Big news came when bird photographer Zhu Chenzhou captured some images of a Baikal Teal – an endangered water bird that hasn't been spotted in these parts for over a decade. Many more rare birds are choosing to hibernate in Hangzhou, along the Qiantang River, around the West Lake, and in the Xixi Wetlands. According to our resident birder, the wetlands in the wintertime are a fabulous place to catch a glimpse of birds as it is home to over 89 species. But, if it’s just an escape from the city and a dip into nature you seek, this isn’t a bad place either
Things are progressing quite nicely for the “first National Wetland Park in China” in its two and a half years of existence. Last month, they announced plans for a Wetlands Museum that is slated to be opened in 2009. They’re also just about to cut the ribbon on a huge new extension that will more than double the area of the 3.46 square kilometer park. The biggest feature will be the Two Causeways with its six bridges, arboretum, rare plants, gardens and two Ming dynasty nunneries along with food stalls and teahouses. Now this may sound a bit crowded, but let us assure you, these places are peppered throughout the park and are often difficult to find in the labyrinth that is the wetlands. Our advice, take a picnic lunch. There are plenty of places to throw down a blanket. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have a cup of tea. You’ll definitely need to rest those dogs after hiking around all day.
The wetland boasts 66,667 square meters of plum trees - including cinnabar, pink and red plum. At this time of year cherry and peach blossom and rape flowers create a vibrant show. Xixi Wetland also holds a flower festival every April. Later in the year, lavender is another highlight.
This protected natural reserve is home to 99 types of wild fish, several species of birds, trees and flowers; the rich diversity of fauna and flora giving the park its unique beauty.
In the past, villagers once lived on the wetlands, planting mulberry and persimmon trees to hold the muddy banks together. Their livelihood consisted of rearing silkworms, growing mulberry trees for the silkworms' food, silk weaving, selling persimmons, bamboo-made products and fishing.
Visitors to the park can take a boat ride, stopping to view various exhibitions such as the houses where the villagers once stayed, silk weaving machines, and the magnificent dragon boats.
Boat Ticket: 60RMB
Small boats (max. 6 people): 100RMB/hour
Busses: 506, K310/310