Xixi National Wetland Park, the first and so far only National Wetland Park in China, is located in the western outskirts Chinas beautiful paradice city of Hangzhou and lies at the southern tip of the longest and oldest canal in the world, the Hangzhou-Beijing Canal. Xixi covers an area of 3.46 square kilometers and features abundant ecological resources, beautiful natural scenes and a rich cultural heritage of many millennia. It ranks one of the "Three Xi" in Hangzhou along with the famous West Lake and Xiling Seal Society. It includes many thousands of ponds , networks of streams and rivers, extensive reedbeds and ecological areas and provides rich examples of aspects of urban wetland, as well as agricultural and cultural wetland environments. Many unique cultural aspects add to Xixi's fascination including the persimmon and plum festivals, the dragon boats, the silk industry, boat born martial arts and the prestige of being the birthplace of the famous ShaoXin opera. In this way Xixi National Wetland Park clearly represents a unique and unrivalled recreation and education experience.
Opened in May 2005, this wetlands park is located in the extreme west part of the city past the west bus station. One of the easiest ways to get there would be to take a bus from Huanglong Soccer Stadium. While it may be somewhat out of the way and the road signs have the English translation as an uninviting "Xixi Swamp", this area is not to be missed, as currently the tourists are not too many, and it is a great way to see birds and other wildlife. The birds are especially beautiful and varied.
Xixi Wetland is a paradise of all kinds of birds. There are more than 80 kinds of birds, such as aigrettes, cuckoos, warblers, and magpies, etc. Visitors may watch birds in a high stage or just close to them.
The Xixi wetland is one location of the movie “If You Are The One” shot by famous director Feng Xiaogang. Looking for footprint of the movie, you may feel an artistic conception in the pure nature.
Xixi Wetland History
At Xixi there is some evidence of an original wetland culture going back 4-5000 years. Specific records begin in the Dong Han dynasty (223 AD) where Buddhists gathered to drink of Xixi's water and engaged in stone carving and the first Buddhist temples were soon built on site. The famous Hua Fa Shi Temple established from 480-493 AD is the earliest temple still present at Xixi although earlier temples existed. From the Tang Dynasty (beyond 618 AD), Xixi's natural beauty and ecology was being enthusiastically praised in the writings of the eminent poets. More recently, the famous Dragon Boat Festival was established (1465) together with the completion of many more pavilions and villas. Later still, In the mid 1600's, a Buddhist revival spawned a further plethora of historical temples. The persimmon, plums, reeds, bamboo and magnificent Camphor trees of Xixi at this time were becoming highly prized, and the ecology of Xixi was a key feature referenced in poems, writings and paintings of the period, as was its bird life. Building names, at this time, reflected Xixi's ecological nature, prime examples including the Plum and Bamboo Villa established in 1839, and the Autumn Snow Temple referring to the sea of white reed heads viewed from the temple's upper gallery. The fishing culture of Xixi has also been an important factor to the city - the fish and terrapins of Xixi's 3000 ponds supplying much of the city of Hangzhou and surrounds.
What is a Wetland?
Wetland refers to natural or artificial, permanent or temporary marshes, peat bog and waters (motionless or flowing, fresh water or salt water) including coastal seawater areas no deep than 6m in low tide. Wetland also includes beaches or riversides close to wetland areas, including island habitats, where the surrounding seawaters are no deeper than 6m at low tide within the area of wetland. Wetland ecological systems together with marine ecological systems and forest ecological system makes up the three key important ecological systems of the earth that together provide a huge percentage of the resources we require to sustain our human life and human society.
Xixi National Wetland Park is densely crisscrossed with six main watercourses, among which scatter various ponds, lakes and swamps. Xixi Wetland has a history of more than 1,800 years and an abundant cultural heritage - it's the original site of Chinese South Opera; it has a traditional Dragon Boat Contest; it contains the vivid life of a water village, featuring silkworm feeding and silk production.
Character of Xixi Wetland Park Water – the soul of Xixi. The unique wetland scene is formed by pools, rivers and lakes. Sic rivers are crossing over and countless pools are dotted here and there which can be described as "a Chinese h a melody played by rivers"
Ecology – the theme of Xixi. Xixi wetland set three ecologic protection areas. A ecologic sightseeing garden is open for the public. Xixi has another mane called "the heaven of birds". Many pavilions in this park are provided for visitors to appreciate the splendid scene of thousands of birds flying.
Civilization – the spirit of Xixi. Xixi is a fairyland since it existed in the ancient time. This is a Shangri-la to clean one’s heart. Many scholars left their works in Xixi. It is said that the stage near the hundred-year-old Zhang tree in Shentankou had welcomed the first show of Yue opera.
Folk customs – the essence of Xixi. The Dragon Boat Match held annually is a historical festival with unique celebration. The stories about silk and embroideries represent the busy scene of the native residences. From these folk customs, one can totally experience the real watertown flavors.
As an ecological park, Xixi can only accept 3,000 tourists in a single day. Reservation is advised.
The land ways are complex and unsignposted. It's easy to get lost. Be careful.
Battery Boat: CNY60 Rowing Boat: CNY100/per boat (allow 6 people in one boat)
08:30 to 17:30 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31); 08:30 to 17:00 (Nov. 1 to Mar. 31) Last entry at 16:30
How to Get There:
There is free shuttle bus from Leifeng Pagpda on the south bank of the West Lake to Xixi Wetland every half an hour from 09:00 to 14:30.