Shanghai Garden

Discover 11 Best Shanghai Gardens: Tranquil Escapes Unveiled

“As a city in the Jiangnan region, Shanghai not only boasts a modern and bustling facade but also possesses another side characterized by the delicate charm of a Jiangnan city.

In addition to towering skyscrapers, Shanghai is home to many famous classical gardens, with the ‘Five Classical Gardens of Shanghai’ being the most representative. These five gardens include Yu Garden, Zui Bai Chi, Qiuxia Garden, Qushui Garden, and Guyi Garden.”

However, this guide goes beyond, unveiling a total of 11 Best Shanghai Gardens. Each presents a captivating fusion of tradition and serenity, guiding you through historical landscapes and architectural marvels that echo China’s cultural richness.

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53 Best Things to Do in Shanghai, China in 2023

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Considering a last-minute trip to Shanghai?

Check out the finest tours, hotels, and more below! Remember to plan in advance for the top attractions in Shanghai!

🇨🇳 Top Activities and Tours in Shanghai:

1. Shanghai Private Full-Day Tour: Explore both the old and modern sides of Shanghai with a private tour. Your personal guide will show you top attractions like The Bund and Yu Garden.
2. Zhujiajiao Water Town and Shanghai City Private Day Tour: Experience Zhujiajiao water town by boat and foot, enjoy a local lunch, and later explore Shanghai’s attractions like Yu Garden and Shanghai Tower.
3. Authentic Local Food Tour in Central Shanghai: Indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine on a culinary tour in Shanghai, sampling classic Shanghainese dishes like steamed buns and soup dumplings.

🏨Top Hotels in Shanghai:

Fairmont Peace Hotel (luxury)
Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World (mid-range)
Jinglai Hotel (budget-friendly)

🌐Make sure to install ExpressVPN in advance for unrestricted internet access during your stay in China!

Yu Garden

Shanghai Yuyuan, also known as Yu Garden, is one of the most well-preserved ancient gardens in the city and is considered a national treasure.

Yu Garden was first established in the Ming Dynasty, around 1559, by a government officer named Pan Yunduan. He built the garden as a private retreat for his parents to enjoy in their old age.

The garden covers an area of about 2 hectares (5 acres) and is designed in the traditional Chinese style. It features classical Chinese architecture, pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds, and winding pathways. The design reflects traditional Chinese gardening principles, including the use of open and enclosed spaces to create a harmonious and balanced environment.

The Grand Rockery:

One of the highlights of Yuyuan Garden is the Grand Rockery, a towering rock formation that is intricately carved and arranged. It is said to be the largest and oldest rockery in the southern region of the Yangtze River.

Sansui Hall:

Initially designed for hosting guests, Sansui Hall evolved into a venue for ceremonies attended by gentlemen and scholars. Standing at a height of nine meters (approximately 30 feet) and comprising five halls, it stands as the most spacious structure within the garden.

Teahouse and Market:

Adjacent to Yuyuan Garden is the Yuyuan Bazaar, a bustling marketplace where visitors can find traditional Chinese architecture, shops, and street food. The Huxinting Teahouse, located within the garden, is a historic tea house that offers a peaceful setting for enjoying traditional Chinese tea.

🎫Admission ticket: Apr. – Jun. & Sep. – Nov.: CNY 40; Jul. & Aug. & Dec. – Mar.: CNY 30
⏰Opening hours: 09:00 – 16:30
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 10 and get off at Yuyuan Station. Leave from Exit 1.

Nestled in the serene lanes of suburban Jiading District, the often-overlooked Qiuxia Garden dates back to 1502, originally serving as the private residence of Ming Dynasty minister Gong Hong. Merging with a scholar’s garden in 1582 and later renamed Qiuxia Garden, it became a shrine in 1726 before the government opened its doors to the public in 1979, following centuries of political turmoil.

Covering an area slightly larger than three football pitches, Qiuxia Garden’s Suzhou-style layout features zigzagging cobble pathways, rockeries with deep caves, and lush bamboo forests. Its deceptive size allows visitors to lose themselves in sprawling corridors and dead ends. The garden’s charm intensifies during a rainy autumn day, with maple trees ablaze in red and bamboo glistening in the drizzle.

