Impression West Lake show in Hangzhou

While I was in Hangzhou, China I had an opportunity to see and do a lot of extraordinary things, but without question, one of the highlights was seeing Impression West Lake.  This aquatic tableau was one of the most sensational live performances I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying a lot given how many I’ve attended. The show can best be described as a grand spectacle of lights, music, dance and theatrics…perhaps a bit similar to “O” by Cirque du Soleil.

Impression West Lake-image2

The performance starts off a bit slow, as the stage is set to tell a story of love and anguish. As heartbreak ensues…the pace of the performance speeds the pulse to a point of awe-inspiring choreographic wonder.  Just like the beauty of West Lake, the legendary Chinese story is told in a vivid way.  The underlying message is that Man may mortal, however, the love that two people share never dies…it just fades away. Impression West Lake illustrates the beauty of the surrounding nature of West Lake, as well as the symmetry of a life filled with love.

Boat at Impression West Lake show by

This show is performed on a protected cove of West Lake, right in the heart of Hangzhou. The entire stage is built just below the surface of the water, providing the audience with a sense of awe throughout the performance. The director of the “Impression West Lake” show is Zhang Yimou…if you’re not familiar with his name, he was the person who created the stunning opening ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Be sure to watch the video below as it will give you a snapshot of each of the various scenes of the performance.

Tips and information when attending Impression West Lake:

Ticket Prices: $45 to $100 per person.  There does not appear to be a website for the show, but rather a number of tour companies selling tickets. Click here for one, use search engine to find others.
Venue: Open Air
Duration: 1 hour (2 shows per night)
Season: April through December
Seating: There are 5-6 different seating areas. I was in the 1st row of the VIP section, which is quite nice, however I think it would be nice to be a bit closer to the action…on one of the boats or the on-the-water platforms.
Reservations: The show often sells out, so if you’re planning a tip to Hangzhou, I would suggest purchasing your tickets in advance, as you do not want to miss it if you’re going to be in the area.

Seating at Impression West Lake show

Impression West Lake, an incredible performance in Hangzhou, China by Impression West Lake, an incredible performance in Hangzhou, China by

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


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