Red Carp Pond, or “Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor,” is one of the classic “Ten Scenes of West Lake” in Hangzhou. Formerly the garden of a Southern Song dynasty official, the stunning pond and flower views have been inspiring artists for more than 800 years and continue to draw visitors of all ages today.
Red Carp Pond is a part of Flower Harbor (Huagang) Park, a 52-acre (21-hectare) park located inside West Lake. In addition to the pond, with its thousands of colorful carp, other key areas include a flower harbor, a peony garden, a great lawn, dense trees, and pavilions, including the octagonal Peony Pavilion and the Imperial Stele Pavilion.
Red Carp Pond is one of the most popular attractions inside West Lake and is often included in West Lake tours, with many boat cruises stopping at Huagang Park Wharf. If you plan to visit other top Hangzhou sights, consider taking a full-day tour, which will usually also include Leifeng Pagoda, Lingyin Temple, or a tea plantation.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Flower Harbor Park is a must-visit for photographers and nature lovers.
- There is no admission fee to the park or the pond.
- This is a great place to take the whole family.
- Bring or buy some food, if you plan to feed the fish.
How to Get There
Red Carp Pond, at the southwest corner of West Lake, is located on a peninsula between the Inner and Small Southern lakes, and is accessible from the southern end of Su Causeway. Take bus nos. Y2 or Y10 and get off at the Su Causeway stop. You can also take a boat from other parts of West Lake to Huagang Park Wharf.
When to Get There
Red Carp Pond and Flower Harbor Park are very popular with both locals and tourists, especially on weekends and public holidays. Visit early in the morning and during the week to avoid the crowds. Visit in April or May to see peonies and other flowers in bloom.
Imperial Stele Pavilion
This pavilion features a stele with an inscription, “Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor,” written by Emperor Kangxi during the Qing dynasty. The traditional Chinese character for fish has four strokes at the bottom, but there are only three strokes here. Four strokes denote fire; three refer to water. It is said that the emperor wanted the fish to swim happily in the water, rather than cooked; hence, his poetic writing of the character for fish.