Qiuxia Garden seamlessly integrates the classic garden with the Taoist Chenghuang Temple, the first complex that welcomes visitors.

Wander past the Chenghuang Temple to discover Chishang Pavilion, an 1821-built gem with a century-old osmanthus tree emitting a sweet fragrance. The Early Boat kiosk, fashioned with rare natural lake rocks, offers a unique glimpse into ancient Chinese architecture. Conggui Pavilion, surrounded by osmanthus trees, provides a picturesque retreat with windows reflecting the changing seasons.

Explore the hilltop hexagonal kiosk for breathtaking sunrise or sunset views, and don’t miss the Guiyun Cave, a refreshing respite on hot summer days. The Yanlu Pavilion showcases precious ancient calligraphy, while the Biwu Pavilion, once reserved for guests, features century-old pagoda trees and an open-air terrace. The Xianyan Pavilion, now a showroom for yellow grass weaving, preserves Jiading’s heritage tradition.

East of Ping Hill, the mystical Mizhinang Stone, known for oozing milky water on rainy days, carries a storied past. Hidden during wartime, it resurfaced in 2001, captivating visitors who can now witness its enigmatic allure during a rainy garden tour.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 10
⏰Opening hours: 08:30-16:30
🚗How to get there: Catch Bus Jiading No. 1, No. 10, or No. 12, and get off at Jiading Hospital for Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Guyi Garden, also known as Ancient Yi Garden, boasts a rich history dating back to the Ming Dynasty, initially named ‘Yi Garden.’ Renamed during the Qing Dynasty after extensive restoration, it now stands as one of the foremost among Shanghai’s classical gardens.

Encompassing 1.5 hectares, Guyi Garden unfolds across four scenic realms: Yi Garden, Flower Fragrance Park, Crane in Stream Pond, and Moonlit Bamboo Park. The design integrates Ming-style architecture, motif-laden paths, vibrant green bamboo, couplets scrolls, poems, and serene streams, forming a seamless blend of natural and artistic elements.

Yi Garden:

Inspired by the Book of Songs and Odes to Qin, Yi Garden celebrates the artistic beauty of green bamboo. Key attractions like the Angle Missing Pavilion, Tranquil Pavilion, White Crane Pavilion, Moon Painting Corridor, and Small Cloud Rockery reflect typical Jiangnan residences. Decorated with Ming Dynasty-style patterns, the pavilions stand near water, embodying elegance amidst nature.

Flower Fragrance Park:

Hosting the Nanxiang Screen Hall, Fragrance Veranda, and Nine Zigzag Bridge, Flower Fragrance Park dazzles with diverse flowers like peony, lotus, cherry blossom, and plum blossom.

Crane in Stream Pond:

Crane in Stream Pond features Crane Longevity Pavilion and Twin Crane Residence, providing a tranquil escape and highlighting the interconnected water landscapes of Teasing Goose Pond, Mandarin Duck Lake, Pond of Lotus, and Lake of Turtle Mound.

Moonlit Bamboo Garden:

Moonlit Bamboo Garden offers unique scenic spots like the Stone Playing House, Gentleman’s Hall, and Bamboo Garden. Distinctive features include paths with motifs, crafted for both functional use and aesthetic appreciation.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 12
⏰Opening hours: 07:00-18:00
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 11 and get off at Nanxiang Station, use exit 1.

Zuibaichi, formerly known as “Guyang Yuan,” was the private residence of Zhu Zhichun, a Song Dynasty scholar in Songjiang. The garden saw expansions by successive owners until the renowned artist Gu Dashen acquired it during the Kangxi era of the Qing Dynasty. Combining classical garden architecture with the characteristics of Songjiang’s water town, Gu Dashen further expanded the garden, giving rise to the beautiful Zuibaichi we see today.

Zuibaichi embodies the traditional Chinese garden style inherited from Suzhou, featuring elegant pavilions, winding paths, and intricately carved beams and rafters. The captivating scenery attracts a continuous stream of tourists, with lush, colorful plants, especially blooming lotus flowers in the summer. Key attractions include the Carving Hall, Snow Sea Hall, Waterside Pavilion, Letian Pavilion, and Stone Sculptures.

