1. Ho Tay Lake, April 2018. As the larger of Hanoi’s two city lakes, Ho Tay (West Lake) is a much more subdued affair than pretty Hoan Kiem, with its temple, turtle tower and pretty, landscaped gardens. But Ho Tay is well worth checking out with a handful of interesting sights and a seventeen-kilometer shore length that makes for some excellent walking routes. Start your journey here at the smaller, neighboring Truch Bach Lake.
1. Shangri-La Hotel October 2017. Captain Wonderboy and I had just finished tackling the unbridled chaos of West Lake’s Su Causeway and were in desperate need of a well-deserved time out. “Check out that fancy hotel!” I exclaimed. So we did, crossing the insanely busy road and walking up the driveway of the opulent Shangri-La Hotel. We’d been walking the entire day, so as soon as we saw this quiet leafy café terrace I instinctively knew it was time to collapse for a bit over some overpriced drinks.
1. Wushan Hill, October 2017. Some people will tell you that there’s nothing to see in Hangzhou outside the main draw of West Lake. Those people are wrong! In fact, one of the many highlights of my trip was a visit to Wushan Hill and its striking City of God Pavilion. This shot of the hill was taken from the top-floor viewing terrace of the equally impressive Leifeng Pagoda.
1. 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.
1. Shuangtou Bridge, October 2017. I must have covered every inch of West Lake’s gorgeous parkland during my five days in Hangzhou. This beautiful little bridge, located in Changqiao Park near Tangyun Art Gallery, is probably my favorite West Lake spot.
1. 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.
1. 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.