Last weekend, the day after the hot springs, I went to go check out the Shanghai Botanical Gardens. It’s a bit far out from the northernmost stretches of Jing An District , where I live , but well worth the effort to make it down there. If you live in the south of Shanghai you’re golden.
The garden is located in southwest Xuhui district at 1111 Longwu Lu. The tall buildings of XuJiaHui and the pleasant leafy streets of the French concession have faded away and have given way to the more gritty suburbs. The nearest metro station is ShiLong Lu on line 3 but I just hopped a bus from my house all the way there.
Hours are from 7am-5pm for buying tickets and the garden closes at 6pm. 15 for entrance and 40 for full ticket which gives access to the special gardens and the tropicarium. There are huge expanses of green grass here that you can walk on unlike some other Shanghai parks where the grass is to be treasured , loved , and not trodden upon. (Seriously!) This makes the park popular for families to come and set up picnics , fly kites, and relax.
We got the 40 rmb tickets which allows access to the tropicarium , bonsai garden , and Cymbidium Room (Boat Orchids). The main tropicarium room is spectacular , with all kinds of blooming tropical flowers , fruit trees , with a warm and humid interior to catch a quick respite from the chilly winds. Right now its Pomelo season in Shanghai and I’ve been eating them like crazy , so it was cool to see what it looks like growing on the tree. Other highlights included the coffee plants , banana trees , and calico flowers.
The bonsai garden is also fantastic. I’ve never seen quite so many bonsai trees together at once before. They have a huge range of them as well. The trees are all set in the traditional Chinese style garden with white walls , circular entrances , and open green spaces. They even introduced me to a new kind of bonsai which I wasn’t aware of. Rocks are eroded and glued together along with little plants to make mini landscapes that resemble mountains , cliffs , etc. Pretty cool.
Besides these extra attractions the normal park is really nice. Must see’s include the huge bamboo forest! Not only can you totally forget that you are in the city you can even forget that you are in a park. Stroll in between the bamboo trees looming overhead and relax in the dark and cool interior of the forest. This really makes me want to go to a real bamboo forest. Anji Bamboo Grove (where Flying Dragon Leaping Tiger) is only 4 or so hours from Shanghai. Ahh I’ll save this for next spring.
Other parts of the park that are must see include the maple forest , pine forest , and assorted flower sections. The official website has walk-through guides for the different seasons. Different parts of the park are in bloom/more attractive at certain points of the year. Of course in fall the main highlights are the autumnal color bursts , winter features the tropicarium , and spring has the blooming flowers! Different exhibitions and shows also make their way to the park so make sure to check often!
Official Website – http://en.shbg.org/index.action