Leifeng Tower in Hangzhou

Why is Leifeng Pagoda in Hangzhou So Special?

  1. An octagonal five-story tall tower with historical stories and interesting legends going along all the time.
  2. It is the oldest colorful bronze pagoda in China. Standing on the top of the pagoda, tourists can appreciate the nearby Jingci Temple, enjoy the landscapes of West Lake, and even see the city of Hangzhou from a distance. At dusk, the colorful evening glow and green mountains are mirrored in the rippling lake, forming a picturesque scene renowned as ‘Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow’, one of the top ten scenes of West Lake.

Where is The Leifeng Pagoda?

Leifeng Pagoda (雷峰塔) is a five story tall tower with eight sides, located on Sunset Hill south of the West Lake in Hangzhou, China. Originally constructed in the year AD 975, it collapsed in 1924 but was rebuilt in 2002. Since then, it has become a popular tourist attraction.

History of Leifeng Pagoda

Leifeng Pagoda was constructed in the second year (977) during the Taiping Xingguo Period in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) by the king of Wuyue Kingdom to celebrate the pregnancy of his favorite concubine, Huangfei. Thus, it was originally named Huangfei Pagoda. However, in the second year (1120) during the Xuanhe Period of the Northern Song Dynasty, the pagoda was severely damaged by war. Later, it was renovated during the Qingyuan Period (1195-1200) of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Since then, ‘Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow’ has been famed as one of the top ten scenes in the West Lake.

Fairy Tale About Leifeng Pagoda

A moving love story is contained in the Leifeng Pagoda history. The story tells of a young scholar who falls in love with a beautiful woman, unaware that she is a white snake who has taken on human form. A monk intervenes in order to save the scholar’s soul and casts the white snake into a deep well at the Leifeng Pagoda. Over centuries the story has evolved from horror story to romance with the scholar and the white snake-woman genuinely in love with one another, but such a relationship is forbidden by the laws of Heaven. The legend was existed as oral traditions long before any written compilation. It has since become a major subject of several Chinese opera, films and TV series.

Structural Layout of Leifeng Pagoda

The current Leifeng Pagoda is comprised of three parts: the pedestal, the body part, and the top. The octagonal pagoda is 72 meters (236 feet) high. The two-storey pedestal is 10 meters (33 feet), the five-storey body part is 46 meters (151 feet), and the top is 18 meters (52 feet). The body part has a side length of 11 meters (12 yards), a diameter of 28 meters (31 yards), and a girth of 88 meters (96 yards). It covers a total area of 3,133 square meters (3,747 square yards). Inside the tower are two elevators which can carry tourists to the top.

The relics of the ancient tower are preserved on two basement storeys. Tourists can see the ancient bricks of the original tower through glass. The Legend of the White Snake Spirit is presented on the first storey above ground, in six parts. The mural on the second storey above ground shows how the tower was constructed in the Wuyue Kingdom. Poems and essays composed by writers of the past about the Leifeng Pagoda are exhibited on the third storey. The colorful murals on the fourth storey focus on the ‘Top Ten Scenes of the West Lake’. In the dome, there are 2002 shrines, each containing a small gilded stupa. There is also a Heavenly Palace in the dome. Records of the renovation of the tower and models of the new tower are put in the palace.

The roof is covered with bronze tiles which resemble terracotta tiles. Under the roof hang bronze chimes which make melodious sounds when blown by the wind.

Recommended Tour Packages

Best Seasons to Visit Hangzhou

  • Many people in China believe that spring and autumn are the two best seasons to visit Hangzhou, specially late March-May and September-mid November.
  • In these seasons, temperature is warm but not hot. Daytime temperature ranges from mid 10s to mid 20s centigrade, and night time temperature ranges from low 10s to low 20s.
  • Spring is the best season to visit the West Lake because all kinds of flowers are blossoming that time. In order: plum blossom, peach blossom, and cherry blossom.
  • Autumn is also very nice and my favorite because of the yellow and red leaves.
  • However, I suggest avoiding the last week of September and the first 2 weeks of October because that’s when the city becomes packed with tourists from the golden week holidays.

How to get to Leifeng Pagoda in Hangzhou

Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)

If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to Leifeng Pagoda in Hangzhou in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Traveler

Take bus 4, 31, 51, 52, 87, 287, 315, 334, 822, y2, y10, or jy 6 to Jingsi (Jingsi Temple) Station, and walk to the site.

Useful Travel Tips

  1. Avoid visiting during school holidays and Golden Week in October as there will be large numbers of local tourists.
  2. Accommodation
    If you need to stay near here, the following hotels can be used as a reference: Marco Polo Holiday Hotel, Marco Polo Binhai Hotel, Zhongshan International Hotel, Zhejiang Hotel, Rujia Business Hotel, etc.
  3. Ticket selling stops half an hour before closing.

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Bella Ren/任新月