This past weekend was the Labor Day holiday here in China and Boyfriend’s sister and brother-in-law were in town. After a few days exploring Shanghai, we decided to go to Hangzhou to see the West Lake.
Hangzhou is a large city about 105 miles from Shanghai, and ~56 mins away by train. It’s the home of e-commerce giant Alibaba (i’m sure you’ve heard about them). And it’s got a huge historical significance. The West Lake was a feature many Chinese rules enjoyed, and would spend a little too long at. It was even visited by Marco Polo and written in his books of travels. The West Lake has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Cool…now i got that stuff out of the way
Getting to Hangzhou was an adventure in itself. The train station in Shanghai only had a few ticket counters open, and almost everyone was in line (holiday weekends in China…). We had to run to our train, jumping over people’s luggage, and running through the small cracks between people walking. We somehow managed to get on the train and sit down and relax on the 1 hr train to Hangzhou
We got to Hangzhou around 930 in the morning. It was hot, and it was packed. Everyone was sort of directed by street traffic cones to go towards West Lake.
We got to the lake and looked at all of the people around, as well as the really cool boats going across the lake. We quickly bought a ticket and hopped on a boat ride, not sure exactly where it was going.
The boat ride was pleasant and cool. We could look out to the shores and see the hordes of people walking about. Eventually the boat took us to the ‘Three Pools Mirroring the Moon’. It’s a the largest island on the lake with 4 pools that surrounded with temples. There were HORDES of people walking around this island, making it difficult to easily wander the area. I bought a fresh coconut to help cool me down, and had numerous Chinese people walk up to me and look to see what i was eating (maybe chinese people do eat the coconut meat? not sure…
After walking around, we managed to get on a boat back to the west lake dock and then continued walking in a anti-clockwise circle of the park. We walked on the Bai causeway, which connects the lake shoreline with a smaller island on the north side of the lake. This is where we began to notice the influx of people, people not focusing on where they were going, and bus drivers not really waiting for people to move. I am actually surprised how there weren’t more accidents from bus drivers just ramming through people
After the Bai, we then walked on the Su causeway, which is an extremely old causeway and the longest, connecting the north and south part of the lake (it’s 3 km long). Here, we got to walk on the side of the causeway, and not the main walkway, thus avoiding trams and loads of people. the causeway was maybe 4 US highway lanes across
We then managed to find ofo bikes and biked back to the west lake dock so we could eventually get back on the train. The bike ride was long and would have been impossible to travel that distance if not for the bikes
I also had one of my scarier ofo riding moments here in Hangzhou. We were racing to get back to the train station and there were about 500 people waiting for the metro. So we jumped on a bike (yay for bikes!) and biked our way to the train station. There was this HUGE intersection (think 6 lanes across) that we barely got over before the opposite light turned green and 100 bikers started riding their bike into us. I had to swerve immediately to go with the traffic. Terrifying
So overall, Hangzhou is really cool. I have successfully learned to not travel in China during Chinese holidays. I guess I’ll have to go international next