The True BinJiang Forest Park Experience

I finally made it back to BinJiang Forest Park. The first time I went was with 130 or so kindergarten kids. A fun time but not exactly optimal for seeing the park and finding a peaceful little patch of woods for myself.

Like the rest of Shanghai’s forest parks, it’s a long ways away from the city center. This journey requires a trip out to the northern most stop of Line 6. I’ve never had any occasion to use Line 6 until now. Somewhere along the journey the subway emerges from the underground and we are rewarded with amazing views of crappy buildings , smoke stacks , shipping containers , and a brand new shiny customs and tax building. Awesome! It all makes sense really , as we are headed to the GangCheng ( Harbor City) metro station.

The park is situated at the confluence of the Yangtze and Huangpu River. It’s on the opposite side of the Huangpu as the previous Paotaiwan Park post

On the car ride from the metro stop ( there is a bus but we weren’t quite sure where the stop was and got a good deal from an illegal taxi) the driver pointed out previous fortifications and cannon mount points to defend against attacking Japanese. Driving through the area it seemed a bit suspect there was a park nearby. BinJiang is a vast green oasis tucked inbetween shipping and industry. It’s a windy road to the park , passing big rigs , rundown restaurants, laughable laundromats, and shady accommodations. If I hadn’t have been there before , I might have gotten a little nervous the driver was taking us for a ride.

This park is a little more nature orientated than Gongqing Forest Park but still features an outdoor laser tag arena , BBQ zone , and has the standard kids rollercoaster with accompanying pirate ship ride currently under construction.

The park is split into different regions including “Ecological Forest Zone” , “Wetlands Area” “Coastal Viewing ” ,”a 7 acre Azalea Garden” , “Eastern Park Zone , and “BBQ”!. Heading out on foot will take a while to totally wander across the park , and may take more than a day’s trip to totally explore all the side paths . I really love the Ecological Forest Zone with the wooden boardwalks that meander into the Wetlands Area. It’s the most peaceful and secluded I’ve ever been to in Shanghai. Definitely more foresty than the other parks. I’ve yet to make it to the Chongming Island Dongping Forest Park , and that may be the final contender for king of Shanghai parks.

We started with a spicy squid and duck breakfast in a lovely flowered area. (Anyone sensing a pattern with my weekend breakfasts yet?).

After, we wandered through the Wetlands and Ecological Forest zone.

Shanghai?

We learned about the science that goes on in the parks to created such a blissed out experience.

And visited the not-so-pretty coastline view.

At this point the clouds were rolling in and we saught shelter in a pavilion in the woods.

The heavens rained down and we zoned out in this pavilion for an hour without seeing a single soul . We were all wasted on those previously mentioned free ions. Wheeeee!

After the rains stopped , it was time to grab some food and rent a tandem bicycle.

We explored the rest of the park , and while veering off on some stone paths that we probably shouldn’t have been riding on , we lost traction on the slippy stones and had an awesome crash.

Then the saw this monster crawling through the grass!

After the bike time was up ( don’t be a minute late or its a 50% charge on the next hour) (Whatever happened to Socialism?) we decided it was time to head back to the city. We will definitely be back. Hopefully we can drag a bunch of friends and chip in together to rent one of the popular BBQ pits. Hooo rah!

The best part is that this is the 120 hectacre stage 1 of the park. Stage 3 is expected to have 300 acres. YESSSSS! Who knows when it will be done but I’ll most likely still be here!

BinJiang Forest Park

Yesterday I had a nice little field trip with my students way out in BinJiang Forest Park. The park is just north of the Outer Ring Highway in northern Pudong near where the Yangzte River meets the ocean and next to where the Huangpu River is formed out of the Yangzte. After the highway the bus navigated a windy narrow road through some chemical processing plants , and a clustering of cheap restaurants located in  dilapidated buildings supporting the workers.

When you finally make it past the grimy surroundings , the vibrant green juxtaposition of the park is especially refreshing.

I’ve always been intrigued by BinJiang Forest park ever since the moment I lay eyes upon that vast green oasis on google maps. I’ve made it out to some of Shanghai’s other “forest” parks and was interested to see this one.

At times I can really miss the wild parks and forests of Ohio. As teenagers and in University every weekend during nice weather (and hell even during snowstorms) it would be off to a park. Ohio has an abundance of huge wilderness areas with dirt trails , no other people , a real commune with nature. In Shanghai the city parks are often crowded, rather small , not a real park  but a facsimile of the forest created in an enclosed urban space in between the skyscrapers and busy roads.  I’m always looking to find a place in China that can match the parks of my memories.

I will say that BinJiang park is a very nice park indeed. I fear it is impossible to find the types of parks I knew in Ohio , in Shanghai but BinJiang did a great job of making me feel nostalgic for home. Several different ecological zones are recreated in the park including a kinda marshy boardwalk , some small lakes , and a plains area. The park also has a “cough cough” view of the dirty zone where the Yangzte meets the ocean.

There were more places to stroll but I was a bit limited by having to stick by twenty 4 year olds. We had fun running around playing doing crazy stuff but I would definitely like to revisit this park another time without the entourage and see everything.

If you are feeling adventurous and have some spare time to make it all the way out there ( northernmost stop of line 6 is the closest and then from there you will have to figure out the bus route) I recommend this place. If you need a break from the city and are looking for a different spot then Century Park Binjiang is the place!

(Sorry no pictures for ya. My wordpress storage limit has just about been reached  , I gotta do something about that.)