Discovering West Lake
Other than on a bike, the best way to discover the lake is from a wooden boat. When you row under some of its bridges, perhaps you will spot brides and grooms having their pictures taken for their weddings. It is also a star destination for honeymooners.
One of the greatest challenges faced by Hangzhou in leading sustainability is managing the high volume of tourists it receives, 100 million per year. The majority of them are Chinese. Some streets and areas of the city are protected, as is the case with the natural areas on the outskirts. As a result of this and its cultural heritage, Hangzhou is resisting the drive towards development that other Chinese cities have succumbed to. It has managed this to such an extent that it is nicknamed “paradise on Earth”. Marco Polo would certainly agree with that description. His own was not far off it: “the most splendid city in the world”, he proclaimed, on his 12th century visit to the place that is now the capital of Zhejiang. Back then, with 1 million inhabitants, Hangzhou was one of the most densely populated cities on the planet. Its current population (9 million) is no small feat, but is amply surpassed by other nearby metropolises. One example is the 22 million people who reside in the country’s capital, Beijing.