East Lake is a large lake within the city limits of Wuhan, China, and the largest urban lake in China. Covering an area of 33 square kilometers, East Lake was designated as one of the 4A tourist zones of China in 2000. East Lake has a bird sanctuary, botanical garden, museums, boat rides, fishing, cycling, a public aquarium, and other activities for locals and tourists alike.
Because of its winding banks and crisscrossing ponds and brooks, it is called 'a lake with 99 bays'. The East Lake Scenic Area was formed from many famous scenic spots along the bank. The six major ones are Tingtao (Listening to Surging Waves), Mo Hill (Millstone Hill), Luoyan (Diving Wild Goose), Baima (White Horse), Chuidi (Playing Flutes), and Luohong Hills. Luoyan (Diving Wild Goose), known for its serene environment, Baima (White Horse), with the white horse tombs, Chuidi (Playing Flutes), Zhu Zhen (the sixth son of Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)), and Luohong Hills, where the highly respected Wuhan University is situated, are all appealing spots in East Lake. However, among the six scenic areas, Tingtao and Mo Hill scenic areas are the most two notable and are open to visitors.
The East Lake gate opens to the Tingtao scenic area featuring the rare sequoia especially elegant in late autumn.
The Listening-to-the-Waves Tower (Tingtao Xuan), with its classic elegance is one of the famous buildings in this area, along with Land of Water and Cloud (Shuiyun Xiang) which serves as a teahouse, and the Tingtao Inn of Wine, a restaurant offering local fish dishes. On the north, the center of this area, is the Poetry-Reciting Pavilion (Xingyinge), built for memorizing works of Qu Yuan, the great patriotic poet of the State of Chu (one of the seven warring states before Qin (221BC-206BC) in China's first feudal dynasty). Many exhibits about Qu Yuan are featured in this building including his great literary masterpieces. In addition, the first allegory sculpture park in China is here displaying wonderful sculpture and allegories.
One end of Mo Hill features a Daoist temple built over the putative site of where one of the characters in "Romance of Three Kingdoms" performed special Qi Men Dun Jia rites before the famous battle of Red Cliffs. Characterized by beautiful landscape, abundant plants, the customs of the State of Chu and unique gardens, the Mo Hill Scenic Area attracts many tourists.
In this area, the Chu cultural theme park displays the Chu culture in China. The Botanical Viewing Garden where more than 360 kinds of plants are nursed in 13 special gardens with flowers blooming all the year round - orchids and cherry blossoms in spring, lotus in summer, osmanthus in autumn, and plum blossoms in winter - is also admirable. Two of the most famous are the Cherry Blossom Garden said to be one of the world's three cherry blossom capitals along with Hirosaki in Japan and Washington in America, and the Plum Blossom Garden which is listed as the top plum garden.
As for the most suitable season to visit East Lake, the festival periods such as the Wuhan International Tourist Festival (Late September-Mid October), Plum Blossom Festival (February-March) are the highly recommended times.