Three Hundred Years of Ancient Trees:

Zuibaichi boasts ancient trees and rare flowers, with the “Simian Hall” standing out as a must-visit spot. The hall, with flower-patterned windows on all sides, offers different scenic views. In front of the hall stands a 300-year-old camphor tree, evergreen throughout the seasons and providing shade in the summer. Behind the hall, century-old wisteria vines twist and turn, adding an ancient and elegant charm when in bloom.

Carving Hall:

The Carving Hall is a meticulously structured classical southern-style residence adorned with intricate reliefs of flowers and figures on its beams and rafters. It is one of the most exquisite carved halls in the Shanghai region, showcasing rare and valuable craftsmanship.

Waterside Pavilion:

Among the numerous pavilions in Zuibaichi, the Waterside Pavilion stands out as a symbolic structure. Also known as the Water Pavilion, it spans over the garden’s water pool, offering a refreshing retreat on hot summer days.

Centuries-Old Plum Blossoms:

Zuibaichi is a favored destination for enjoying plum blossoms in Shanghai. The garden features various colors of spring plums, with two-century-old wax plum trees east of the Waterside Pavilion being particularly renowned. During the blooming season, these classic garden elements create a tranquil and fragrant ambiance.

Snow Sea Hall:

Constructed during the late Qing Dynasty, Snow Sea Hall is a spacious hall. Its romantic name originates from a vast plum blossom forest in front of the hall, resembling a sea of fragrant snow during the blooming season.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 12
⏰Opening hours: 10:00-16:30
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 9, and get off at Zuibaichi Station.

Constructed in 1745 during the Qing Dynasty’s tenth year of Qianlong, Qushui Garden has been a serene meeting place for 270 years.

Locals funded its creation with a one-penny yearly levy, earning it the nickname “One-Penny Garden.” This grassroots support led to a departure from the conventional Chinese literati aesthetic, favoring simplicity and natural beauty.

The entire Qushui Garden boasts water features, with the Lotus Pond at its center. The pond connects with the city’s waterways, creating a harmonious setting where pavilions and structures are close to the water. The garden is designed to ensure visitors circle around the pond, enjoying the scenic beauty.

Western Section:

Entering from the south gate on Park Road, the western part, mainly composed of buildings, includes attractions such as Deyue Pavilion, Youjue Hall, and Sunset Red Pavilion. The Sunset Red Pavilion, situated atop an artificial hill constructed with Taihu stones, features winding mountain caves underneath, adding a fascinating touch.

Central Section:

The heart of Qushui Garden boasts scenic mountain and water features, including the captivating Lotus Pond, Ninghe Hall, and Huashen Hall. Wander along the Lotus Pond to discover pavilions with breathtaking views, especially during the summer when lotus flowers bloom. “Xiaofeilai” (Flying Off) Hill in the northern Lotus Pond serves as the garden’s central hub, and from the “Jiufengyilan Kiosk,” visitors can enjoy panoramic views.

Eastern Section:

Adjacent to the eastern side along the city moat, the eastern section is characterized by a natural and rustic ambiance. Following stone paths adorned with potted plants and shaded by greenery, visitors can explore pavilions like the Tinglu Pavilion, Peony Pavilion, Jiyun Pavilion, and Green Wave Corridor.

The courtyard here features pine trees, boxwood, wisteria, cedar, and camphor, nestled among picturesque lake stones.

Shiguwen Yard:

Situated in the northwest, Shiguwen Yard showcases inscriptions carved on drum-shaped stone blocks dating back to the Warring States Period. These ancient characters, considered the earliest in Chinese history, are displayed on ten Shiguwen stones, replicated from the originals now housed in the Beijing Palace Museum.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 5
⏰Opening hours: 06:00-17:00
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 2 to Xujingdong Station, then transfer to bus Qingxu Line, and get off at Qing’an Road by Yiyuan Road.

