Our time in Hangzhou was short at two days - one of which was taken for the eclipse. That unfortunately, didn't give us too much time in Hangzhou itself - but we left with a very positive impression of the city. The area around the West Lake is the greenest we've seen in a Chinese city and something to be encouraged.
The longest total solar eclipse until 2132 was the primary and overriding reason for us to be in Hangzhou at this time. Sadly it was a total cloud out. With totality of 5 minutes 40 seconds at Hangzhou, this was a real disappointment. And one we could do nothing about except hope and pray. was a cloud-out at the Qiantang River Tidal Bore viewing area.
The Tidal Bore, 85 minutes after the end of the eclipse, provided the only relief on eclipse day. And it's an impressive sight. As the tide comes in, a one-meter wall of water spanning over 2 kilometers at our location. A white line on the horizon, some miles away, is followed by a wall of sound, at first and low rumbling, is followed by a vast bulk of water running upstream.
The Buddhist Lingyin Monastry is the oldest monastry in southern China and dates from 326. So far it's been rebuilt 16 times as a result of natural disasters and wars and such likes. The entrance to the Lingyin monastry, through the Ling Yin Fei Lai Feng scenic area, takes you through some beautiful parkland with statues and pagodas which have been left here by pilgrims over the centuries. Some have been carved into or left in niches in cliff faces.
The West Lake is reputed to be the most beautiful Lake in China. It's not difficult to see why. So an afternoon cruise on the West Lake is a fine, and hot, way to spend your afternoon. An assortment of pagodas, skylines, distant mountains and park land await for your eyes to feast upon. Of course, you could just have been in Switzerland - but hotter, humider and with Chinese buildings. Marvellous.
Day in Suzhou - Travelogue from our time in Suzhou during a trip to China for the total solar eclipse
Hong Kong - skyline of Hong Kong Island - Skyline of Hong Kong Island seen from the Star Ferry
Kowloon - Bruce Lee at the Avenue of Stars - Statue of Bruce Lee on the Avenue of Stars on Kowloon Island
Hong Kong - light display - Light display on the buildings of Hong Kong island
Visit to Chongqing - Travelogue from our time in Chongqing during an 18 day trip to China
Chengdu - trip to the Wenshu Temple - Travelogue from our afternoon in the Wenshu Temple in Chengdu
Chengdu - three day stay in Chengdu - Travelogue from Chengdu, including the Wenshu Temple during our 18 day trip to China
Solar Eclipse (2009) in China - the schedule - Travel plans for the 2009 Total Solar Eclipse. Includes China travel information
Impressions of China - a travelogue - Impressions of China by adventure couple Dave and Deb from theplanetD.com
Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook