1. October 2017. Wherever you happen to be on West Lake, you can’t miss the mystical form of Leifeng Pagoda jutting dramatically out of the greenery. Dating as far back as 975 AD, this is the oldest colorful bronze pagoda in China and attacks droves of visitors every day of the year.
2. October 2017. Visiting the pagoda marked our first real taste of the crazy crowds we’d been expecting from National Holiday week. Expertly cutting into the queue at the ticket office, we grabbed our stubs (40RMB each) and made the climb up to the pagoda’s main entrance. With the escalator jam-packed with tourists, I opted for the stone staircase, which enabled me to snatch this shot.
3. October 2017. It’s possible to take the elevator up to the pagoda’s fifth floor summit. And indeed there were hundreds of people queuing up just to avoid having to climb the staircases. But in doing so they missed out on some wonderful exhibitions on the famous Hangzhou folk tale The Legend of the White Snake. Told through a series of stunning woodcarvings, visitors learn about the love story of a man, Xu Xian and a hypnotic snake turned lady called Bai Suzhen.
4. October 2017. After queuing for the staircases at each level, not to mention the considerable climbs themselves, an immense feeling of satisfaction swept over us as we came out to fantastic views of West Lake and the Hangzhou skyline.
5. October 2017. It was chock-a-block on that top terrace and we had to patiently wait for a spot to open up so we could squeeze in and grab some photos. This one takes in West Lake’s famous islands, with Three Pools Mirroring The Moon set in the foreground. Getting out here during National Holiday week is a real challenge, with people fighting over limited boats and a steep 300RMB return price for the privilege.
For more on my time in the city, check out my other articles on Hangzhou.
For more on the region, have a look at My 5s from around Zhejiang Province.
Like these? Then why not leaf through my many other 5s from across China.
I’ve also written a short story series called Challenged in China.