Last weekend I went on a surprisingly easy yet amazing get-away: To Hangzhou and the West Lake.
I went to Hangzhou to visit my Chinese friend Emma who I lived with five years ago in London, to attend and speak about Happiness at an event known as Mini-TED and to visit Hangzhou's West Lake.
Hangzhou is a "smaller" city a couple of hundred km from Shanghai with approximately the same amount of people as in all of Denmark. Hangzhou is referred to as Heaven on Earth in medieval China and today the city is mostly renowned for the West Lake which is described as one of China's most beautiful landscapes.
It was not the most clear day - actually it was not clear at all but the lake was absolutely stunning. To focus on the positive side I decided that the lake looked beautiful in a very mysterious kind of way when covered in fog/smog/China-air.
At the lake one can take a stroll, rent a bike or a boat, sit down in a cafe overviewing the lake or do as me: try to get all the way around it. I of course brought my Nike Free and I gave it three hours. I almost made it around but then decided to sit down at one of the nicer Starbucks I have ever visited to drink something cold and look at my speech for the Mini-TED event.
How to get there:
From Shanghai I took the train from Hongqiao Railway Station (the end station of Line 10) to Hongzhou Railway Station. The trip took around one hour and ten minutes and was around RMB 150 for a return ticket. Not being veeery well prepared I was happy to find a tourist information right outside the station. I was planning to walk to the lake but the information assistant insisted that this was way to long. Sometimes Danish and Chinese people do have very different ideas of what is walkable and not but I trusted her and jumped on bus no. 7 as advised. The trip was RMB 2 and took 10-15 minutes. I was not sure when to get off but as soon as we got near to the lake it was impossible to miss one of the stops.
The West Lake is a perfect destination for a day-trip or a longer one if you wish to explore Hangzhou city to. With a tight schedule I did not get a chance to do so but I am definitely coming back to explore the lake on a clearer day and to visit Hangzhou city center.