Springtime is here!
And, if you happen to be in Shanghai, you definitely need a break from the cold, drab winter…so what better way to celebrate than to see greenery, anything green that is. So, if you are ready to see, smell and enjoy an amazing spring bloom, take a short journey to the outskirts of Shanghai and drop in on the Chenshan Botanical Gardens.
You will begin your day trip by jumping onto the Shanghai Metro and taking Line 9 to Dongjing. From Dongjing station, hail a local taxi for about 20 rmb to the main entrance gate. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this short day trip, but I wound up spending an entire day there!
Upon entering, I was stunned to find out how vast the landscape was!
Right as we walked in, we were greeted with an enormous rose sculpture, and just beyond, a lovely pond with geese, swans and ducklings floating about. In an adjacent area, a small petting zoo with baby goats, pigs, llamas and other friendly animals for children, and adults, to play with and explore. As we continued to walk into the garden, we could almost feel ourselves getting lost, or at least wanting to get lost, within the vibrant and beautiful fields of wild flowers and butterflies.
Along the walk, some smaller green areas were manicured and wonderfully landscaped for families and children to play and enjoy their picnics. Little streams flowed through the lush green landscape and drew us closer and closer to a large hill with a grand pagoda. We climbed the many steps to the top and were granted a beautiful panoramic view of the entire Chenshan Gardens and surrounding area. Looking down at the Gardens from our vantage point, we realized there was still much more to explore! Directly down from our plateau was an old quarry which had tunnels and caves that could be walked through. We ventured down the steps, and through the quarry, enjoying the contrast of the modern architecture, which fit brilliantly alongside the organic landscape and old angular quarry. As we walked inside the quarry caves, I felt like I was Indiana Jones searching for some ancient treasure, with the odd cave paintings and dark spaces…
Finally, we popped out of the caves, and heard some music playing in the distance, so we began to follow the sound. Soon, the music drew us to a huge field of families and people sitting on blankets, relaxing in the sun, and listening to the music. In the distance, another intriguing structure caught our eye. It looked like a glassy, spiked slug stuck in the middle of the rolling, green landscape. As we got closer, we realized it was an immense greenhouse with exotic plants inside! Beautiful roses, orchids, cacti and so many other different and vibrant plant life were thriving all around us. The colors were so rich, so bold and so lush, that for just a moment I felt like I was no longer in the concrete jungle of Shanghai!
As we finished our stroll, the sky cleared, the sun shined, the blue came out and gazed upon us and our little spot of green heaven just beyond the steel and concrete of the City…A perfect ending to a perfect Spring day!