Baoshi Hill

This is one of the nicest walks in inner-Hangzhou. Baoshi Hill, which stands at the very north shore of West Lake has good walking trails with little tourist fanfare. You’ll encounter a number of other people on your walk, but there’s no tourist infrastructure designed to drain every cent out of you up here. There are a number of sights on the hill, but the easiest one to head for is Baochu Pagoda (保俶塔). You can spot it from a distance so it makes a good target. This pagoda was first built in 963, apparently as an offering to ensure the safe return of a King of Wuyue Kingdom. The present structure was built in 1933 and, at seven stories and 45.3m, is shorter than the original. There’s no staircase inside so it can’t be climbed.

Heading further west along Baoshi Hill brings you to Bapou Taoist Temple (¥5; Open: 6:30-17:00). This temple is dedicated to Ge Hong (281-341) a famous Taoist who dedicated his life to making immortality pills. Ge’s hut was on the spot where the temple now stands. Note that Baoshi Hill is also known as Geling Hill, in the immortal Taoist’s honor. The temple was first built shortly after his death, while the present structure dates from the Ming Dynasty.

The other major sight on Baoshi Hill is Yellow Dragon Cave (¥15; Open: 8-17), almost directly north of the Baopu Temple on the Shuguang Lu face of the hill. It’s actually a garden (there’s a tiny cave of sorts but it’s not the attraction) dotted with pavilions and bamboo groves and with a yellow dragon head spurting water into a pond.

Directions: There are a number of entrances to the hill, especially on Beishan Lu. If you want a long walk, then head up the trail on the west side of Yue Fei’s Temple and work your way east to Baochu Pagoda. The more sane option is to head directly up to Baochu Pagoda via the trail that starts almost directly below it. From the pagoda, head west to Baopu Temple and then back down.

Show the taxi driver: 请带我去宝石山,谢谢。 (Please take me to Baoshi Hill. Thank you.)