What makes Hangzhou so spectacular? The main attraction is West Lake, dubbed one of the twelve "superb sunset spots around the world" by CNN. It is beautiful in every season. Even in the sweltering summer sun, the lotus flowers are in bloom and are their most beautiful, as if to entice us to brave the heat.
West Lake is a man-made, freshwater lake, divided into five different sections, separated by causeways. When we visit, I always bring travelers on a boat cruise around the lake in order to view the bridges over the water and the mountains in the background. A walk through the gardens offers an up-close view of the trees and flowers, as well as little temples and pagodas. As we walk by, willow trees dance in the breeze and koi frantically compete for food thrown to them by local children.
Another Hangzhou draw are the longjing ("dragon well") tea farms. Longjing is the number one tea in China and is sometimes referred to as the "Queen Green". We always visit one of the local tea plantations to see how the tea is picked, hear about its health benefits and enjoy the beauty of the terraced farms.
Join me on a trip to China and see Hangzhou or one of the thousands of other beautiful spots in the Middle Kingdom!