03.10.2008 21 °C
We've heard so much about "The East Lake" which is abut 6 kms to the east of Shaoxing. Claims about it being like the West Lake in Hangzhou are really exaggerated. We were bitterly disappointed. Mind you, it is never the best time to do during holiday period as most tourist spots are packed with local tourists.
But it wasn't that. It was nothing like the West Lake of Hangzhou. It was small, with the "lake" being hemmed in between huge cliffs of bluestone, and a canal. Giant impressive cliffs on one side leaving a pool, a deep pool at the base of the rock cliffs, with narrow walkways between the lakes, and stone bridges spanning the waterways with no handrails. Somewhat precarious especially on a busy day, with folk not particularly caring of others on the bridges.
The stone workers rmeoved the stones since the Han Dynasty (2006BC to 220 AD) so the area has a long history. The area is quite pretty with hanging willows, and water, and small pavilions along the way. Little boats ply their way through the lakes, and into the grottos formed by the rock walls. The boats with the boatment using one or two feet to push the huge oar and propel the boats. The boats took passengers right into the grottos, and under bridges. The scenery from the boats would have been spectacular, but on a busy day there were long queues for the boats, that formed lines as they followed the rock walls.
There are several famous grottos, ingluding the Taogong Grotto, and the Peach Grotto. Wonderful opportunities for photos.
Interested in climbing? There is a path right up high above the stone rock face - with views for miles.
Inevitably there is a little shop selling a variety of souvenirs for the tourists, and wonderful icecreams and cold drinks for those wanting some sustenance.
The highlight for us was two Chinese Opera singers at the end of the walk, who performed in a pavilion overlooking the lake.
There were plenty of food stalls, and much to see, but I would hardly compare it with the famous West Lake as mentioned above.
No. 1 Bus from the centre of Shaoxing will take you there, and it is 40 RMB to enter.