HDR photos of Hangzhou West Lake, Xi Hu, Zhejiang China

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If you want to visit China, West Lake in Hangzhou is a place you would not want to miss. There is a Chinese saying that goes, “Above there is heaven, below there are Suzhou and Hangzhou.” This is not an exaggeration; Hangzhou is as beautiful as heaven. You have to visit Hangzhou to fathom its beauty. Marco Polo, the first westerner to visit Hangzhou in the 13th century, described Hangzhou as “without doubt the finest and most splendid city in the world.” A famous poet of the Song Dynasty, Su Dongpo (960-1127), once compared the West Lake to Xizi (the most beautiful woman in ancient China) in his poem:

“Rippling waters shimmering on a sunny day;
Misty mountains shrouded in rain;
Plain or gaily decked out like Xizi;
West Lake is always alluring.”

These are the words composed by the famous Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo (960-1127) when he compared the West Lake to Xi Zi, the most beautiful woman in ancient China. These poetic sentiments leave one in no doubt of the glory of the scenery that inspired them.

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