As Marco Polo said, Hangzhou is the “most beautiful and magnificent city in the world”. We don’t doubt it, indeed he might just be right: it has a lot to offer and it is just a short 50-minute journey by train from glamorous Shanghai, incredibly easy to access.
Yet the reason for the city’s popularity has to do with more than just its convenience. Hangzhou’s popularity has to do with the stories which lay beneath it. Its hidden stories.
The West Lake in Hangzhou, which is the main attraction, is the main character of ancient legend and stories about its creation.
One of the main legend is the one that tell us that the West Lake in Hangzhou have been forger from the Battles of Heaven.
The story goes that West Lake began when the Jade Dragon and Golden Phoenix found a brilliant white jade stone. Every day, they would make sure to polish and clean it thoroughly, worried that its pure white surface would be ruined by even the tiniest of scratches. Eventually, that stone became so polished that it became a stunning white ball, and wherever its light could reach, beautiful flowers would spring from the ground.
So, when the Empress of heaven heard of the ball, she wanted it for herself. Sending her army to go and collect it, a war began between the Jade Dragon and Gold Phoenix, and those who came from heaven. It was bitter and lasted for a long time. Until one day the ball was dropped from such a great height that when it hit the ground, it created the West Lake and Phoenix Mountain. To this day, the Phoenix mountain keeps a watchful eye over the West Lake, protecting it from the agents of heaven.
Today, the West Lake in Hangzhou is a huge tourist attraction and easily accessed by any means of public transport in the city. Just like the things we love about China, the area is still relatively cheap and the people are very welcoming. Just be warned that it can get a little crowded.