China Travel Diaries: Yu Garden

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We left Hong Kong and headed up to Shanghai where we finished meeting with vendors and finalizing our products. After working 10+ hour days for the last 7 days straight, we were absolutely determined to take in some history and culture before we left. So the morning of our departing flight we woke up at the crack of dawn, finished packing, and headed out to get a quick glimpse of the city before catching our noon flight. We ended up walking into the eye of the storm. Within this busy, gigantic, crowded city lies Yuyuan (or Yu) Garden – a respite from the bustling noise of the outside world.

 A poster by the entrance to the garden. I wish they would have been selling them, I think it's beautiful and would have loved to have a larger print to hang in my home. 

Yu Garden is a 16th century garden from the Ming Dynasty era located near the “Old City God Temple” part of Shanghai (pictures of that next time). It was built by a government official in the 1500s as a tranquil retreat for his parents. As with most historical buildings it had several owners, various parts were destroyed, it was rebuilt and restored, and the garden opened to the public in the 1960s. Even for all this, it still maintains its peaceful and calming atmosphere and you really do feel like you’ve just stepped back in time. This is what I picture China to look like in my head. Even though I know for a fact that the cities are modernized (and crowded and dirty like any city), when I think of China this is what I see -fish ponds, stone walls, cloisters, and pavilions.

It was amazing and I wish I had more than an hour there. It would be a lovely place to spend an afternoon reading or people watching (or meditating or doing tai chi like some people were).


  1. So beautiful. I have always wanted to go to China. The pictures you took make we want to go even more! How was the food? That is what I stress over. I am not very adventurous.

    You are so lucky to have had this experience.


    1. Thanks! The food was fine, but I was traveling with a group of business people who had been there many times and weren't very adventurous. Breakfast was had at our (western) hotels, lunch was usually with our vendors who would order us pizza or very basic Chinese food (rice, steamed vegetables, wok fried beef/chicken) and dinner was usually at a western style restaurant. I didn't try anything too exotic because I was afraid of making myself sick. I probably missed out on a lot of culture that way, but at least my stomach was happy!


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