Yu or Yuyuan Garden is a classical garden built during the Ming dynasty and finished in 1577. A must-see Shanghai attraction, yu means ‘pleasing' in Chinese and with pavilions, halls, rockeries, carp ponds and cloisters to explore, you're sure to enjoy spending some time in the scenic environs of Yu Garden .
Characterised by traditional washed red walls and upturned tiled roofs, Yu Garden has been long-time social precinct where locals gather to shop, commune and practise qi gong of an evening. The area was destroyed during the First Opium War by French troops and later rebuilt and renovated with the most recent restorations finishing in 1961. Yu Garden comprises six main sites: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden, each with its own scenic areas. Huxinting Teahouse, near the entrance, is one of the most famous teahouses in China.
On entry, you'll see the Great Rockery where you can obtain a view of the garden from its 14-metre height. The largest structure is Sansui Hall with five halls which used to hold ceremonies. Around Yule Pavilion and Wanhua Chamber there are many natural features such as streams and bamboo trees. The Dianchun Hall comprises several halls including the Acting-and-Sing-Stage. Across from Yuhua Hall, the Exquisite Jade Rock is a must-see. This three-metre rock contains 72 holes and if you burn incense below the rock, the smoke will float out of all the holes. Water poured into the rock from the top will also spout out of these holes. The Inner Garden was built separately in 1709 but is now part of Yu Garden and boasts ornamental carp ponds and floral walls.
Past the gardens is Yuyuan Bazaar - a marketplace with crafts, restaurants, jewellery and other gift shops. Be aware, Yu Garden attracts big crowds on the weekend so it's worth heading here during the week if you can. To visit, take metro line 10 to Yuyuan Station and a two-minute walk to Yu Garden. Entry is CNY40.