West Lake: Hangzhou, China

Remember the city which stole the spotlight in 2016 as the host of G20 Summit?

An hour away from Shanghai on the high-speed train is the beautiful, diverse and vibrant city of Hangzhou.

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Locals say that this city hosts many immortal love stories. My Chinese friend narrated me one of the most touching love stories.

A love story between Bai Suzhen and Xu Xian.

Bai Suzhen was a white snake spirit, disguised as a beautiful woman and Xu Xian was a mortal man. They fell in love with each other when they first met on a boat on the West Lake and got married very soon.

Even though she was a snake spirit, she loved her husband unconditionally. They worked together at a pharmacy and provided free medicine to those who couldn’t afford it. But an evil monk Fa Hai couldn’t stand this and he decided to unmask the White Snake. She was eventually imprisoned under Leifeng Pagoda by the evil monk.

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Leifeng Pagoda

I cannot forget the first time I laid my eyes on the famous West Lake. Here, the nature is absolutely awe-inspiring.

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It comprises of numerous temples, pagodas, pavilions, gardens and ornamental trees, as well as causeways and artificial islands.

I strolled along the causeway by the lake, to embrace the peaceful ethos of the city and better understand its time-honored fame as ‘Heaven on Earth’.

The willow tree-lined banks, the shimmering water and the pagodas looming in the distance were all so evocative.

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My friend told me that the West Lake has inspired famous poets, scholars and artists since the 9th century.

Here are the words composed by the famous Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo. In the poem, he compared the West Lake to Xi Zi, one of the four beauties in ancient China. It depicts the charm of the lake which has always been a scenic spot since ancient times.

‘Sunny water waves its glow,
Misty rain tricks the hill.
Plainly or gaily decked out like Xi Zi,
West Lake is always alluring.’

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