Yuyuan Gardens is one of the most popular sights in Shanghai. Even with its premier landscaping, rock tunnels and aesthetically pleasing bridges and rooftops the sight feels uninspiring and a little pretentious. The gardens were founded in 1559 and it took 18 years to blossom into its final form. The gardens that tourists see now are what was reconstructed after two thrashings, the first by the residual bombings of the Opium War and the second by some angry and vengeful French.
The surrounding bazaar is my worst nightmare. It is the most touristy place that I visited in Shanghai, so far! It is filled with tiny flag waving tour groups and fake Rolex vendors. Jonathan forgot to put on his watch so he was being approach a lot. You also cannot bring your bicycle inside the bazaar. The rule that you cannot bring your bicycle to parks and touristy spots is quickly becoming the most annoying thing in Shanghai. I know it will create utter anarchy, but come on I’m just one tiny person with a big bike.
My favourite sight in the area was the Temple of the Town God. It was the first Taoist temple I have ever visited hence I was pleasantly surprised by the praying ritual. Watching people pray and burn incense was the highlight of Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar. If you are in the area, check out the God of Wealth representation as the God looks like he is reading some unpleasant news. Maybe riches bring on a constant worry about the state of affairs.