Guilin Park, established in 1931 and also known as “Huang’s Garden,” originated as the private residence of Huang Jinrong, a prominent figure in the Green Gang, the largest mafia group in old Shanghai.

In 1957, the Shanghai government converted it into a public park. Undergoing numerous expansions and renovations over the years, it has evolved into one of Shanghai’s premier parks.

Guilin Park is divided into four sections: the Main Garden (formerly Huang’s Garden), the South Garden, the West Garden, and the East Garden expanded in the 1980s.

Following a traditional Chinese garden layout, it exudes the distinctive charm of the Jiangnan region. The majority of the park’s structures are concentrated in the Main Garden, surrounded by intertwining pavilions, small bridges over flowing water, and an interplay of rocks and curved paths.

Forest of osmanthus:

Guilin Park, is known for its distinctive osmanthus features. With over 20 varieties and more than 1,000 osmanthus plants. The name “Guilin” here refers to the “forest of osmanthus,” unrelated to the Guilin city in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival tradition, locals gather in parks for lantern riddles, and games, and relish in tea and snacks infused with the delightful aroma of osmanthus flowers amid nature.

Sijiao Hall:

Sijiao Hall, situated in the central part of the park, boasts grandeur with Confucian inscriptions adorning its pillars and windows. While the main body features a Western architectural style, a Chinese-style cornice crowns the top.

The hall is a popular gathering spot, especially for elders engaging in tea-drinking conversations in the corridor.

Jiuqu Corridor:

Within the park, the Jiuqu Corridor, approximately 60 meters long, winds like a dragon, adorned with hanging red lanterns. Surrounding the corridor are various shaped artificial hills and greenery. Occasionally, visitors in traditional Hanfu attire can be seen capturing picturesque moments.

Wisdom Hall:

Overlooking the lake, Wisdom Hall embodies the charm of a Jiangnan water town. Two connected small stone bridges stand over the pond, offering serene views of winding waters, swaying fish, and ancient trees on either side.

🎫Admission ticket: free
⏰Opening hours: 06:00-18:00
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 12 and get off at Guilin Park Station.

Construction of the Shanghai Grand View Garden began in 1979 and was completed and opened to the public in 1988. This large classical garden, designed according to the artistic layout and traditional Chinese art techniques found in the masterpiece “Dream of the Red Chamber” by the famous Qing Dynasty novelist Cao Xueqin, showcases a blend of ancient architecture and scenic landscaping.

The entire garden comprises over 20 attractions, including the ‘Nuwa Mends the Sky’ (a Chinese myth), Happy Red Court, Bamboo Lodge, Alpinia Park, Grand View Pavilion, Paddy-Sweet Cottage, Green Lattice Nunnery, and more, each meticulously designed. The grand architecture of the garden, lush vegetation, and intricate layout create a picturesque landscape where every step brings a new view. The garden combines the grandeur of imperial gardens with the charming style of Jiangnan gardens.

The interior furnishings, including furniture arrangements, plaques, couplets, and even every blade of grass and piece of wood, are arranged based on the personalities and storylines of characters from “Dream of the Red Chamber.” Some are luxurious and opulent, while others are dignified and simple, featuring rare and precious antique items.

Grand View Pavilion:

Grand View Pavilion, a 2123-square-meter masterpiece in Grand View Garden, is an architectural marvel with a palace-style structure, opulent interior, and a stunning glazed tile roof of historical significance. It was the gathering spot for the entire Jia family during Imperial Concubine Jia Yuanchun’s return.

Standing 15 meters tall with two floors, Grand View Pavilion provides a captivating view of the entire garden from its upper-level outer corridor. The grand hall below showcases superb craftsmanship, a ceremonial platform with a gilded screen depicting birds paying homage to the phoenix, and a luxurious throne surrounded by copper incense burners, crane-shaped lamps, and palace fans adorned with pheasant feathers.

Happy Red Court:

Happy Red Court, situated in the garden’s southwest, spans 899 square meters and is the abode of Jia Baoyu, the novel’s central character. The primary structure, Jiangyun House to the east, formerly Jia Baoyu’s sitting room, remains the main residence of Happy Red Court, retaining a wealth of luxury furniture. The room showcases a mahogany bed adorned with floral patterns, accompanied by bronze vessels and porcelain.

