132 Anren road
Metro line 10: Yu garden (exit 1)
Tickets: Jul+Aug, Dec-Mar: 30 rmb, remaining months: 40 rmb
Charming classical Chinese garden complex in the heart of the old Chinese town, south of the Bund. The garden was built by a rich Ming family in the 16th century and has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the last few centuries.
This charming old garden surrounded by busy shopping streets spans an area of over two hectares. The six subareas, which are divided by unique dragon walls, are filled with pavilions, koi ponds, historical buildings, trees and interesting rocket formations.
Try to go early on a weekday morning to avoid the crowds and find some tranquility, as the garden and surroundings are very popular with tourists.
City god temple – 城隍庙
mon-sun 0830 – 1630
Daoist temple in close proximity to Yu garden, dating back to 15th century dedicated to the guardian of the town. The temple, which has been restored several times, is worth a short visit when in the area.
Chenxiangge monastery – 沉香阁
29 Chenxiangge road
10 rmb + 5 rmb for Guanyin tower
A few minutes walk from Yu garden will bring you to this peaceful little Buddhist monastery. Proceed to the Guanyin tower at the back to see the eaglewood statue of goddess Guanyin on the second floor (no photos allowed).
Huxinting teahouse – 湖心亭
Beautiful teahouse just opposite to Yu garden, which can be reached by the jiuqu zigzag bridge said to prevent evil spirits (which obviously can only walk straight). Seats on the second floor have a nicer view, but the tea is more pricey than on the 1st floor. Not cheap, but you pay for the location. Tea is served with small authentic chinese snacks.
Yu garden bazaar:
Yu garden is surrounded by the yu garden bazaar: stores selling all kinds of (more or less kitchy) souvenirs, small stalls selling snacks and restaurants such as the hugely popular Nanxiang steamed bun restaurants, where you will usually see long lines.
Consider Tianzifang as an alternative for shopping souvenirs.