West Lake boat cruise, Hangzhou – We all hopped on a two-story boat and took a leisurely ride around the lake – about 30 minutes. This was fitting, given that Hangzhou is said to be the leisure capital – very beautiful, much more green than we’ve seen in other areas. A few nicknames our tour guide mentioned: City of Love (many people come here for their honeymoon), Capital of Tea (has over 800 tea houses), World of Gardens, Oriental leisure capital, and Quality life city. It definitely felt like a quality life city too
Ling Yin Temple, Hangzhou – one of the largest Buddhist temples in China. It was founded in 328 AD by monk Hui Li from India. It had an outside portion – a series of stone carvings on the side of the mountain, and then it had the temple buildings themselves—9 multi-story buildings, 18 pavilions, 72 halls. People were worshipping there, so we tiptoed around the individuals with their incense and candles. My favorite was the outside portion – very peaceful, beautiful carvings in the stone walls, streams and walkways.
Dragon Well Tea Plantation, Hangzhou – Next stop was the Dragon Well tea plantation in Longjing Village (the village this famous tea is named after – Longjing green tea). We drove through the village and then entered the plantation – rows and rows of short, round tea plants lined the countryside. The higher up the tea plant, the higher quality the tea. This village produces one of China’s most famous varieties of green tea. We were able to tour the area, learned about the production process, and then were able to taste it.
Dragon Well Tea Plantation, Hangzhou – Group pic at the tea plantation!