Around Chinese New Year I took some time off from Hong Kong to discover a bit more of China, this time Hangzhou in Zhejiang province. The most famous spot in Hangzhou is West Lake, which I first heard about when I visited the gorgeous Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan. “You like Sun Moon Lake? wait till you see Hangzhou’s West Lake” I kept hearing, so expectations were high.

Though not quite up to the Sun Moon Lake beauty, West Lake is indeed a lovely lake. For me it wasn’t so much for the scenic beauty but more in terms of how well it’s embedded within the Chinese context – culture and history wise. The Chinese have done a good job with this lake, there is hope for us still.

One of the nicest spots around West Lake is the north-eastern Qu-Yuan Garden, which features pagodas, pavilions and the magical combination of Chinese architecture, Chinese flower decorations and the lake. It is, no doubt, a charming place to wonder around in, and the gloomy weather that welcomed me to Hangzhou contributed to the special atmosphere.

 

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The whole garden was empty, except for one man, whose voice I’ve heard carried around miles away singing old Chinese opera. After about half an hour of wondering around the gardens and hearing him sing, I finally caught him far far away and was amazed by how strong his voice is. Here, have a look and since my camera can do a x20 video zoom, you can sense the distance and the power of his voice:

 

To wrap up, here a few panoramas :

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Tags: cherry blossom; gardens; Hangzhou; pagoda; pavilion; quyuan garden; west lake;


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