A few weekends ago after about 3-4 days of straight rain, we had a nice day in Shanghai. Finally. We knew we needed to get out. I had been looking for quick day trips from Shanghai. There’s a few water towns, but they can be a little taxing to get to. Nanxiang is on the metro, so super easy transportation wise (no buses or transfers) but just out about 13 miles from the city center of Shanghai. Why Nanxiang? Because Nanxiang is where Xiaolongbao was said to be created. Also there is quite a little bustling town with the Guyi Gardens, the Nanxiang Twin Towers and a pretty spectacular Buddhist temple.
So we headed out on Metro line 11, it was nice because part of the ride was above ground, so we were able to see more of the city. Another nice part was that the ride cost us less than $1USD. For some reason I had it in my mind that we were going out to “the country.” Why I thought that I have no idea.
The Nanxiang metro stop lets out into a mall. Yes, a mall. Certainly not the country.
From the mall we walked our and found Huyi Highway. The Guyi Gardens are located only about a 10 minute walk from the Nanxiang Metro stop. The cost to enter the gardens was 12RMB (1.93 USD).
Some gardens in Shanghai charge an entry fee. I believe Century Park charges 10RMB per person, where Chengfeng Park did not charge a fee.
Guyi Gardens were originally owned by a magistrate during the Ming Dynasty – (1522–1566), but then were remodeled during the Qing Dynasty (1746). So these were some old gardens. The garden was very relaxing. They had just a few flowers, but the grounds were nice and set up for the Chinese New Year.
(This little guy was really excited to see us)
There were all of these crazy animatronic installations for the Chinese New Year. Some pieces spinning with music playing. I can’t think that they have these pieces out all year long.
This little baby couldn’t get enough of the goats.
Nor could Jen get enough of the goats!
(Still wondering what “Magical and Interesting Excercise” actually is)
The Chinese kind of have this “YOLO” mentality. They really just do what they want. See the picture above of the little girl on the deer? Yes, that was a display. Not to mention that there was a line of other people wanting to get their kids on that deer. You know the deer that was on display…in..the…garden. YOLO!
Guyi Gardens had some fantastic people watching. Between the kids, the parents going crazy taking pictures of the kids, or the people setting up tripods to take pictures of the one cherry blossom that had bloomed, it was a grand time.
There were lots of natural rock formations, some even creating little caves and walkways up to high viewpoints. There was also a bonsai section, many little bridges and different walk ways to venture down.
Xiaolongbao was said to be created right outside of the gates of the Guyi Garden. We weren’t exactly hungry at that moment, so we passed on the Guyi Restaurant (which we had heard was good) and headed over to the “Ancient Town” as all of the signs in English said.
Nanxiang has a ton of small little waterways. Lots of little bridges to walk over and explore. We found the market area and wandered about. I was able to haggle and get a cellphone case for 20RMB (3.21 USD). Lots of sights, smells and fun stuff to look at, unless you encounter the “stinky tofu”, then you want to run for your life.
After walking through the majority of the marketplace, we found the Nanxiang Twin Towers. Two identical towers across from eachother in a square/plaza like atmosphere. In this area there were a lot of carnival-like games for kids to play to win small, cheap prizes.
We then continued down the street to the Yunxiang Temple formerly called the Nanxiang Temple or Liuyun Temple. I did get a little confused when looking this up on Google Maps because it showed up as Liuyan Temple. This is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the Shanghai area. And let me tell you it is breathtaking. We are lucky that we were able to get in because when we arrived no one was manning the ticket booth. We had walked around a bit, but finally went back to the window and gave a “Nee-how” (Hello!) through so that we could purchase tickets. 10RMB (1.61 USD)
After the Yunxiang Temple we were finally hungry. All good daytrips require some kind of feast! Time to get some Xiaolongbao! We headed back through the market area. All of the places looked pretty similar. So we just went with the #1 rule of picking food while traveling: If it’s busy- it’s good! Never go to an empty restaurant!
Needless to say we were not disappointed by the xiaolongbao.
Don’t they just look like little presents of deliciousness? We had 20 xiaolongbao for 3oRMB ($4.84 USD). And they were heavenly.
Yes, I am completely cheesing because I am about to chow down on some dumplings. And here is the little lady who was hand crafting those soup dumplings.
Typical to all things in China…the shop sign was in Chinese. But if you are looking for this restaurant I think the address is somewhere pretty close to the star on this map.
Here’s a link to a full size map if you are interested: Nanxiang Map
And after we ate walked back to the metro and headed home. That was it for our day trip to Nanxiang. Lots to do and explore. I’d highly recommend it. The dumplings are much more authentic than what you would find at Din Tai Fung. More of a cultural experience and a great excuse to get out of Shanghai for a bit.