Hangzhou: Paradise on Earth

Praised by Marco Polo as “the noblest city and the best metropolis in the world,” Hangzhou is renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty. It is often known as one of the most beautiful cities in China, also ranking as one of the most scenic cities.

Located on the lower reaches of the Qiantang River in East China and only half an hour’s drive from Shanghai, Hangzhou is endowed with beautiful gardens and waters. More or less, people visit the city for the West Lake, the shining pearl on this beautiful land.

Legend has it that the lake used to be an auspicious pearl formed into its sparkling shape by the Jade Dragon and the Golden Phoenix. But it was later stolen by the Mother Queen of the West. When Jade Dragon and Golden Phoenix fought with the Mother Queen, the pearl accidentally fell on earth and became a dazzling lake.

Hanghzhou is the city I like best. It’s such a pleasure to walk along the West Lake or just sit in the teahouse nearby enjoying the beautiful views of the Lake. Depending on the location, the season and even the time of the day, the West Lake puts on different charms. And if you are lucky enough, you can see the ten most well known sceneries of the Lake, which have been famous since ancient times. They include Spring Dawn at Su Causeway, Breeze at Crooked Courtyard, Autumn Moon on CalmLake and Melting Snow on the BrokenBridge.

After a whole day’s sightseeing, you can sit by the lake and enjoy the show called “The Impression of the West Lake”, featuring the history, folklores and mythology about the Lake. Impression West Lake, directed by Zhang Yimou, is a grand open-air show of light, music, dance and theatrics, with the lake and its surroundings as props to create a life-like charming background.

In my experience, one of the most important and interesting parts of traveling is to try the local delicacies. The food here is noted for their elaborate preparation, sophisticated cooking and refreshing taste. Many local specialties will be sure to make your visit a cultural experience. Yum-yum!

Of course, sipping the local Dragon Well Tea is a must do in Hangzhou. The tea is renowned for its smooth leaves, fragrant scent and subtle taste. Though the earliest record of the tea was found in Tang Dynasty about 1,400 years ago, its origin remains a mystery.

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