The East of Jiangyun House serves as Jia’s living room, while the west caters to Qingwen and Xiren, Jia’s attendants. To the west of the court, Tongling Study offers a space for Jia’s poetry, painting, and guest receptions.

Bamboo Lodge:

Nestled in the garden’s southeast, Bamboo Lodge spans 543 square meters (650 square yards), serving as Lin Daiyu’s residence—a central character in the novel and the primary love interest of Jia Baoyu. Surrounded by bamboo groves, the lodge is accessed through a stone bridge and brook, leading to the main rooms. Lin Daiyu’s living quarters are to the east, while her two attendants occupy the west. Adorning the front are the Dragon Chant Pavilion and Bamboo Shadow Pavilion. Towards the northwest lies the Glittering Jade Room, Lin Daiyu’s space for painting, chess, and poetry.

Alpinia Park:

Situated on the western side of Bamboo Lodge is Alpinia Park, belonging to Xue Baochai, Jia Baoyu’s wife and a pivotal figure in the novel. Covering an area of 699 square meters, the foreyard features the Mandarin Duck Hall, consisting of two rooms. Past the hall, visitors enjoy a stunning view of rockeries. Crowned atop these formations are a hexagonal pavilion and an ancient yew podocarpus. A waterfall descends from the rockery, pouring into the lotus pool.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 60
⏰Opening hours: 08:00-17:00
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 1 and get off at Huangpi Nanlu Station, take exit 1, catch the Hushang Express Bus, and alight at Grand View Garden Station.

Shanghai Hanxiang Water Expo Garden is located on Jiangchuan Road in Minhang District, Shanghai, adjacent to the upstream water intake of the Huangpu River.

It was originally Pengdu Village in Maqiao Town, Minhang District, with fish ponds, pigsties, duck sheds, and piles of garbage. The water source suffered severe pollution. In 2003, to protect the upstream water intake of the Huangpu River, 3,000 original residents were relocated, transforming the polluted land into a water ecological garden aimed at safeguarding the source of drinking water for the people of Shanghai.

The ancient ecological park is primarily composed of water channels, ancient bridges, ancient trees, landscape stones, and traditional-style buildings. Embracing a style that is ancient, natural, and rustic, the park is home to over 600 ancient trees, creating a tranquil and natural waterside landscape.

Ancient Bridges:

The most captivating feature of the Hanxiang Water Expo Garden is undoubtedly its numerous ancient bridges. The park is said to have over fifty stone bridges, some relocated and some newly constructed for landscaping. These stone bridges come in various styles, including stone arch bridges, beam bridges, and covered bridges integrated with the artistic ambiance of pavilions. Situated by the water amidst lush greenery, the bridges offer picturesque views, making every step a delight.

Ancient Trees:

In addition to the ancient bridges, the park is adorned with ancient trees. The most prominent is a millennium-old camphor tree at the entrance square, towering impressively with a height of 18 meters and a diameter exceeding 2.2 meters, requiring three adults to encircle it.
The park hosts over 600 ancient trees of various species, including ginkgo, myrtle tree, osmanthus, ash, and boxtree. These trees vary in form, some towering into the sky, others exhibiting the grace of old age, and some with branches gracefully reaching the ground.

Ancient Architectures:

Alongside a few newly constructed buildings, most of the ancient structures in the Water Expo Garden originate from various regions across the country. They include traditional dwellings from the water towns of Jiangnan and ethnic minority buildings from Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan. The farthest building comes from the mountainous region of Guizhou, 1800 kilometers away, featuring a stilted building

Therefore, the architectural styles within the park are diverse, featuring double eaves, gourd-shaped roofs, horse-head walls, and stilted buildings, creating a rich tapestry of historical and cultural elements.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 30
⏰Opening hours: 08:00-16:00
🚗How to get there: Take Bus Maqiao No.1, and get off at Jiangchuan West Road (Ecological Garden) Station.

