You probably know by now that summer and early fall in Guangzhou can be some of the least pleasant times to be outside. It’s hot, it’s incredibly humid, and the city streets are filled with gridlocked cars; like a living case study on the horrors of Global Climate Change. But there are still plenty of easily accessible parks and public areas where you can put your feet up, even in the heat.
One of the nicest places in Guangzhou is the Martyr’s Park 广州烈士陵园(92 Zhongshan er’lu中山二路92号). If you take the Metro Line 1 to the Martyr’s Park stop, and leave the station through exit D, you’ll find yourself at the front gate of the gardens. The park was built in 1954 to commemorate the communist soldiers and leaders who died during the insurrection of 1927. There is no admission charge so you can just stroll right in, and immediately on your right you’ll find the park map. The best sites within the park are the Communist Uprising Monument, the Ye Jian Ying Monument, and the Flower Hall, but the rest are also worth a look. The gardens of the park are very well groomed and there are secluded side paths that lead to shady areas, with places to sit scattered all over the park. These are great places to bring a friend or to quietly read a book. There are also several ponds and rather beautiful small bridges in the park. If you plan on walking around the park, the best time to visit is early evening when some of the local retirees come to visit and you can hear them playing traditional instruments. It is also cooler at this time of day, but if you simply want to come and relax in a little bit of nature, the shaded areas are cool enough to sit even during the hotter parts of the day.
Huang Huagang Park
Another great place to visit is the Huang Huagang Park 黄花岗公园( www.72martyrs.com.cn). This park, located on the northern part of Xian Lie Zhong Lu, is just a short walk from the numerous bus stops on Huanshi Dong Lu. It is equally well kept and perhaps even more serene. Also known as the Mausoleum of 72 Martyrs, the emphasis of this park is more on the gardens and less on the monuments. Sites to see in this park include the Liberty Goddess Statue, Yellow Flower Well, and the Mausoleum itself. During the evening many social groups come here to meet so it is very common to see choral groups or Kung Fu practitioners using traditional weapons. This park also has an extended path that is entirely surrounded by enormous Bamboo chutes whose leaves whistle in the wind. It’s also where you’ll find the Health Road, a small path bordered on either side by small oblong stones cemented vertically in the ground. The idea is that you walk on these stones barefoot and give your self a poor man’s acupressure massage, but it’s certainly fun to try.
Guangzhou Yuexiu Park
Another park worth a look is the Yuexiu Park 越秀公园 (988 Jiefang Beilu 解放北路988), which has its own Metro stop towards the northern end of Metro line 2. Take a right out of exit B1 and you’ll find yourself at the entrance of this massive park. It has a great many sites to see as well: the Five Goat Statue (the one you see pictures of everywhere in Guangzhou), the Nanxiu Flower Garden, the Zhenhai Tower, and the Guangzhou Arts Gallery, to name but a few. The man-made islands on the river to the left of the main entrance are especially pleasant. As you get further into the park you may observe the older style architecture of the pagodas and pavilions. Also, if you find getting lost to be a strange sort of fun, you may want to take one of the unpaved side paths that meander around the park - you might even stumble on people harvesting mushrooms growing on the trees. A bit less tranquil than Huang Huagang and the Martyr’s Park, Yuexiu Park is still a lovely place to spend an afternoon.
More parks in Guangzhou
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