Huizhou: A Walk Away from DG for a Day

Time to escape to Huizhou and get lost. Explore the natural surroundings that have inspired poets and prime ministers, and get some inspiration yourself with this month’s weekender.

Huizhou, once hidden behind Silver Bottle Mountain, is now accessible by railway. Such is the ease that boarding a train from Xipingxi (adjacent to Dongguan Subway Line 2, Xiping Station) allows you to be at the scenic Xihudong stop within an hour. Along with Xiping, visitors can arrive from other districts by train and are immediately met by water after exiting the railway station.

Xihu, also known as West Lake, is split into six lakes: E Lake, Feng Lake, Honghua Lake, Ling Lake, Ping Lake and South Lake. There are pathways lined with sculptures and temples, and the history dates as far back as the Eastern an Dynasty (25-220 C.E.). Gaobang Mountain towers over the northern banks of the Honghua Lake. You will soon have your camera out and ready, and if you fancy it try the nine bridges, all built with classic styles. There are islands scattered throughout the waters waiting to be explored.

The whole surrounding is a breath of fresh air, from one lotus lined lake to another, boasting tranquillity.

Xihu is heavily landscaped; however, it has a very established feel. The whole area became a public park after it was completely transformed in 1991.

Surrounded by the northern district of Huicheng, Xihu is pretty much at the city’s northern border. In one area of the lake, there is a city feel, but beyond that, you’re much more carefree and away from the hustle and bustle. Three and a bit square kilometers of flooded surface area makes for a good boat ride. There are cruising vessels for the softer sightseers and then there are rowing or peddle boats for the more active visitors, allowing an escape within an escape.

The water is around 1.5 meters in most areas and swimming is not allowed. The sculptures of Su Dongpo, Sun Yat-Sen and Zhou Enlai won’t be pleased if you go for a dip in their inspirational waters. Signs proclaim over 50 species of birds and an equal number of amphibians. Lizards are seen basking in quieter areas.

The whole surrounding is a breath of fresh air, from one lotus lined lake to another, boasting tranquillity.

The waters also serve for flood protection, but most people remain oblivious and are more likely to enjoy hiking and fitness opportunities. Artists sit in the out of the way spots capturing the surrounding scenes.

Xihu has commercial areas and seafood restaurants galore, however, it doesn’t suffocate the natural feel. Hakka tofu stuffed with meat and preserved vegetables are eaten on the northeast side of the park with great views below. Copious amounts of shellfish and crabs go from tanks to plates, to scraps on tables, and steamed rice cakes make a savory dessert before visitors decide to continue to walk around the banks of lakes.

Sunrise and sunset on Xihu are stunning which explains why the signs around the lake are in Japanese and Korean, as well as in English. People come from far and wide to witness the old pagoda against the skyline. For those who want a touch of the West on the west, there is a Starbucks right next to the railway station and other stores for the shoppers. Just to the left of Starbucks, about 100 meters away is a quaint little temple complete with a museum and art gallery. A nice way to round off a day of walking.

Not to be confused with the famous West Lake in Hangzhou or Yunnan, or for that matter, Ontario, Canada, there are 36 West Lakes throughout China, but few compare to this one. This charming ‘National AAAAA-level Scenic Spot’ is worthy of a wander. Why not? Let’s go for a walk with the HERE! Hiking Club on October 20.