon.” Here one can feast their eyes on various types of tropical species, which, differing from local species, feature mainly blue flowers among yellow, white and pink ones.
Admission: Free for West Lake, but it costs 20 RMB (boat fare and admission) to get to the ‘Three Pools Mirroring the Moon’ scenic spot
Xixi National Wetland Park
Walking along the flagstone road and then the wooden piers towards the center of Hongyuan Garden, one encounters the beautiful Dongguang Lotus Pond, a scene characterized by an islet peeking out from among reed marshes, the pond itself being found on the islet.
The pond’s name “Dongguan” is the old name of Xixi Area. In the 43,175 sq m area that Dongguang Lotus Pond covers, a wide variety of lotus flowers vie for visitors’ attention. The pier offers one the opportunity to be as close as one can be to these lovely flowers. Also, one can climb to the sightseeing platform to take in a panoramic view of the many pavilions, bridges, and calm waters decorated with lotus flowers.
Additionally, visitors are free to take part in sessions demonstrating how to make lotus root powder and can also savor tea made from lotus leaves.
Admission: 80 RMB
How to get there: Take bus No. J13 (weekends and national holidays only) to the bus stop of Hongyuan Garden (hong yuan: 洪园)；take bus No. K356 to the bus stop of West Zone of Xixi National Wetland Park (xi xi shi di xi qu: 西溪湿地西区)；take bus No. 506 to the bus stop of North Liuxia (liu xia bei: 留下北).
Jiande Liye (建德里叶)
The Liye Ancient Village in Jiande is home to thousand-year-old lotus culture known for producing the imperial tribute – Liye White Lotus, a flower with a plump seed white as snow, regarded as the best among all lotus seeds.
There is also a park dedicated to the fruit, where one can pick lotus seed pods, have a lunch prepared from the picked lotus seeds and taste lotus seed wine.
How to get there:
Hangzhou West Bus Station → Xinye (Bus Ticket: 59 RMB pp)
In Jiande, there is an ancient town that has experienced thousands of years of wind and rain. It has a beautiful name called Meicheng (Plum Blossom Town). Meicheng was the state town of the then Yanzhou and is now the county town of Jiande. It has a history of 1700 years.