Travel Report: Shu Yuan National Park, China.
Shu Yuan National Park – Yongjia County, China.
November 2017. With winter finally starting to hit the southeast of China, I could feel my annual hibernation period calling me. Resolving to squeeze in one final trip before scuttling off to my man cave, I set off for Yongjia County. This rural region of Zhejiang Province lies just fifteen kilometres north of Wenzhou city. My first stop was the absolutely beautiful Shu Yuan National Park, named after a famous Song Dynasty school.
Shu Yuan National Park is a huge complex of nature trails, streams, ponds, woodland and caves. With limited time, my guide and I embarked on a two-hour loop hike that takes in the park’s most popular spots. I was immediately struck by how quiet the park was that day. Not something you ever take for granted in China. In fact, these posing ladies were the only people we saw in the first half an hour of our hike.
The Museum of Literature, Shu Yuan National Park.
With its connection to one of southern China’s most historical schools, Shu Yuan is also home to a Museum of Literature. The centre stands in tribute to a number of China’s most notable writers and poets.
There’s no English in the museum, hence I was unable to fully grasp what I was looking at. Nevertheless, the vibe is great, especially in this library, which holds antique prints of some of the country’s greatest works.
This huge waterfall is arguably the park’s greatest draw. It’s absolutely beautiful, while the all-encompassing sound of the gushing water can be heard long before you reach it. As impressive as the waterfall is, it was equally dramatic to simply turn around and look back at the way we’d come.
Shu Yuan National Park.
For the second hour of my hike, the trail got tougher, including an absolute beast of a stone staircase. The network of orange railings running up isn’t the most handsome addition. But boy was I grateful for something to hold onto and catch my breath as I fought my way to the top. A real workout!
At the top of the staircase I was surprised to find a series of tunnels. Pretty cool, not least due to the somewhat eerie coloured lighting that guides you through.
Unlike many Chinese parks I’ve visited, Shu Yuan is exceptionally well maintained. A dedicated team of groundsmen and women work around the clock trimming hedges, raking leaves and picking up litter.
The amazing toilets!
The lady pictured below is the custodian of the toilets, way up on the uppermost walking trail. Anyone who’s travelled around China knows only too well just how horrific public toilets can be. Thus the sparkling men’s lavatory I went into that afternoon was nothing short of a revelation! She was a friendly lady too, and only too happy to pose for a photograph.
The views from the top are just lovely! I particularly liked the little Lego town visible near the foot of the hills, which provides a great sense of scale. From here it’s a brisk twenty five minute walk back down to the car park. Another day of China travel, another gorgeous national park!
For more on my wanderings around Yongjia County, take a look at my piece on Ling Shang Restaurant Village.
For a wider look at the region, check out my detailed guide on Zhejiang Province.
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