LYCHEE PARK SHENZHEN

Chinese tend to take their pleasures differently from Westerners, particularly in parks.

A hot Sunday afternoon in summer, locals gather in Lychee Park in their thousands. In many cases their pleasures are taken very publicly. A fat blousy would-be karaoke singer with bright red hair has set up camp under a grove of banyans with her personal singing trainer and practices Taiwanese pop songs as scores of people look on. Her coach is merciless and very public in his criticisms, especially of her rhythm but she doesn’t seem to mind. We, on the other hand, think she’s not bad and we know that she wouldn’t be out here in public if she didn’t think so too.

She is not the only music in the park. Amongst the verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways, several groups of amateur musicians are serenading the masses on the erhu, the bamboo flute and even the pipa. Groups of men sit under the shade of betel and coconut palms playing Chinese chess. We mount the steep stairs of a moon bridge and suddenly one of Shenzhen’s great vistas is opened to us, along Li Hu Lake with its hire boats, across pavilions in the southern style, and thick groves of India rubber trees to the glass towers of Shennan Avenue.

Lychee Park is the oldest and therefore the most mature of Shenzhen’s parks we are referring to the modern parks, not Sun Yat Sen Park which is in a category of its own. It was established in 1982, which in Shenzhen terms makes it almost mediaeval. Although you will find nothing official confirming this, our recollection is that it was built on the base of a lychee farm and the park still has over 500 lychee trees. In the fruiting season May-June this adds a beautiful and fruitful touch to the landscape.

This is a pleasant park. It has an area of 30 ha 75 acres. As well as lychees, it boasts stands of various palm species, especially the slightly narcotic betel, Banyans and India rubber trees. It is traditionally Chinese in having a nine-cornered bridge, several pavilions over the water of the lake and even an area for fishing. The traditional style bridges are good for picturesque photographs. You can hire a boat for a modest $20 30 per half hour.

Address: Corner of Shennan Avenue and Hong Ling Rd, just behind the Deng Xiaoping billboard.

Open: 5.30A.M. until 11.30P.M.

Entry: free.

Metro: Ke Xue Guan line 1 Buses: 10, 13, 24, 30, 105, 202

YINHU TOURIST CENTRE

An outstanding park and also site of an art gallery. See Shenzhen Institute of Art in the Culture section.

Buses: 4,5, 7, 201, 218, 222, 310,315

XIA SHA VILLAGE

See the section on Historic Shenzhen

SHENZHEN INTERNATIONAL FLOWER AND GARDEN EXPO

See the section on gardens and hiking in Shenzhen

MANGROVE FOREST NATIONAL PARK

See the section on gardens and hiking in Shenzhen

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