Discovering China’s Secret: Part 1 – The Slender West Lake

Slender West Lake

Discovering China’s Secrets

The Great Wall, Terra Cotta Warriors and the Forbidden City are some of the words that come to mind when people think about China. Not many people in the States even heard of the Slender West Lake in China. Perhaps they heard of Beijing, Xian or Chengdu, but Yangzhou, the city of the Slender West Lake, is often passed.


The scenic lake, dating back to the mid-18th century, is the heart of Yangzhou city. Its magnificence not only emanates from its treasured beauty but the fact that it is purely man-made. As the park continually grew, wealthy salt traders built in impressive rows of moats, bridges, gardens and villas to welcome and please Emperor Qianlong. Now, these elegant projects serve to please visitors with its serene and vivid atmosphere.


The lake itself hosts many attractions for travelers. The Five-Pavilion Bridge is possibly the lake’s key spot. The symmetry and placement of the bridge and its surrounding pavilions demonstrate Chinese value of aesthetics that stem from man-made architecture mixed with nature.

Visitors can also enjoy breathtaking views from Xiaojin Hill. The area not only offers unforgettable sights but opportunities to experience local culture including antique shops, bookstores and gardens that teach you about Chinese horticulture. It is also impossible to talk about the Slender West Lake’s significance without mentioning the restaurants surrounding the area that truly demonstrate the mouthwatering cuisine of Yangzhou. 

Travelers can also enjoy a small boat ride to take in the picturesque views that inspired countless poems and art pieces.

Although it does not possess the historical prominence of the Terra Cotta Warriors or dominant presence of the Great Wall, the Slender West Lakes possesses its own unique charm. Not only does it possess charm and scenery, it contains cultural significance as well. To take in the hidden beauty of Yangzhou, check out our China Dreaming and China Secrets Tour.