Wendao Garden is located in Luodian, Baoshan, and was originally farmland, wetlands, and forests. Established in 2001 by a Shanghai-based company, this garden has a history of just over 10 years, relatively unknown to many before.

Owned by the couple Wang Wei and Yu Jianping, they explored Anhui and other areas, seeking abandoned ancient Huizhou-style houses in remote and desolate locations. These structures, permitted for relocation, were transported to Shanghai, forming the Huizhou-style architecture within Wendao Garden.

Only a portion of the entire garden has been developed. From the tour map, the developed areas concentrate on the left side after entering the garden, featuring ancient Huizhou-style residences, ancient bridges, and ancient memorial archways.

These ancient buildings originally scattered in Anhui and western Hunan had fallen into disrepair. The garden owners purchased and relocated them, faithfully restoring and reconstructing them.

Scholar Hall:

Scholar Hall, the first building introduced to Wendao Garden, was constructed during the Jiaqing period of the Qing Dynasty, covering an area of over 300 square meters. The distinctive feature of this house lies in the carved Chinese Three Wise Men (Chinese gods) on the central beam, with carvings depicting stories from the Three Kingdoms on the sides.

Changfeng Academy:

Changfeng Academy is a Huizhou-style ancient building with a wooden structure. The building’s interior features carved beams, painted columns, walls adorned with calligraphy and paintings, and wooden tables and chairs.

Ancient Stage:

The Ancient Stage was relocated and reconstructed from Shanxi. Though not large, its grand appearance, with flying eaves and elaborate wood carvings between beams and pillars, exudes elegance. The stage features various murals on the walls and houses a giant drum at its center for percussion.

Nanmu Hall&Diaohua Hall&Number One Scholar Hall:

  • Nanmu Hall (楠木厅): Originally built in the late Qing Dynasty and early Republic of China, it served as a residence for a pharmaceutical merchant. Due to his exposure to both traditional Chinese and Western cultures, the design incorporates Western elements.
  • Diaohua Hall (雕花楼): Adjacent to Nanmu Hall, this hall, built in the Huizhou region of Anhui during the mid-Qing period, is a typical example of Huizhou architecture.
  • Number One Scholar Hall (武状元楼): Established in the eighth year of the Xianfeng era in the Qing Dynasty, this building has a history of over 150 years. Currently used for displaying calligraphy and paintings of famous figures, as well as showcasing aloeswood artifacts and offering a space for appreciating tea.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 80
⏰Opening hours: 09:00-17:00
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 7, get off at Meilanhu Station, then board Bus Baoshan No. 93. Alight at Panjing Rd Shitai Rd Station.

Fangta Garden is the late masterpiece of the renowned Chinese architect Mr. Feng Jizhong. It was initiated in 1978 and partially completed by early 1981. Located in the eastern corner of the former Old Songjiang in southwest Shanghai, it stands as a garden predominantly featuring historical architectural relics.

In 1978, Feng Jizhong undertook the task of designing Fangta Garden, which at that time resembled a wintry scene. In vast barren lands, only the Song Dynasty rectangular tower (Fangta) and a Ming Dynasty screen wall stood solitary.

Feng Jizhong proposed the concept of “Old and New” in design, positioning Fangta Garden at the forefront of the era. Despite numerous challenges during construction, under Feng’s dedicated efforts, this urban garden with the characteristics of an “open-air museum” eventually became a garden architecture masterpiece hailed as having epoch-making significance.

The entire garden is centered around Fangta (the Song Dynasty rectangular tower), with surrounding structures such as Screen Wall, Wangxian Bridge, Lanrui Hall, Tianfei Palace, and more. Numerous historical buildings from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties are scattered throughout the garden.

Within the garden, meandering lakes, the play of light and shadow on the tower, elegant bamboo groves, towering ancient trees, and lush flowers and plants complement the historical relics. The overall ambiance of the garden is graceful, simple, and tranquil, exhibiting the charm of the Tang and Song dynasties alongside a modern garden atmosphere.


Erected in the Song Dynasty, the tower epitomizes the earlier Tang Dynasty’s imposing architecture. Soaring to 42.65 meters across nine stories, it deviates from the typical hexagonal Song Dynasty towers, embracing the oblong Tang style.

