My Photographs: Top 5 Su Causeway – Hangzhou, China.

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Su Causeway, October 2017. This 2.6 km walkway through West Lake was constructed in 1086 by the famous poet and Hangzhou governor Su Shi. It was a time of great poverty and drought, so Su 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. This photo is an aerial view of the causeway taken from the top floor of Leifeng Pagoda.

Su Causeway, October 2017. My friend and I had actually started thinking that the West Lake holiday crowds weren’t all that bad. But when we got around to tackling Su Causeway… well… oh my god! I like to think this picture speaks for itself.

Su Causeway, October 2017. Thankfully the further we pushed on the more manageable the foot traffic became. And besides, we could also duck out of the central chaos every now and then to chill out in the narrow side banks by the water. Here we found couples cozying up on the rocks and friends huddled together on benches playing on their phones. This little dude wasn’t at all impressed that I’d interrupted his daydreaming by sticking a camera in his face.

Su Causeway, October 2017. On a quiet day (if there is such a thing on West Lake) I imagine Su Causeway must be an idyllic place to sit and watch the boats go back and forth. Maybe do some reading, or whip out the old Mac for a spell of lakeside writing. If I ever make it back during a normal time of year, this is exactly what I’ll do!

Su Causeway, October 2017. This amazing lily pad park comes into view towards the end of the causeway’s northern exit. For more on West Lake, check out my articles on Orioles Singing in the Willows, Shuangtou Bridge and Leifeng Pagoda.

My Photographs: Top 5 Leifeng Pagoda – Hangzhou, China.

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Leifeng Pagoda, 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.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Orioles Singing in the Willows – Hangzhou, China.

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Orioles Singing in the Willows, October 2017. A trip to the Chinese city of Hangzhou is all about one thing: the shimmering, dreamy majesty of West Lake. Surrounded by misty green hills and lush parkland as far as the eye can see, this booming city of 8.7 million stands as one of China’s most adored holiday spots. No surprise then that I chose Hangzhou for a five-day visit during the National Holiday Golden week. Having checked into my grubby but smartly located hostel digs, I wasted no time in getting lakeside with a visit to the gorgeous Singing in the Willows Park.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Jing’an Temple, Shanghai.

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Jing’an Temple, August 2009. If, like me, you’ve spent a fair amount of time exploring Asia, you’ll know that there comes a moment when you get all templed out. So by the time I rolled up in Shanghai I decided to limit my temple explorations to the charms of this A-list structure on West Nanjing Road. Dating back to AD 1216, it was all but completely destroyed by a fire in 1972. After a full restoration, Jing’an reopened in its current form in 1990.  

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My Photographs: Top 5 Yantai, China.

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Beach 2, August 2009. Welcome to the sleepy port city of Yantai in Shandong Province. I’d been travelling around Shandong for several weeks when someone recommended Yantai as a pleasant place to head purely for a spell of beach lazing. “The beach isn’t actually up to much,” he admitted with a wry smile. “And the city centre doesn’t have anything going on”. It was quite the sales pitch, but nevertheless I felt fascinated by this seemingly unloved coastal outpost. Most of the visit was spent here on Beach 2 reading; sleeping, swimming and watching people build sandcastles.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Qingdao, China.

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Xinhao Shan Park, August 2009. The coastal city of Qingdao is my favorite place in Shandong Province. There are cobbled streets and European-style squares with churches and German architecture. Away from the insanity of the central strip, there are secluded beaches and peaceful parks. And you shouldn’t skip the craziness of Beer Street and the Tsingtao Brewery, while there are also stunning beauty spots like this hillside park and its splendid three hundred and sixty degree views across Qingdao.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Tianfeng Pagoda – Ningbo, China.

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Tianfeng Pagoda, August 2017. Any self-guided walking tour of downtown Ningbo should include a stop at this cool hexagonal tower; the city’s tallest ancient structure at 167 feet. Built in 695 during The Tang Dynasty, the original structure has been destroyed and restored a million and one times over, with the latest renovation coming as recently as 1989.

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