Perfect Hangzhou destinations to welcome spring

Mar 22 | Source: Shanghai Daily

It's the best time to appreciate the wonderful floral views in Hangzhou.
Willows along West Lake
Peach blossoms in Dingshan

IN summer, Hangzhou’s West Lake is thronged with travelers who come to admire its undulating lotus flowers. In autumn, it’s the fiery red, yellow and orange maple leaves that lure tourists from far and wide.

In spring, elegant willows and colorful flowers are the big draw. With the vernal colors now at their most vibrant, wonderful floral views include Taiziwan Park, Hangzhou Flower Nursery, Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard, Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond, Su Causeway, Hangzhou Botanic Garden and greeneries west of Yanggong Causeway.

Here are some of the best places to go flower-peeping around West Lake, many of which feature cultural relics in addition to picturesque views.

Taiziwan Park

Taiziwan Park is a popular getaway for travelers with families. It’s a great spot for picnicking and for couples taking wedding photographs, as it’s ablaze with flowers all year around.

Now cherry trees are bathing Taiziwan Park with a touch of pink. As temperatures rise, peach trees in the park are now in full blossom. When a light breeze blows, it often carries the pink petals into nearby water bodies.

Every winter, workers plant tulip bulbs at the park. In spring, the bright-colored tulips bloom and draw streams of visitors. That tradition has kept for more than 20 years, and this year is no exception.

Taiziwan means “princes’ bay” in Chinese. It is said that two Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) princes were buried here, when the area was also a bay, hence its name.

The western gate of the park is the starting point of a trail leading to Jiuyao Hill. Hikers can reach a nearby mountaintop for a panoramic view of West Lake.

In addition, the hill is dotted with wild, aromatic winter daphne. Just pay attention to your surroundings while hiking. These fragrant shrubs mainly grow beneath big trees and sometimes on slopes.

A food festival is underway in the park through late April. Visitors can grab a bite as they linger over the flowers.

How to get there: Take bus No. 318 and get off at Chishanbu stop.

Huiyin Goryeo Temple

In 2015, the annual tulip exhibition transferred from Taiziwan Park to this temple, elevating its fame among tourists. The temple is renowned for its daffodils and holds an annual show celebrating these yellow blooms.

The temple dates to AD 927 when Buddhism penetrated Hangzhou. The then Emperor Qianliu of Wu Kingdom presided over the construction.

At first, it was just an ordinary temple like other religious sites in Hangzhou. However, its destiny changed when the fourth son of Munjong of Goryeo, a monarch who ruled Korea, came to study Buddhism in 1085. He was apprenticed to Master Jingyuan and lived in what was then Huiyin Temple.

Years later, when he returned to Korea, he donated 170 scrolls containing Buddhist scriptures, and 100 kilograms of silver to enlarge the temple and build a large Buddha statue. Thereafter, the temple rose to prominence. Its huge collection of Avatamsaka Sutra scrolls attracting many believers. It was renamed Huiyin Goryeo Temple to commemorate the friendship between China and Korea.

However, the temple fell into ruin over the centuries. In 2004, it was rebuilt in accordance with its ancient layout, featuring a Southern Song (1127-1279) style and covering 15,000 square meters.


How to get there: Take bus No. 197 and get off at Yuhuwan stop.

Hangzhou Flower Nursery

The flower nursery was erected to cultivate flowers in the 1950s. It also collects and preserves precious flower species. Today, the nursery boasts more than 3,500 varieties covering an area of 28 hectares.

The nursery is divided into nine sections. The magnolia blossoms are in season now. The white and magenta flowers are thick with citrus-lemon fragrance. They have been cultivated in Chinese Buddhist temple gardens since AD 600. Its flowers were regarded as a symbol of purity in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and often planted in the grounds of the emperor’s palace.


How to get there: Take bus No. 318 and get off at Hangzhou Flower Nursery stop.

Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard

As the name implies, this is a prime spot to observe the West Lake’s lotus flowers. This area is also popular with shutterbugs, many of whom come to capture the budding willows reflected on the lake’s water.

But as the lotus plants have withered and willows are still sprouting buds, the view has changed to one of vigorous purple flowers nestled amidst traditional Chinese black-and-white architecture.

Whether you come with a camera or not, be sure to stroll along the lakeside road leading to the garden’s Chinese pavilions if you want to truly immerse yourself in the purple colors that comes from February’s flowers. People named them so because they usually bloom in the second month of the lunar calendar.


How to get there: Take bus No. 318 and get off at Hangzhou Flower Nursery stop.

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