Upon close inspection, ancient doors and pillars reveal intricate carvings. Featuring original roof tiles, this brick-and-wood structure stands as a premier testament to southern China’s ancient ornamentation. The tower’s bronze bells, designed to deter nesting birds, have resonated for over 900 years. Open to visitors, it provides a panoramic view of the now-transformed Old Songjiang amid bustling streets and towering structures.

Screen Wall:

In front of the tower stands a Feng Shui-optimized screen wall, adorned with ancient mythological creatures. Measuring 4.75 meters in height and 6.1 meters in width, this stone barrier is acclaimed as Shanghai’s oldest and best-preserved large brick relief sculpture.

Erected in 1370 as a protective screen for the Songjiang Chenghuang (City God) Temple, it withstood Japanese bombing in the early 1930s and emerged unscathed from the “cultural revolution” (1966-76), a period marked by widespread destruction of ancient structures.

Tianfei Palace:

Just north of the tower lies Tianfei Palace, constructed in 1884. This temple venerates Mazu, the sea goddess safeguarding fishermen and ensuring tranquil waters. The main hall, spanning 330 square meters, epitomizes late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) architectural traits with its distinctive style, intricate carvings, inscriptions, and expansive staircases.

Helou Hall:

Feng’s renowned contemporary creation in the park is Helou Hall, a pavilion featuring a thatched roof and bamboo columns. Its unpretentious materials and sleek design harmonize seamlessly with the surrounding water features, hills, and historical edifices, showcasing the architect’s commitment to simplicity and purity.

In 1999, this structure received recognition at the World Congress of Architecture, a prestigious accolade for Feng. Today, visitors can appreciate his ingenuity by relaxing in the pavilion, sipping green tea amid its artistic ambiance.

🎫Admission ticket: CNY 12
⏰Opening hours: 06:00-17:00
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 9 to Zuibaichi Station. Then shift to buses Songjiang No. 2, 11, or 33, and get off at Fangta Road S.

Guhua Garden (古华园), established in October 1984 with a total area of approximately 100,000 square meters, marked its preliminary completion and opened to visitors on October 1, 1986. In 2003, significant renovations and transformations were carried out in the eastern section, enhancing the overall appearance and perfection of the garden.

Guhua Garden features two lakes, East Lake and West Lake, surrounded by a river that forms a protective boundary. The park boasts 22 bridges of various shapes and sizes, connecting the entire garden with not only aesthetically pleasing designs but also adorned with numerous beautiful legends.

Drawing inspiration from historical anecdotes of Fengxian, Guhua Garden relocated and reconstructed a large number of historical buildings. With a total construction area of 5,600 square meters, including pavilions, towers, verandas, corridors, and other structures, the park exudes a rich historical and cultural charm, capturing the essence of Jiangnan water towns.

No. 1 Bridge of Nanqiao:

The “No. 1 Bridge of Nanqiao” originally was a wooden bridge over Nanqiao Tang, transformed into a stone arch bridge during the Jiaqing era of the Qing Dynasty. Today, the Nanqiao Tang has been largely filled in, and this bridge has been relocated to Guhua Garden, preserving the majestic and spectacular appearance of the ancient bridge.

A Prehistoric Wood:

On the eastern lawn of the Grand Stage, lies what appears to be a weathered and colossal tree trunk—a petrified wood over billions of years. Approximately 150 million years ago, vast forests were gradually buried by mud, gravel, and volcanic ash due to the sweeping forces of floods. After enduring geological changes, the ebb and flow of the seas, and the rise of the land, these tree trunks, once buried underground, have resurfaced.

Typically, these enormous petrified trees can only be admired in the wilderness, making them a rare sight for most people. This particular petrified tree originated from a desolate hill on the island of Bali, Indonesia, and after a long journey, it was transported to this garden, offering visitors a captivating spectacle.

Wanqing Garden:

A notable feature in the park is Wanqing Garden, adorned with uniquely shaped rocks. Established in 2004, the garden takes cues from the historic Yiqiu Garden in old Fengxian, featuring a reading hall, stone exhibition room, tearoom, and a central pond.

