Spring Dawn at Su Causeway: It is a thin strip of land nearly three kilometers long covered with peach and weeping willow trees. In spring, with the lakeside sparkling in the morning dew, birds cheerfully chirping among swaying willow branches, and the scent of peach blossoms wafting through the air, you'll question whether you're in the midst of paradise.
Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden: This typical West Lake scene has earned its fame since the Southern Song Dynasty, when the lakeside area, with its abundant growth of lotus plants on its shores, was known as Crooked Courtyard. Importantly, it was also the location of a brewery. People said the aroma of lotus flowers and wine blended by the cool lake breezes was intoxicating. Nowadays the brewery is gone, and the area has been turned into a big park, but plenty of lotus plants still bloom on its shores. They stand gracefully erect in the lake, posing, as if they are aware of the visitors coming to admire their beauty.
Autumn Moon Over the Calm Lake: At the western end of Bai Causeway is located a lakeside park which houses a stone tablet bearing the etched calligraphy of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. It reads: "Autumn Moon on Calm Lake". The lake is a most special place to appreciate the moon poetically casting its moonlight on the land below. The moon seems especially bright above the waters. The hills look a purplish color when bathed in the moonlight. The best time for nightime viewing is on Mid-Autumn Day.
Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge: The most romantic scene of the ten must-see views around the West Lake is the Melting Snow on the Broken Bridge. The stone-arched Broken Bridge is where the characters of a famous Chinese folktale, Xu Xian and a beautiful girl, who is actually a white snake, first met and fell in love with each other. After a snowfall, when the snow on the more exposed side has melted, the shaded side remains white, thus looking as if a long white belt has been ripped apart on the bridge. This remarkable illusion has earned it the name "Melting Snow on the Broken Bridge".
Orioles Singing in the Willows: Retreating from the legendary bridge, we come to the Listening to Orioles Singing in the Willows, an imperial garden built up in the Southern Song Dynasty. Now, the once-imperial garden has been turned into a park that is open to all. Featuring green willows and singing orioles, there are magnificent, lush lawns, with impressive pavilions and bridges.
Viewing Fish at Flower Pond: Another great spot to catch up with birds chirping out of the ten charms of the West Lake is the Viewing Fish and Lotus Ponds at Flower Pond. Flower Pond Park occupies an area of twenty-one hectares on a peninsula in the southwest corner of the lake. In its heart is the Red Fish Pond, where people can relax to the sight of brightly colored fish, leisurely swimming around as if in time with the brisk melody of chirpy birdsong. Relaxing in this natural garden is a balm to the soul.
Three Pools Mirroring the Moon: If you can catch one of the tour coaches that leave after dusk, the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon should not be missed. Just off the southern shore of the Island of Little Oceans, stand three small pagodas that seem to float on the water. Each about 2 meters high, lighted candles can be placed inside on moonlit nights. The aesthetic effect of 4 moons dancing on the shimmering night waters is mesmerising. The scene is especially magical when the giant glowing moon on the night of Mid-Autumn Day joins the candles’ reflections upon the rippling water.
Twin Peaks Piecing the Clouds: While it‘s difficult to take your eyes off the tranquil waters, take time to gaze at the skies above West Lake. You‘ll be rewarded with the sight of two limestone mountains past the northern edge of the lake, one to the northeast and one to the northwest, five kilometers apart. On a drizzling day in spring or autumn, the silhouettes of the two peaks appear to come and go amongst the drifting rain clouds. Hence the name of Twin Peaks Soaring through the Clouds. This is another scene you cannot afford to miss around the West Lake.
Evening Bell Ringing at Nanping Hill: Personally, out of the ten collections of the West Lake views, I award the ‘Most Poetic’ title to the Evening Bell at Nanping Mountain. The impressive Nanping Mountain stretches along the southern bank of the Lake. At dusk, with the sun slowly sinking into the western Lake, a huge bell at Jingxi Temple will ring its farewell to the last sunbeam of the day. With the prolonged bell sound reverberating across the Lake, the peaceful and sacred air offers you a perfect occasion for meditation.
Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow: Leifeng Pagoda is another renowned scenic spot in Hangzhou. Originally built in the 10th century, Leifeng Pagoda used to stand in front of Jingxi Temple on Nanping Mountain; though it failed to stand the test of time, when in the early 1900’s, the Pagoda collapsed. In 2002, however, Leifeng Pagoda was reconstructed; bringing back to life the typical Sunset Glow over Leifeng Pagoda. One of the ten charms of West Lake, the Pagoda looks especially majestic when surrounded by the golden hues of the setting sun. With its combination of traditional aesthetic style and modern architectural techniques, Leifeng Pagoda affords a complete panoramic view of West Lake in its full beauty.