The Last Days of Autumn in West Lake, China

West Lake is a famous fresh water lake located in the historic and scenic area of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province in eastern China. Described by Marco Polo as “the finest and most beautiful city in the world, we were keen to witness  the picturesque lake within this finest city. The lake is divided by the causeways of Baidi in the north and Sudi in the west. By the side of the lake, there are numerous temples, pagodas, classical pavilions, landscaped gardens and within the lakes are artificial islands.

It was no longer the season for lotus; the flowers have all withered, leaving the stalks and some leaves. At the background were trees with leaves already turning brown. 

With arched bridges stretching over the water, West Lake is the heart of leisure in Hangzhou. On this rainy day, we strolled over the famous arch bridge which crosses the lake and started walking all four sides of the idyllic lake.

We strolled by the lake side, walked over many stone trestles built over the water and passed by  pavilion after pavilion.

When we were tired from the walk, we took a boat to one of the islands where we have a leisurely stroll around it looking at more pavilions.

Entering into an ancient building, we found it a joy to view through the screen windows of the building. Not only the sight through the window was interesting, we noted the screen itself including the wooden frame around it were artistically carved.

Inside one of the  ancient buildings, we have a good look at the typical furniture of a Chinese study room.

HangZhou, where West Lake is situated, has been among the most important sources
of inspiration for Chinese garden designers, as evidenced by the impact it had on various Chinese classical gardens. We walked past the circular entrance which is so typical of entrances to Chinese gardens.

We found ourselves in the middle of a Chinese garden with”strange rocks” and water flowing as a water feature.

On our previous trips, we have not covered the less famous western edge of the lake which is known as Yangdi. Our walk on the western edge brought us to unknown beauty such as the stone arch bridge below.

Walking further along the western edge, we came across tranquil areas of the lake with perfect reflections in the serene waters.

After hours of walking, we finally reached the northern shore of the lake where many ancient but elegant and graceful buildings are located.

By this time, we were so hungry that we decided that we should try out the Hangzhou cuisine in this local restaurant.

This is the first time we have walked all four sides of the lake, however, we know that this will not be our last trip to West lake and HangZhou. In our mind, we know we will be coming back in another season, another time . . . . . . . . .

PS For related post “Watching Kois in West Lake (Xihu) Hanzhou, China”, please see

77 thoughts on “The Last Days of Autumn in West Lake, China

  1. Pingback: The Last Days of Autumn in West Lake, China | Home Far Away From Home

  2. What beautiful pictures! Your pictures are magical, and I love the colors, especially all the purple in pictures 3, 4, 9, and 10. Pictures 3, 4 and 11 are really stunning.

  3. Hi Michael

    Another lovely trip and, as ever, beautiful photographs. Now I’m getting more technical as a budding photographer, I am interested to know why some of these photographs are so “blue”. Is it the light, is the water blue, do you use a special technique???

    Warm regards

    • Hi Corrine, the sky was haysy , gloomy with a bit of rain , this was reflect in the waters. On some pictures, I have increased the saturation of some of the images (not changing the colors) to make the leaves a bit more green than appearing too dull, this has the effect of increasing the “blue”. Thanks very much for the comment! Michael

  4. What a wonderful day. Walking is excercise almost everyone can manage, if only at their own pace. How beautiful to walk West Lake with these views. I do love that, in many of your destinations, they don’t clutter up the scenery with corporate ad’s and billboards. You can hardly drive anywhere’s in North America with out being bumbarded by marketing.

    • Hi Boomdeeadda, given the size of the lake, we took several days to walk all its four sides including digressions to boat trips visting the islands. You are right, there was not much advertising on the marinal strips of the lake. Bike trips are also possible. Thanks for the comment! Michael

  5. That’s interesting, Michael. Beginner that I am, I tend to think if the sun’s not shining the photos won’t come out. It’s gloomy and grey here today so I would have left my camera at home. So much to learn!!

    Warm regards

    • Hi Corrine, if there is not enough light you can increase your camera’s aperture (small f number) or increase the shutter speed or both so that more light can get into the camera. I am still a learner. Have just read a book which shows pictures taken with small aperture but long exposure ( several seconds or above) moments before sunrise or even after sunset to get fantastic pictures! Of course, in this case, you need a tripod. Regards, Michael

  6. I was on a boat ride in west lake but because I am on an organised tour didn’t get the luxury to walk around the lake. It’s beautiful.

    • We took time this trip to explore all four sides of the lake. Need to spend more time to discover the beauty of the place but the boat ride of the organized tour is the best hightlight they can offer. Regards, Michael

  7. Oh, how I love Chinese gardens. I’ve only seen one or two, in America, but maybe someday I’ll get to see the real thing, in person. Until then, there are pictures – thanks you.

  8. Hi Michael

    Thanks for that. There are all sorts of symbols on the wheel of my camera and I have no idea what they mean. I’ve lost the instruction book so shall go on line and find out. Have a feeling one of them must be something to do with apertures.


    • Instead of the classical dongpourou, we have a variation which consists of thinner slices of pork and serve on a hot pot. The classical one is tasty but a bit fatty! Michael

  9. If I ever return to China, Hangzhou and Suzhou are high on my list. I lived a few hours up the Yangtze, but I never got the chance to visit these two famous cities. Thanks for sharing.

    • As usual, many China cities sky seem hazy. I thought the winter photos would come up quite uninteresting. I am glad that some photos did show the real character of West Lake and XiXi. Thanks for the kind comment! Michael

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