Best time to travel to China

Melting Snow at the Broken Bridge in China

Learn a touching and beautiful love story behind its name and appreciate the misty scenery of West Lake

Best time: December–early March

Melting Snow at the Broken Bridge

Melting Snow on the Broken Bridge is one of the "Ten Scenes of the West Lake". These scenes change with seasons and have their own iconic features. The Broken Bridge (Chinese: Duan) on West Lake in Hangzhou is not actually broken. Some say the bridge got this name because the only road stops there. Others say Duan is the last name of the original owner of the bridge. However, to truly understand the story behind the name, one should learn the famous Chinese folk legend.

This is a touching and beautiful love story between the White Snake and handsome man Xu Xian. The legend has it that the young man saved the white snake from a snake trapper. The snake, therefore, spent one thousand years to take human form to reward Xu Xian. The Broken Bridge is where the White Snake lady, who names herself Bai Suzhen, and the reincarnation of Xu Xian meet again. He lends her his umbrella that becomes the symbol of their love.

The Broken Bridge also witnesses their separation later on. They were forced to split because of a monk who killed demons. In the Yue Opera play, the white snake sings, "the enchanting scenery of the West Lake is still there...the Broken Bridge is not broken, but my heart is broken." Their story is also compiled into different plays and widely spread among people. Every year, a lot of tourists visit the bridge because of the legend and the West Lake scenery. Most of the visitors to West Lake start their tour from the Broken Bridge.

The only time you can see the broken view of the bridge is after snowing. Hangzhou snows seldom in winter from December to early March. After snowfalls, the Broken Bridge becomes one of the most romantic places for people to view snow scenes. When the sun rises, the snow on the top of the bridge melts under sunshine, while there is lingering snow on the shady part of the bridge. If you look at it from a distance at this time, the bridge seems to be broken, but it's a visual illusion.

Practical info

When is the best time to see the Melting Snow on the Broken Bridge?

Melting Snow on the Broken Bridge is best enjoyed during winter, from December to early March, when the enchanting scenery of the West Lake is most vivid. Hangzhou does not receive snow often, so visitors should check the weather forecast before visiting. The snowfall offers visitors a fascinating snow scene that covers the bridge from a distance, creating the illusion that the bridge is broken. Show more

Where is Melting Snow on the Broken Bridge situated?

Melting Snow on the Broken Bridge is located in the West Lake area of Hangzhou, China. It marks the end of the Su Causeway and provides a connecting path to the Baochu Pagoda. The West Lake area is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China and draws millions of visitors annually. Show more

What story is behind the name of the Broken Bridge?

The Broken Bridge is associated with the legend of a touching and beautiful love story between Bai Suzhen and Xu Xian. According to the story, they fell in love at the Broken Bridge, where Xu Xian lent Bai Suzhen his umbrella. A jealous monk caused their separation, and their love story lasted for centuries. Tourists come to the Broken Bridge to see the West Lake scenery and be enchanted by the legend. Show more

What is the appearance of the Broken Bridge during snow season?

During the winter season, the Broken Bridge transforms into a romantic location for snow viewing. When snow falls on the bridge, it becomes covered, preserving the snow on its shady side and melting at the sunny side. This natural occurrence creates an illusion that the bridge is broken, which led to the name 'Melting Snow on the Broken Bridge'. Show more

What is the significance of Xu Xian's umbrella in the legend?

Xu Xian's umbrella symbolizes his love for Bai Suzhen. The story indicates that it marked the start of their centuries-long love after Xu Xian lent the umbrella to Bai Suzhen on the Broken Bridge. The iconic umbrella became a symbol of their love for each other, creating a tradition where couples visit the west lake hoping for their love to be as endearing as theirs by making a wish while holding the umbrella. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin