Shanghai is well known for its shopping, eating, sightseeing and general all-round craziness. So where can you go for a bit of quiet reflection in this busy and exciting city?
The garden of ‘peace and comfort’ is a green oasis right in the center of the Old Town. Considered one of China’s finest and best-preserved gardens, Yuyuan features Ming-era pavilions, rockeries, ponds and quaint, zig-zag bridges. It’s a small space—only 5 acres (2 hectares) and on some days you might find yourself jostling for position with several other serenity seekers but somehow the garden still manages to maintain an air of quiet composure.
Read more: Shanghai’s Yuyuan Gardens
Jade Buddha Temple
This working Buddhist temple can get very crowded, especially during February’s Lunar New Year when thousands of Buddhists come to pray for good fortune in the coming year. Don’t be put off though—this is one of Shanghai’s top sights and it is justifiably popular. Wander into The Hall of Heavenly Kings and stroll through the courtyard, etched with lotus flowers and strung with red lanterns, into the Great Treasure Hall. The centerpiece of the temple is the seated jade Buddha who sits at 1.9m (6.5ft) tall in a meditative pose. Another smaller jade Buddha lies smiling serenely downstairs.
Lu Xun Park
This lovely park is the perfect antidote to busy city life. Locals come here to stretch their legs and practice tai-chi. Known previously as Hongkou Park, after the district it resides in, the park was given its present name in honour of the famous left-wing Chinese writer, Lu Xun who died in 1936. His body is interned at the mausoleum here, which may just be one of the quietest spots in the park. The nearby Lu Xun Museum tells his story and displays pictures and artefacts from his life.