Travel Report: Leifeng Pagoda – Hangzhou, China.
October 2017. Wherever you happen to be on Hangzhou’s West Lake, you just can’t miss the mystical form of Leifeng Pagoda jutting dramatically out of the greenery. It really does cut a handsome figure, even on a smoggy day like this one, so slowly but surely Wonderboy and I made our way around the lake towards it.
October 2017. Dating back to AD 977, Leifeng Pagoda is a five-story, eight-sided structure said to be the oldest colourful bronze pagoda in China. So naturally it attracts a decent amount of visitors every day of the year. But this was Golden Week of course, so we were expecting the crowd levels to be nothing short of insane. Having queued up for over half an hour just to get our tickets (and that included some queue cunning cutting), we then joined the throng of visitors heading up to the pagoda’s ground floor entrance.
October 2017. As is often the way on our adventures, Wonderboy took Leifeng Pagoda’s escalator, while I tackled the unforgiving stone steps head on. Needless to say I was quite out of breath by the time I got to the top!
October 2017. This shot, looking back down at the escalator from Leifeng Pagoda’s second level, offers a great perspective on a) how high up you have to go just to get to the entrance and b) how many people we were dealing with that day.
October 2017. It’s also possible to take an elevator up to Leifeng Pagoda’s 5th floor summit. And indeed there were hundreds of people queuing up to do just that, rather than negotiate the stairs. But in doing so they missed out on the wonderful art exhibition based around Hangzhou’s folk tale The Legend of the White Snake. Told through a series of stunning woodcarvings, paintings and sculptures, we discovered the ancient love story of local Hangzhou man Xu Xian and a hypnotic snake lady called Bai Suzhen.
October 2017. As cool as the interior was, the highlight of Leifeng Pagoda was of course coming out at the top on the fifth floor for sweeping views across West Lake and the Hangzhou skyline. Once again the smog did its best to dilute the experience, but it was still pretty impressive. The only difficulty was squeezing into a spot on the balcony to get unencumbered views and take our photos.
October 2017. Keep your eyes open for West Lake’s famous islands, the one pictured here is known as Three Pools Mirroring The Moon. Getting out to the islands during National Holiday week is a real challenge, with people fighting over limited boats and a steep 300RMB return price for the privilege. Leifeng Pagoda is open daily from 08:00-20:00, with entrance tickets priced at 40RMB.
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 travel reports from around Zhejiang Province.
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