Travel Report: Orioles Singing in the Willows Park, Hangzhou, China.
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 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.
October 2017. Accessed via Nanshan Road on West Lake’s southeastern flank, Singing in the Willows is a gorgeous stretch of park with a one-kilometer path running alongside the lake itself. I’d been expecting it to be ludicrously crowded, but things were pretty manageable that first day. Sauntering along with my travel buddy Wonderboy, the vibe was chilled, with strolling families and couples napping on benches in the sunshine.
October 2017. True to its name, Singing in the Willows Park has a beautiful parade of charming willow trees that line the lakeside path, with little wooden benches here and there right by the water’s edge.
October 2017. It took a while to claim a West Lake bench for ourselves, but eventually we settled in, snacking on mango cakes and watching the paddleboats go back and forth.
October 2017. There are also a number of gazebos along the route that offer up even better lake views. They’re great for seeking shelter from the burning sun, or indeed drops of pesky 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, with tourists jostling, elbowing, standing in front of you and even walking through you like you’re Patrick Swayze in Ghost. All part of the China experience.
October 2017. 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. It was our first West Lake experience and Singing in the Willows Park made sure our trip got off to a fantastic start!
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.
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