Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
86 21 6333 2226 (Tourist information)
NileGuide Expert tip:
If you can arrive at dawn, you'll experience ancient China around the lake
Hangzhou is home to scenic West Lake, a mirror-perfect pool of water surrounded by weeping willows, beautiful stone arch bridges and botanical gardens. What makes the lake so memorable, however, are the people. Arrive at the lake around 6:00am and you will meet such an array of kindly elderly people that you'll want to relocate to the city permanently. These happy individuals descend on the lake every morning for tai chi, dancing, aerobics, sword play and more. In addition, meet locals having their morning tea at many of the lake-side cafes as they play checkers, cards or just chat about old times. Aside from West Lake, Hangzhou has vast silk markets, rolling scenic hills for hiking and a beautiful temple full of practicing monks and mountain-side rock carvings. Plan to spend the entire day here but do not be surprised if you end up spending more than just one.