Results 1-9of 9 Reviews
November 20, 2012
From journal Shanghai Here we Come - Part 2
New York, New York
August 20, 2007
From journal Sweating in Sweet Shanghai
London, United Kingdom
October 2, 2006
From journal Sexy Shanghai
January 17, 2005
From journal Shanghai: Paris of the East
June 14, 2004
I was impressed by the windows, the rock formations that were man made to look natural, and the various pavilions. I can almost imagine (well, try to ignore the hordes of visitors) myself being a girl back in the whatever dynasty and stuck at home all day long. Being confined to home doesn't seem so horrible. You have the mountains, the water, the flowers, and nature right at home. Why would you need to go outside?
From journal Shanghai
March 31, 2004
The highlight of Yu Yuan, though, is the Huxingting Tea House -- it's so Chinese!!! (At least our idea of what Chinese should be.) Bring your camera! To get to it, you must cross the pink "bridge of nine turnings." The nine turnings keep the evil spirits from crossing -- they can only move in a straight line. You can have tea (and a ceremony) in the tea house. (There is also a tea ceremony included in your garden admission, but it's a little hard to find.)
The whole area is surrounded by shops with all the things tourists like to buy. Don't pay the first price, or even the second. Price tags don't necessarily mean a thing. If it's too expensive, 10 other shops probably have the same thing. The whole area looks Ming Dynasty, but actually, only the garden and the teahouse are authentic. The rest is reproduction.
From journal My Shanghai Favorites
Hamilton Square, New Jersey
October 28, 2002
The garden is comprised of several individual sections, each surrounded by a dragon-topped wall. Most of the time, the top of the wall appears to be covered with a decorative, rounded design. What you will realize upon seeing the first dragon head is that these half-circles represented the dragons’ spine and scales!
About 30 or so pavillions dot the garden and you can peer into most of them. While the furnishings are not necessarily original, they are either from or in the style of the period in which that particular building was constructed.
The gardens themselves are enchanting. They seemed to be rather Japanese in style to me, but perhaps the battle over who first started pruning trees to make miniature landscapes is one of the causes of tension between China and Japan. You will see exquisite bonsai, lovely flowering trees and, perhaps if you are there in the right season, some flowering plants as well. I visited Shanghai in early April, and what looked like azaleas were blooming. There are several water features and you may see small children feeding the koi who live in the ponds.
Across from the entrance to the garden is an old teahouse that is still in use today. Our guide told us that it is the morning meeting place for a group of senior citizens who come to the open area to perform their taichi in the morning and share a cup of tea when they are through. Sounds like the equivalent of the diner where my grandmother used to have breakfast with her friends after Mass in the morning!
A strange counterpoint to the peace of Yu Yuan is the large shopping area that surrounds the garden. While it is probably very "touristy," we certainly enjoyed browsing through the wide selection of merchandise, both Chinese and Western. Fresh water pearls seemed to be widely available, as were silk scarves. Burberry knock-offs were everywhere, and could be had at bargain prices. Purses could be had for $10 that I’ve seen at $35 or $40 from NY street vendors, and the NY vendors won’t bargain as much. We usually could bargain off about 50% of the original asking price for most goods. English is not widely spoken, but every merchant will punch prices into a calculator. You’ll be able to tell from the expression whether your counteroffer is in the right range.
From journal First Impressions of Shanghai
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
August 30, 2001
Although the garden is quite small for a public area, it is packed with more than 40 landscapes ingeniously separated by latticed walls, winding corridors, and lattice windows. This is a garden for wandering and exploring. We actually found a little corner where there were no other visitors for about four minutes so we enjoyed this luxury in what is one of the busiest cities in the world.
Tucked away in a corner of one of the pavilions we found a gift shop. We looked around for several minutes before a gentle lady came in and asked if we needed to know anything. There were some very interesting items but we were really not serious buyers so she returned to what ever she had been doing. The contrast between this and other "tourist shops" was amazing. In another corner we found an artists studio. Again we wandered around for quite a long time before the artist turned up with a pot of hot tea. The paintings were for sale but the artist appeared to speak no English so again there was absolutely no pressure to buy. We admired the many works and left.
The gardens are an attraction in their own right but we also found them to be a welcome relief from the outside hustle and bustle. They are situated in the ‘old’ part of town adjacent to an impressive teahouse and close to a tourist bazaar, shops and local markets. The whole area could take a day to explore but for those in a hurry, the main elements of the garden can be seen in an hour.
Open hours: 8.30am – 5pm
From journal Seeing China's Future
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
January 25, 2001
We got there quite early in then morning and started at one of the restaurants, where we had tiny steamed dumplings for breakfast. As with most dumplings (perhaps ALL dumplings), they were yum. We spent a bit of time exploring the shops before heading into the Garden itself. Did I mention it is very tourist oriented? I bought some bracelets made out of cord and porcelain beads. I managed to bargain the lady down from Y30 to Y25 each. Later I saw similar ones in a department store in Beijing for Y10. Oh well.
We spent an hour or so in the Gardens before coming out and exploring more of the shops. Entry to the Gardens was Y15 and I also bought a map for Y1.50. The garden was originally built as a private garden in 1559 and reflects the typical architecture of South China during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Like with many attractions, China’s long and colourful history means that the original gardens were destroyed quite a long time ago. The local government restored and repaired them in 1956 and they were placed under special protection of the state council in 1982. The promotional brochure I got claims that it is one of the best gardens in China. I have no idea if this is true but they were very striking and I found walking around them a generally serene and tranquil experience.
But did I mention it is very tourist oriented? Even inside the gardens you couldn’t get away from people selling things. In a lot of the buildings there were paintings and calligraphy for sale. They didn’t particularly do it for me, but one place sold Paper Cut Outs. These are exquisitely intricate designs cut out of paper and are very cool. I bought one of a dragon for Y80.
One of the more surreal aspects of the garden were the other tourist groups. We saw about 4 or 5 different ones during our jaunt and, as well as the standard English, we also saw some more esoteric languages, such as German French and even Swedish! (I think)
From journal Bumbling Through Shanghai