XiXi, Hangzhou in the Winter

While we were in West Lake, we took the opportunity to visit Xixi, China’s only national wetland which is 5 km away from West Lake. Xixi National Wetland Park covers approximately 10 sq km. The wetland, which has a history of 1800 years,  is a self-sustaining ecological system and is now an eco-educational center. It is also a paradise of various kinds of birds.

Water is the soul of Xixi. it covers 70% of the park. The park is crisscrossed with six main watercourses, scatter ponds, lakes and swamps. We took a boat which brought us along the waterways to various islands and sights.

Xixi has long been  a land of seclusion. Thanks to the picturesque waterways and rural landscapes, Xixi has always been the home for artists and writers  who produce poems, calligraphy, paintings and epigraphy. In some of the famous buildings here  many scholars and poets have written their famous poems and prose.

As it was winter, we found we were the only visitors in many of the scenic spots.

On the boat, we passed through many beautiful sights. We first passed by this footbridge with three spans of different levels.

Travelling further along the waterway,  there was this other footbridge spanning across the lonely waterway.

The boat brought us to various locations where we could jump off and walked the trails.

We landed on one of the islands and passed by some deserted sampans.

We lazily strolled along a dyke by the side of this ancient pagoda.

The trail brought us to many lakes and more and more houses of ancient designs.

When it was time for lunch, we have a simple lunch in this restaurant with red lanterns. Not surprisingly, we were the only guests in the restaurant.

After lunch, we wandered further along the trail, visiting more houses.

The weather was not forgiving. Like what we had the previous day at West Lake, it started raining again.  We saw  this lonely boatman rowing his sampan hurrying home.

This reminded us that it was almost time that we should be making our way back to the hotel by the lake in West Lake.

The rain kept pouring down, hitting hard at the reeds by the side of the waterway. Although it is a known bird paradise, no birds were in sight.

It is said that Xixi has several  distinct aesthetic features: cold and secluded, raw and wild, simplicity and elegance. Throughout the whole trip,  we were mindful of their presence. But our first impression of this park is indeed its grey and loneliness.

With the grey sky above us and with loneliness in our hearts, we vowed we would come back and revisit it on a more cheerful day . . . . . . . . . .

59 thoughts on “XiXi, Hangzhou in the Winter

  1. There’s a haunting dreamy quality of these photos. I’ve always wanted to see China and my wanderlust can barely be restrained now because of you. If only making a living didn’t get in the way. 🙂

    • There are good reasons to go asap before the various sites are becoming too developed and before the RMB apprecaite too much. To me the question is always which part of China should I be visiting. Thanks for the comment! Michael

    • Hi Raunak, with every post I have to decide which photos to include. I didn’t doubt for a moment to include the 2 photos you mentioned. Thanks for the comment! Michael

    • Hi happyface313, on my travels, sometimes I hope that it wouldn’t rain so that at least I can free my hands on my camera and shoot. However, rainy weather sometimes brings about a different atmosphere. Thanks for the comment! Michael

  2. It’s easy to see why poets and painters would be drawn to this place. I especially liked your photo of both the ancient pagoda and it’s own reflection in the water and the perspective of the red lanterns hung outside the restuarant. I would be at perfect peace just floating along in the solitude. How do you pronounce Xixi? Does it translate to english?

    • XiXi are two words in Chinese with slightly different sounds. The first Xi means “west” and the second Xi means “brook”. Chinese words are “romanized” for pronunciation. The sounds are similar to the Engish pronunciation. Regards, Michael

    • Hi pommepal, you are right, there is somthing mystical about the place under such weather. There were so few tourists there so it was a world of our own! Michael

  3. Xixi, even the name is wonderful! What a fabulous spot and your photos are just lovely. The first and the seventh are my favourites. The first because I like the foliage, and the other one because the reflection of the building in the water is beautiful – the water is like glass.

    • They are also my favourite photos. I tend not to travel in winters and this is a rare occasion I did and love the place. Thanks for the encouraging comment! Michael

  4. Never been in China during winter – only spring and summer .. heard it can be tough and rough. Stunning photos – love water in photos, but my pick is the one with the cobble street and the lamps. Once again you have provided us with amazing photos. Your camera and you is a great team.

    • Hi Viveka, I also tend to avoid travelling to China in winter, but as Xihu (West Lake) was included in the UNESCO list last June, this prompted us visiting it again and took the opportunity to visit XiXi which is in the vicinity. I was thinking of omitting the photo you said from the post as it wasn’t in line with the rest, but it is the photo which has some colors! Thanks for your kind comment, Michael

  5. your photo of the red lantern reminds me of the movie “raising the red lantern”. one of my favorite movies. thank you for this post, we feel we have just been toured around China 🙂

  6. How elegant this lake looks in the dreary, wet, winter. I could picture the poets and artists there by the waterside. Also, I could imagine an earlier day when perhaps it was a more popular area and people used the pagoda more regularly. It’s neat to think that the area you’re standing on has been used by others for thousands of years.

    By the way, I wanted to thank you for reading and following my blog. I have nominated you for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. You can see it here: http://bucketdave.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/wonderful-team-member-readership-award/

    • Hi bucketdave,
      I believe the pagoda is an observation tower for birds. The area was sort of deserted and only in recent years turned into an eco-educational area. I am glad you like the photos.
      Thanks so much for the nomination. I have decided not to pursue or accept any nomination / award during my retirement and for this reason, I have already turned down all similar awards. Knowing that my blog is read in many places of the world is already my biggest reward. With regret, I have to decline the nomination. Thank you once again for the nomination which is very much appreciated! Regards, Michael

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