At the beginning of November, I was ready for a break from the city. I needed to be in a place where there are more trees than people. Luckily, there is a place near Hangzhou — a 2.5 hours bus ride. The place is called Qian Dao Hu meaning 1000 island lake.
The lake is man made by the creation of a hydrodam on Xi’an River. According to the tour guide, the lake’s water is one of the cleanest in China. The water is used to produce Nongfu Spring brand mineral water. This brand is everywhere in Hangzhou and other part of China.
The air seems to be refresher here than the city air but I don’t know why the sky is so hazy. Could it be the cool air and warm water causing a low level fog? I don’t know. What I know is that it makes seeing far difficult and it’s really bad for photography.
Getting around is difficult in this area because there’s not really a good transit system and the places to do things are spread out. I needed a car for the weekend. Luckily, I found a driver and a car for hire for 70 Yuan (less than $11). His name is Mr. Shao (phone number is 13615719677). He drove me to the hotel from the bus station, took me to a local restaurant by the lake (waited for me), the next morning, drove me to the boat dock for my island tour, then pick me up afterwards. The next morning, he picked me at the hotel and drop me off at the bus station. He was very prompt and very courteous.
The hotel room I booked at New Century Hangzhou Qiandao Lake was amazing. It was on the 21st floor with a view the city and the lake. Because it’s the beginning of the low season, I got a deep discount for the room. The room was clean and the bed was very comfy. A nice change from staying in a hostel.
I was lucky to get a boat tour. It was their second last day before they close for the season. I boarded one of the biggest boat on the lake. It took us to the middle of the lake. There, I boarded a smaller boat that took me to various islands. It first took me to the bell tower — the highest spot. I didn’t know that I can walk up to it, so I paid 10 Yuan for a chairlift ride.
After that, the tour scheduled an early lunch on the big boat. The food quantity was massive but lacks variety. Last night I had two famous local fish dishes for dinner, and at lunch I was served the same two types of fish dishes. Needless to say, that evening, I had no fish for dinner.
In the afternoon, I visited more islands and walked around. The big boat returned me to the dock to end the day tour. Overall, it’s a good tour but I could skip the lunch.