Within the courtyard, two trees affectionately known as the “husband and wife” stand, seemingly embracing each other in a tender display.

Shuangting Bridge:

Originally a humble wooden bridge spanning the Tangang River, the Shuangting Bridge is the most representative and arguably the most beautiful among the over twenty bridges in Guhua Garden.

🎫Admission ticket: free
⏰Opening hours: 05:30-16:30
🚗How to get there: Take Metro Line 5, exit at Huancheng Rd E Station, and either take a taxi or bike to reach, which is 1.7 km away.

From the timeless elegance of Yu Garden to the enchanting allure of Zui Bai Chi, these havens are a testament to China’s rich heritage. As we conclude this exploration, may the allure of these 11 Best Shanghai Gardens linger, inviting you to discover the city’s harmonious fusion of past and present.

China Travel Planning Guide&FAQ

🎫Do I need a visa for China?

Yes. Most visitors to China will need a visa to enter the country. The type of visa you need will depend on the purpose and duration of your trip, as well as your nationality. If you are a resident of the US, you must apply for a Chinese visa at the Consular Office in the country. On the other hand, inhabitants of countries like Japan, Canada, and the UK can request a visa through the Chinese Visa Application Service Center.

🤔Why is it necessary to install a VPN in China?

In China, the government has strict regulations on internet access, leading to the blocking of popular websites and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube. To access these sites, a VPN is suggested as a means of bypassing the restrictions. It is important to choose a reputable VPN provider and use caution while doing so. ExpressVPN has been historically deemed the most reliable VPN for this purpose, despite being heavily targeted by China’s censors. Nevertheless, it is still a widely preferred option owing to its ease of installation and user-friendliness.

📲Is it necessary to have a Chinese SIM card while in China?

Yes. It is crucial to acknowledge that accessing the internet in China may pose limitations due to certain websites being prohibited or filtered. To ensure uninterrupted connectivity while staying in China, purchasing a local SIM card is advisable. For optimum results, acquiring SIM cards from either China Unicom or China Mobile is recommended. While China Mobile has the most comprehensive coverage in China and is a market leader, China Unicom is more compatible with foreign phones, enabling 3G and 4G services. Or you can purchase a SIM card online.

🔮Should I buy China travel insurance?

Yes. Although China is generally a safe country for travel, it is still possible to encounter accidents or other unexpected occurrences. Therefore, obtaining travel insurance can provide a sense of security and financial protection. In my research, I have found that World Nomads is a reputable travel insurance provider that covers a wide range of activities and is recommended for the average traveler. Nevertheless, I advise you to compare insurance quotes from various providers before making a decision.

🚙Can you rent a car in China?

Unfeasible. Obtaining a Chinese driver’s license to rent a car and self-drive may seem like an option, but it is not a practical choice for most foreigners. Therefore, many prefer to opt for a driver or public transportation when navigating China, as it proves to be more convenient.

✈️What’s the best site to purchase flight tickets for China?

I suggest using Trip for affordable flights to China. As a China-based company, they often offer lower prices compared to foreign companies. Additionally, they offer English-speaking phone support in case of any issues.

🏡What is the best way to book hotels in China?

Not only does Trip offer a wider range of flight options, but it also provides a greater selection of hotels to choose from. Moreover, Agoda is a reliable resource for hotels throughout Asia.

🎒What do I pack for China?

Travel adapter and converter: China uses a different electrical system than many other countries, so it’s important to bring a travel adapter and converter if you plan to use electronic devices such as phones, cameras, and laptops.  
Sunscreen: The UV index in China can be high, particularly during the summer months, and prolonged exposure to the sun without protection can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Deodorant: It should be noted that finding deodorant in China may not be a simple task.

📚Can a guidebook for traveling to China be useful?

Yes. If you’re planning to travel to China for the first time, a travel guidebook can be a valuable resource, and Lonely Planet is one of the most reputable guides available globally. Its comprehensive itineraries and recommendations take into account your personal preferences and can save you both time and money. The insider tips are also extremely helpful in navigating China’s unique cultural landscape like a local.

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