Xuhui, Shanghai: Guilin Park and Kangjianyuan
January 1, 1970
by Farah Fazrina
I went to Shanghai for a few days. At that time, I have noticed the amount of garden or park they have.
Being Malaysian, I know most of the Chinese loves doing morning exercise. I would always see my neighbor jogging around the neighborhood, cycling or simply doing warm-ups. Additionally, I have seen them hike at Batu Cave as well whilst I was driving by to go to my university.
Therefore, when I went to Guilin Park, I have seen many people doing their warm-ups and playing badminton or playing Chinese chess game.
I have always loved being around nature and just breathe in the clear air. The garden was a relaxing place to be, with the birds chirping and the sound of trees rustling due to the wind. It also has a cafe for you to sit down and enjoy the view with their traditional tea, however, I didn’t go in due to high prices, around $10-$20. The entrance fee for the garden was 3 Chinese Yuan (RMB), you can find it at the entrance.
Whilst I was taking a walk, I heard a crystal sound of a flute. So I walked further and saw an old man playing it. It really did give me goosebumps, it just makes you want to sway your body along with the rhythm. Classical music is another favorite of mine, so being surrounded by nature whilst listening to him playing felt blessing.
The architecture of the building and bridges was beautiful, it mostly consists of rock sculptures and zigzag bridges.
Based on history, Guilin Park once belongs to a Chinese gangster, Huang Jingrong in the 1930s. It opened to the public in the year 1958. So you can see many historical buildings and architectures that tells the history of that time within the park.
Health Care in China
The park is a nice place to take your morning walk and just give you a positive vibe to start your day. Since I stayed at Yitel Hotel which was right next to the park, I mostly spent my morning taking a walk at the park to just soak in the environment of that place which mostly consists of old people exercising and playing instruments. I think the reason why many Chinese have much energy is that they take care of their physical health very crucially. I can see the difference if I made a comparison between my father and our neighbor. Although they share the same age, they do not have the same amount of stamina.
Other than that, I noticed that when you go to a restaurant they do not have the side menu of drinks and most customers would just leave after having their meal. So I always have to go to a near convenience store to buy a bottle of water after I had a meal. Since I always drink in between my meal, I found my throat uncomfortably dry when I was eating the rice and I was in desperate need of water at that time. However, I see a similar behavior with my Chinese friends in Malaysia. They explain to me that their parents always tell them to finish their meal first and after a few minutes they can drink water in order to avoid on having a bloated stomach. I think I found the reason on why my stomach is looking like a whale, haha.
After gaining that knowledge, I am trying to avoid on drinking whilst having my meal. It does not only give you a bloated stomach but also make you full the fastest and it always leads to wasting food.
So quick tip; bring your own water bottle from the hotel before heading out to eat in China and avoid drinking in between having a meal.
I have also visited a park near to Guilin Park named Kangjianyuan. You just have to walk further down passing a bridge to get to the entrance. It is an even bigger park that can make you lost twice. It consists of bamboo trees and bridges to show the traditional architecture of China. Like every other park, it also consists a lake and places to rest in the park.
This park does not inquire to purchase any ticket so you can roam in freely without the worry of the guards chasing you down to purchase the ticket.
Similar to Guilin Park, it consists of people exercising and playing flute near the bridge. It can give you the familiar feeling of breathing in a peppermint scent into your lungs that give you the chance to breathe more clearly.
The only difference was it consist of a park for children to play. Unlike Guilin Park, this park gives the environment that the children can enjoy playing with their slides and mary go around to play with their friends. Whereas Guilin Park is a place for adults to exercise and play instruments. As well as for tourist to visit since it has a historical background on the former owner of that place. Hence, this park can be used for a family to come on the weekends for their children to enjoy.
I didn’t get to explore the whole place of the park since I got lost in finding the exit twice.
The clean environment in the park always got me in awe. You won’t see any type of rubbish on the pathway which gives you more relaxation and enjoyment to be in that kind of environment. I think the way they take care of their country speaks volume of their love towards their country. Having that attitudes to throw away their rubbish, to put in their seats and any other smallest gesture can make a difference towards a country and I aspire to be like that.
To get to the location, there is a bus stop and also a train station nearby. Just remember to stop at the Guilin Station.
Shops near Guilin Road
Shops near this park can be found along the Guilin Road, if you turn right from the station and walk further up the Guilin road there will be a street full of shops and cafes. It is pretty crowded at night and has many special deals such as shoes for 50RMB at Shoe Box near KFC.
Along the road, I remember there is a scarf shop that you can buy between the price 35-150 RMB. The scarf has two sides of a different pattern so if you are Muslim like me, you can take turns on wearing different patterns using the same scarf which is very convenient when traveling with light baggage. It can also be used around your neck as it prevents the cold wind based on the material. Additionally, you do not need to take much time on ironing it since it is silk material. There is much food for you to snack on whilst window shopping along this road.
If you want to further explore the places near Guilin park, I would recommend the places above.
Hope this information will give you an insight of Xuhui, Shanghai.
Other gardens in Shanghai are Yu Garden, Guyi Garden, Botanical Garden and many more.