Travel Report: Orioles Singing in the Willows, Hangzhou.
Orioles Singing in the Willows, Hangzhou
October 2017. A trip to the Chinese city of Hangzhou mainly centres on 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 Golden Week national holiday Having checked into my grubby but smartly located hostel digs, I wasted no time in getting lakeside with a visit to a nearby park, the curiously named Orioles Singing in the Willows.
Accessed via Nanshan Road on West Lake’s southeastern flank, Singing in the Willows is a gorgeous stretch of park with a one kilometre lakeside walking trail. I’d been expecting it to be ludicrously crowded, but actually things were manageable that first day. Sauntering along with my travel buddy Wonderboy, the vibe was chilled, with strolling families and couples napping under umbrellas in the sunshine.
Orioles Singing in the Willows, Hangzhou.
True to its name, Singing in the Willows features a beautiful parade of charming willow trees. Most of them line the lakeside path, providing cover to the numerous wooden benches by the water’s edge.
It took a while to claim a West Lake bench for ourselves. But eventually we settled in, snacking on mango cakes and watching the paddle boats go back and forth.
West Lake, Hangzhou.
There are also a number of gazebos along the route that offer wonderful lake views. They’re great for seeking shelter from the burning sun, or indeed pesky drops of rain. Both of which we experienced during our time in Hangzhou.
You’ll need to patiently wait for a photo opportunity like this one though. We were quite literally jostled and elbowed out of the way, while one guy blatantly stood right in front of me as I was lining up a shot. My favourite though, was the old dude who tried to walk through me, as if I were Patrick Swayze in Ghost. All part of the China experience of course.
As tempting as it was to spend all of our time lakeside, my favourite Singing in the Willows spots were actually away from the lake on a section of boardwalk off the main path. Here there’s a beautiful pond with lily pads, algae and all manner of frogs and buzzing insects.
Singing in the Willows was our first taste of West Lake and a fantastic start to our Hangzhou adventures!
For more on my time in the city, have a look at my other articles on Hangzhou.
For more on the region, check out my travel reports from around Zhejiang Province.
Like these? Then why not leaf through my many other reports from across China.
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