Big news came when bird photographer Zhu Chenzhou captured some images of a Baikal Teal an endangered water bird that hasn't been spotted in these parts for over a decade. Many more rare birds are choosing to hibernate in Hangzhou, along the Qiantang River, around the West Lake, and in the Xixi Wetlands. According to our resident birder, the wetlands in the wintertime are a fabulous place to catch a glimpse of birds as it is home to over 89 species. But, if it's just an escape from the city and a dip into nature you seek, this isn't a bad place either.
Things are progressing quite nicely for the first National Wetland Park in China in its two and a half years of existence. Last month, they announced plans for a Wetlands Museum that is slated to be opened in 2009. They're also just about to cut the ribbon on a huge new extension that will more than double the area of the 3.46 square kilometer park. The biggest feature will be the Two Causeways with its six bridges, arboretum, rare plants, gardens and two Ming dynasty nunneries along with food stalls and teahouses. Now this may sound a bit crowded, but let us assure you, these places are peppered throughout the park and are often difficult to find in the labyrinth that is the wetlands. Our advice, take a picnic lunch. There are plenty of places to throw down a blanket. That's not to say you shouldn't have a cup of tea. You'll definitely need to rest those dogs after hiking around all day.
How to get there: There is free shuttle bus from Leifeng Pagoda on the south bank of the West Lake to Xixi Wetland every half an hour from 9am to 2:30pm. Passengers who hold entrance tickets for Xixi Wetland can get on the bus for free. Or take bus K506, K193, K310 and sight-seeing line 1 and get off at Xixi Wetland Stop.
Wetland Ticket: 140RMB, including a 20-minute electric boat ride.
Battery Boat: 60RMB. Row Boat: 100RMB/per boat (6 people/boat)
Hours: 8:30am - 5:30pm (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31); 8:30am – 5pm (Nov. 1 to Mar. 31) Last entry at 4:30pm.