The Garden Of Peace & Happiness!

Built by a dutiful son for his retired parents, the Yuyuan is a 400 year old classical Chinese garden in the midst of the urban jungle that is modern Shanghai. Located inย the heart of the old town in Puxi, not far from the bund, it is high on every tourist itinerary.

Not surprisingly therefore – unless you get there right after it opens – it is far from the “garden of Peace and Happiness” that it’s name suggests. It is beautiful nevertheless and incorporates all the aspects of Chinese landscape design and is well worth a wander.

A must do – according to most guidebooks and travel forums – just as you exit the garden, is to sample the iconic soup filled steamed dumplings at Nan Xiang Xialongbao Mantou. Not the best we had in Shanghai (certainly not half as good as the ones from Ding Tai Fung or the pan fried ones from Yangs fry) but we didn’t know that at the time. So we lined up for a box, behind all those people.

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

99 thoughts on “The Garden Of Peace & Happiness!

  1. Shanghai… I’m so envious! Lovely photos too, especially the header shot. I wonder when they were opened up to the public and whether my grandparents and father ever visited these gardens!

    1. Thanks Kat. I was thinking of you when I posted this ๐Ÿ™‚ The garden was opened to the public in 1961. Was your dad still in China then?

      1. No, no. They left in 1938 when he was 9! So I guess the answer is no, they wouldn’t have seen it. Maybe I will one day.

  2. So many Koi ! I love that carved window, Madhu. What a beautiful garden of peace and happiness. Lovely present for Pan Yuduan’s father. I wonder if he lived long enough to enjoy it once it was finished.

    1. I wonder too! That carved window is one of few original pieces in the garden. That is why it is protected behind glass. Thanks for the visit AD

  3. I love your header picture of the Koi, as well as all your other beautiful photos of Yu Yuan Garden. I’m really feeling to urge to work in China after one more year in Oman!

    1. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ I would have thought you would want to work in Turkey. But I can see why China might be better for work.

      1. I would LOVE to live in Turkey, but the pay there is so low and until I am debt-free, I honestly can’t afford to work there! I actually had an offer last year from Turkey but the pay was half what I made in Korea, plus no flight reimbursement and no accommodation!! It’s really such a shame!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  4. I remember the crowds when I was there – fortunately it was drizzling so that thinned them out a bit! Back when I was a child I promised my mother I would build her a log cabin… every now and again she’ll jokingly remind me of what I said. Great shots as always, Madhu!

    1. That was sweet of you James. She must have been so pleased! Wishing you enough prosperity to be able to build her a mansion ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the visit.

    1. Appreciate your visit and comment Judy. Just hoped over to your blog and found it really interesting ๐Ÿ™‚ Shall be returning to read more.

  5. What a beautiful park you chose for this theme. I love the hexagonal window and the dragon along the top of the wall. I can imagine the park before it was opened to the public…even more beautiful.

  6. Luckily there’s a Ding Tai Fung only 30 minutes drive from me now! And not as much a lineup! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I just love the snapshots of the architectural details!

  7. Lovely gardens – your beautiful photos reminded me of our trip to Portland last year when we visited the Chinese gardens there – I wonder if this garden was inspiration for that one or if the one in Portland was just very typical. Reassuring, that thought.

    1. Typical most probably. I believe Chinese gardens adhere to certain rules with regard to representing the elements of nature, and framing of views and their reflections in water bodies. I suppose that would make them all similar to some extent. Appreciate your sharing your thoughts Carol.

    1. They do actually, the pond was quite large. This was the frenzy during feed time ๐Ÿ™‚ Appreciate your dropping by Debra

    1. Glad you liked it Kate. Just hopped over to your blog and discovered some of your awesome photos! Will surely return to check out more. Thanks for the visit and comment.

  8. Beautiful photos, Madhu, you managed to convey the peace and happiness despite the bustling crowds, I bet it’s lovely first thing in the morning! The carvings are spectacular!

  9. Your photos are stunning and you are traveling the world! I am so envious! We are currently traveling through the US so I will live vicariously through you until we branch out to other continents, which we will surely do as we are nomads at heart.

    1. I haven’t traveled to the US, so I guess that makes us even ๐Ÿ™‚ Delighted to have you aboard on my virtual journeys! Look forward to seeing you around.

  10. Hi,
    Looks like an incredible place to wander around, it does look beautiful, and certainly has a lot of offer as well. Very nice. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. This is a beautiful post, so interesting. It’s after midnight and suddenly the thought of the soup filled dumplings has me feeling so hungry I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep!

  12. An impressive park… well shame about peace and tranquility…. I don’t think that I would stand in such a long line for any soup… not even for an icecream ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. We did it one other time in Paris, for Felafel sandwiches at ‘L As du Felafel’ and it was so worth it!

  13. Lovely photos…I love these types of parks. So peaceful (minus the tourists). I do love dumplings so I may skip this line and hold out for the better ones.

    1. Calling the Yuyuan peaceful might be a stretch TBM ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes the dumpling place was highly overrated.

  14. It was a beautiful post. I specially liked the story behind this garden. A son made it for his retired parents, what a inspiring story. Like this post a lot.

  15. Hi Madhu, I nominate you for an award. I know, your blog is loaded with readers… It just my very tiny way to thank you for all you effort of making such an impeccable blog– truly is the โ€œgreatest of all callingsโ€.

  16. Yu Yuan is such a nice place. I think the dragon has more teeth than the last time I saw him! The photo of the fish is my favorite though. Thanks for the post.

  17. My wife and youngest are currently holidaying in Shanghai – they’ve visited some of these sites, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing.

  18. 400-year-old garden… Hmmm… Most people can’t keep a potted plant alive for more than a season! That’s what so intrigues me about Chinese and Japanese (and I suppose all of Asia) world view. I wonder if people the world over won’t come to the western habit of throw-away stuff? Something is lost in Westerners, I think. Maybe that’s why psychologists and the drug companies thrive here… We abandon our roots so easily. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I don’t know George. To me it seems like we are losing all our heritage and culture in the race to catch up with the developed world. There are exceptions of course, and China is learning its lessons, but here at least heritage buildings are being demolished without a thought. Citizens have had to stage massive protests to save some old buildings here in Chennai. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could retain all that is good in both worlds?

  19. The photos are pretty. But those fish, those fish …why did they pack themselves so tight in that big pond? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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