October 2017. It was pretty crazy of Wonderboy and I to tackle the intense crowds of Hangzhou’s West Lake right in the eye of the storm that is China’s Golden Week holiday. But hey, we had five days free just like everyone else and we wanted to see if Hangzhou was as great as everybody says it is. The busyness that week was indeed a sight to behold, but nothing quite matched up to the insanity of West Lake’s Su Causeway, a 2.6 km walkway that cuts right through the lake.
October 2017. Constructed in 1086 by the famed Chinese poet and Hangzhou governor Su Shi, Su Causeway holds much historical and cultural significance for Chinese visitors. At a time of great poverty and drought in Hangzhou, it was Su who ordered the dredging of the lake and used the resulting mud to build a new causeway. Later on six bridges were added and willow trees planted on each side.
October 2017. Wonderboy and I had ducked into Su Causeway simply to get to the other side of the lake and boy oh boy was it hard going trying to fight our way between the trudging masses.
October 2017. The further we pushed on down Su Causeway that afternoon the more manageable the foot traffic became. Nevertheless we were about half way along when we decided to duck off the main path and over to the water’s edge where there were rocks and wooden benches to sit on. These women looked as knackered as I felt!
October 2017. It was also down by the water that I came upon this little guy. He totally had the right idea… back turned to the chaos… fiddling with a stick… gazing out across West Lake. Just as I thought I’d lined up my shot without him noticing, he suddenly turned his head to look at me just as I pressed click.
October 2017. Another advantage of resting here was to simply sit and watch the boats go back and forth across West Lake. It was almost hypnotic and made me realise I could have happily spent the rest of the afternoon here rather than return to Su Causeway.
October 2017. Eventually we got back up and continued our way towards Su Causeway’s northern exit. Along the way there were more great West Lake views, including this stunning lily pad park, accessed via a boardwalk that runs right through it.
As mental as my experience negotiating Su Causeway was that day, I’ve actually had a more intense experience with Chinese crowds. To see some next level busyness, check out my articles from Nanjing Massacre Memorial during Golden Week 2018.
For more on my time in the city, have a read of my other articles on Hangzhou.
For more on the region, have a look at my travel reports from around Zhejiang Province.
Like these? Then why not leaf through my many other reports from across China.
I’ve also written a short story series called Challenged in China.
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