Finding the best way to Qiandao Lake

Updated: 2016-09-05 08:24

By Raymond Zhou(China Daily)

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Finding the best way to Qiandao Lake

The best way to get a panoramic view of Qiandao Lake is to cycle around it. [Photo by Huang Shanjian/Qiu Guoqiang/China Daily]

Unlike most Chinese natural attractions, Qiandao Lake does not come with a wealth of folk tales, as it is a man-made lake dammed in 1959 for a hydroelectric station.

Many towns and villages were submerged as a result, including two county-level towns.

In 2001, divers were sent down to explore the ruins and they were amazed that many relics of the 1,800-year towns, including the city wall and some wood carvings, were still intact. (They might not have survived the cultural revolution above water.)

Since then there has been talk of commercial diving. As the average depth of the 573-sq-km lake is 34 meters, there are technical challenges that have to be resolved before those without diving experience can go that deep and see the city as it was in 1959.

But probably the best way to get a panoramic view of the lake is to cycle around it.

Local authorities have spent 1.5 billion yuan to build a 150-km bicycle lane, which could well be the world's most beautiful route of its kind.

While automobiles have a tunnel, bikers can still stick close to the water's edge.

There are even special bridges for bikes only.

The brave can go up 658 meters to a peak near Dashu Town.

Bicycle rental stations are all over the city and the rates are low.

Near the downtown area is a pedestrian path. It traverses parks, piers, farmers' markets, outdoor restaurants and many popular hangouts.

Qiandao Lake is fast becoming a major attraction as a resort.

It is already a daunting task to book a hotel room for a weekend.

And by 2018 when a high-speed rail line is opened, it will take only 1.5 hours to get there from Shanghai and 45 minutes from Hangzhou-the central part of Hangzhou because Qiandao Lake falls within Hangzhou's jurisdiction.

If you think the West Lake is not big enough, try Qiandao Lake, which is 108 times the size of West Lake and holds 3,000 times its volume of water.


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