[Out of Town]: SH Flower Port / Binhai Forest Park
So China’s going green… well, maybe not right away but it’s getting there… heading in that direction. Maybe? And in honor of a new, (more) environmentally-conscious five year plan, Out of Town heads out to the East China Sea, checking out the nature reserve destinations out past Nanhui.
Situated just about as far east as you can go without getting your feet wet, Binhai Tourist resort is a purpose- built recreational area, comprising of a golf club, a holiday village, lakes, gardens, and parks -- seems the ideal day out. We took the trip to see if life exists beyond the Huangpu River.
Take a left out of Exit 2, at Longyang Road metro station and head into the bus station. Find someone official looking and show them Shanghai Flower Port (上海鲜花港) or ask for long dong zhuanxian (龙东专线) and, hopefully, like us you will then be made to stand in the middle of the bus station desperately hoping 1. A bus hurries up and 2. you won’t get flattened before it does, assuming you make it on board 10 RMB takes you directly to our first port of call (2 hours)
In and Around the Shanghai Flower Port
Rated an "AAAA" tourist attraction (usually that serves as more of a warning than a recommendation) and famous for the incredible tulip displays March to early May, this could be an amazing destination. But 50rmb for no tulips and a lot of bare ground though was a bit steep.
Immaculate walkways take you around the gardens complete with rockery, compulsory boats and slightly surreal tulip guardian statues. You can stroll around the artificial lake and climb the lonely windmills admiring the fish in the pond and patches of mud (sans tulips).
Cross in to “Science Polarisation Leisure Area” and wander through an eerily quiet greenhouse arriving at the ecological gardens where ”flowers bloom all year round and fragrant grass like carpet”. There were some blooms and the piano was an unusual feature, but after about 10 minutes you’re done. Back outside a rope bridge and stepping stones ensure a bit of exploration, as does the maze and adventure play area with various climbing attraction slung over a small waterway.
Heading out of the park and back to the main road a right turn will bring you to the bus station. Now try and find a pedicab or illegal driver to take you to our next destination. Failing that, a 30-minute walk will bring you to Binhai Forest Park and Wind Power Museum (past the bus station and first left along the never ending gravel track, right at the main road)
Binhai Forest Park: Jurassic Diversions
Dinosaurs. Yep, we were amazed as well. Dinosaurs! Not sure if the pens were to keep them in or us out…
And then on to horse riding. 30rmb gets you a whiz around the 800-meter sand track. Or you can splash out 250rmb for a 10-kilometer trek around the park.
Further into the park is the forest; although more of a scrubland with tracks, it does provide that get-away-from-it-all feeling. And resplendent, as it is, with horse crap, therein you can enjoy the sights and smell of a lost countryside…
Back to the tarmac road and into the BBQ area with views over the adjacent villa complex and business area, again obligatory boats and fishing complete the picture.
By now, with your curiosity fully aroused, you’re desperate to learn more about the wind turbines at the Wind Power Museum. 15rmb gains you access to the ”professional popular museum”. Unfortunately, closing a 4pm we only made the entrance before the lights were turned out. Picking up a leaflet though we were sad to miss the 4 exhibition zones such as “Caution of Resources” and “Wind Power with Us”.
If you wake up Sunday morning and haven’t got anything planned, it’s worth a trip. Fresh air, some notable oddities, gardens, horse riding… dinosaurs. If you’re after a nice garden, the Shanghai Botanical Gardens is a much better bet; likewise if you’re looking for a forest park, head to Binjing Forest Park – you’ll get to see the sea and the journey time is halved.
But Binhai has dinosaurs…
Addresses: Shanghai Flower Port 上海鲜花港 No. 2 Zhendong Road, Donghai Farm, Nanhui District
近郊南汇区东海农场振东路2号(近两港大道) ; Binhai Forest Park上海滨海森林公园 (东大公路)
118 Dongda Highway
Out of Town is an on-going section on SmartShanghai focusing on weekend get-aways one might embark on from our fair city. These articles are written with the assumption that our audience already knows a thing or two about basic travel in China, and can navigate basic transport, but if you're new to the city or just visiting, see directly below for a start on how to get out of town.
- Trains: Trains: There's four major train stations in Shanghai. In order of scope, largest to smallest: Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai South Railway Station, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, Shanghai West Railway Station. For the majority of your travel, you;'ll be dealing with the first three, and all three offer standard and bullet train transportation to basically all cities in China. Depending on destination and trip duration, tickets come in four basic categories: soft and hard sleepers; soft and hard seats. Tickets can be bought at the station or at several ticketing offices located throughout the city. This website has good information in English about using trains, and all train schedules (in Chinese) are right here.
- Buses: Long-Distance Buses: There are several "Long-Distance Bus Stations" in Shanghai, with the largest being the General Station at 1662, Zhongxing Road, in the Shanghai Railway Station north square. Close to 500 buses leaving daily, to destinations all over the country. See the "useful links" section of this sidebar to for links to more information on long-distance buses. A full list of bus stations in Shanghai is right here.
- Car Rentals: Although renting and driving a car yourself requires a local chinese driver's license (international drivers licences are not valid in China), Shanghai offers several car rental agencies that provide a driver for the day, should you be looking for private travel. The American-owned Shanghai Eastern Taxi Service provides English-speaking drivers / translators and can accommodate day trips out of the city. Other option are Shangcar.com and the Shanghai Limo Service, both offer bus rentals for larger groups. Hertz and Avis both have downtown offices to rent a car.
- Useful Links: Providing general travel information and editorial content on their English-language webportal, ChinaTravel.net and hotel and airplane booking at C-trip.com, C-trip is the go-to resource for expats living in Shanghai looking for travel solutions. A similar travel booking company is eLong.net, and that's another useful one to check when traveling in China. TravelChinaGuide.com deals with everything trains and buses - schedules, fairs - and you can book your trains through them as well right here.