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A forest of retreats on your doorstep
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Parks in downtown Shanghai are not large by Western standards but venture further out into the suburbs and you'll find a wealth of green areas where you can forget the cares of city life. Shanghai is liberally sprinkled with public parks. However, you may find senior citizens' morning tai chi and evening ballroom dancing in the downtown parks don't offer much respite from the urban environment, or chances to connect with nature. Fortunately, Shanghai has many larger and greener forest parks in its suburban areas.

Gongqing Forest Park

Yangpu District's Gongqing Forest Park, one of the city's largest, is bordered by the Huangpu River to the east and Jungong Road to the west.

Although the park itself features the closest thing to a real forest, the surrounding area is still very much an urban environment. Its uniqueness lies in its fairly large forested area.

The park was built almost 50 years ago on reclaimed land and was designed from the outset to provide Shanghai with a place for enjoying various scenes of "nature" that feature hills, streams, a bamboo forest and various themed areas that provide both scenic appeal and places to enjoy outdoor leisure activities.

Although it is 30 minutes' driving ride from downtown, it is a popular attraction for its display of flowers every spring when the buds of the trees and plants begin to swell and burst into flower.

It has also become one of the best places for newly weds to take their wedding photos.

The heavily forested park holds an annual flower show where visitors can expect to see and smell wonderfully fragrant blooms from hyacinths, freesia and pansies, as well as the less-fragrant but still lovely blossoms of tulips, anemones, ranunculus, crocus, scilla and the Chinese rose. The park has around 220,000 tulips of 200 species.

For barbecue lovers, the park has created the perfect spot for a summer outdoors gathering - this extra-green, extra-big destination with lakeside grassy shores and trees. You can't bring your own barbeque set, but can rent the park's own grills.

Address: 2000 Jungong Rd

Admission: 12 yuan

Tel: 6532-8194

Binjiang Forest Park

Shanghai Binjiang Forest Park is situated along Pudong's coast where the Huangpu River, Yangtze River,and East China Sea merge into one muddy wetland.

The city's largest suburban forest park, covering 3 million square meters, is in Gaoshatan, Gaoqiao Town, Pudong New Area. The park provides visitors with a wide open place for sightseeing, recreation and education.

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