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A boat ride on Hangzhou’s West Lake

By Taddeo Bwambale (People's Daily Online)    15:38, August 13, 2016

On a recent media trip to Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province in eastern China, we get the chance to a boat ride across the West Lake, of Hangzhou’s scenic spots.

A view of West Lake [Photo/Taddeo Bwambale]

An hour’s boat ride is a source of inspiration and will prove to you why the still waters have influenced poets and painters throughout Chinese history.

The vastness of the lake, cool winds and surrounding natural vegetation draw tourists to the area that has since ancient days been an important source of inspiration for travelers.

Covering an area of about 2.5 square miles, the lake is surrounded by other scenic attractions such as temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands.

The boats that take tourists around the West Lake come in different shapes and are designed to give comfortable view inside or on decks outside.

Some tourists opt to ride on canoes to get a different experience. One woman, seated alone in a canoe, scribbles something in a notebook as she sails by guided by a rower.

[Photo/Taddeo Bwambale]

The day of our boat trip is a chilly one, owing to a light drizzle, and the towering hills in the distance are held in a white tinge, yet this does not deter nature lovers from moving about.

We are served Hangzhou tea and fruit salad as we move from corner to corner of the lake surrounded by willows and peach trees.

File photo/Xinhua

Around the iconic lake, man-made features such as walkways, islands, bridges and gardens have been expanded, enhancing the beauty of a treasure that dates back more than 1000 years.

In 2011, West Lake was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a testament to its place as trove of history, art and heritage that deserves to be protected and preserved.

From a distance the glittering skyline of Hangzhou City comes to the fore, blending easily with pristine views of haze-capped mountains in a story of harmony between man and nature.

Many of Hangzhou’s more than eight million inhabitants stroll around the West Lake, scenic spots, monuments that have been well maintained over the years.

The Leifeng Pagoda [Photo/Taddeo Bwambale]

At least four large parks on the southern side of the lake are free for public access 24 hours a day, allowing residents and tourists to get up-close with nature.

Even with the rapid expansion of Hangzhou city, government regulations limit construction projects from proximity or height levels that may affect the rich view of West Lake.

Hangzhou City will host the G20 summit barely three weeks from now and global spotlight will be drawn to the West Lake and several other attractions around the fast-growing city.

The author (center) on the boat. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor: Wu Chengliang,Bianji)

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