Of the many ancient gardens in China, Yuyuan (literally Yu Garden) is perhaps one that is amongst the best-known ones. This majestic garden was built especially by a Chinese officer, Pan Yunduan, for his parents. It was meant to be a comfort in their golden years, but the maintenance expenses played its part in the Pan family’s financial demise.
Though it may be little, it contains a lot of Chinese fundamental decor that you can mainly expect to see in classic oriental gardens. The beautiful pavilions, structures, and glittering ponds under the sun are truly a sight for sore eyes. There are some highlights of the garden that you simply cannot miss.
When entering the Yu Garden, you will come across the Great Rockery, which is about a height of 14 meters. From atop the rockery, you can capture a full view of the mesmerizing panoramic scene.
Cuixiu Hall, near the Great Rockery, is where visitors can enjoy tea with pleasant views of aromatic flowers and tourists can buy some pretty cool mementos and some rather unusual things at curio shops located within. Another hall, used back in the day for impressing and entertaining guests, was the grand Sansui Hall.
Yuyuan’s real gem though, lies in the elegant beauty of Jade Rock, regarded amongst the most famous rockeries in southern China. Enormous in size, it contains holes (72 in total). A fascinating feature of this rock is that when lighted up by an incense stick below it, smoke magically floats out of each of its openings all at once and if you pour some water onto the rock, water draws down wonderfully from the holes, similarly to smoke and it is just so satisfying to watch.
Cast an appreciative gaze at the delightful traditional lanterns on Chinese New Year eve from the Nine Bend Bridge, which is entrancing even on regular evenings. It is an ideal romantic spot for couples.
Visitors can also find crafts work and jewels at the Yuyuan Bazar but do not be shy while bargaining because it yields results. For the foodies amongst us (or even just hungry tummies) Nanxiang Steamed Buns are available at the end of Nine Bend Bridge. This is a famous delicacy revered for the super fresh and juicy buns with super fine skin, so don’t leave without a try.
The ticket cost depends on age and season. Prices in summer and winter are RMB30 while in the spring and autumn months they cost RMB 40. Kids below 4.3 ft go free. Garden timings are from 08:45 to 16:15 in the evening. Best season is spring to see the flowers in all their youthful glory and mornings are wonderful for avoiding rush.
To reach Yu Garden, most convenient would be to take metro line 10 and get off at the dedicated Yuyuan station or take sightseeing buses 1/3/5. If you fancy a stroll, then take the various city buses that stop at Xinbeimen station, go alongside Anren Street and you’ll be there.