Guangzhou #4: South China Botanical Garden

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May 4th 2019
Published: December 8th 2019
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My flight wasn't until the afternoon, so I had the morning to see a little more of Guangzhou. I didn't end up leaving as early as I would have liked, but I still had a few hours to see something. After a quick breakfast, I hopped on the subway and made my way to the South China Botancial Garden. It took around 40 minutes to get there, and the garden was a short walk from the subway. It was raining when I got there, which was rather annoying. I had to wear my jacket to stay dry, but it was too hot. There were two different types of ticket available for the garden; the cheaper one and the more expensive one, which allowed you access to the green houses. Since I was short on time, I opted for the cheaper one. The ticket was only 20 RMB, what a bargain!

The garden was founded in 1929 by Woon-young Chun, and it is the biggest south subtropical botanical garden in the world. The garden is certainly huge and by looking at the map by the entrance, I knew I wouldn't be able to see as much as I would have liked to. I headed left along the path, which was surronded by very tall palm trees. It was a really nice path to walk along, and peaceful. There were plenty of people about, but due to the size of the botanical garden, it didn't feel busy. Stepping off the main path, I came across some plants with huge leaves. I forget the name of the plants because I am not really into plants. The leaves looked so lush and green, and had raindrops resting on them. I came to one of the small rivers that runs around the garden. It was nice to stand on the bank for a bit and soak in the peaceful atmosphere. After a while, I headed back to one of the main paths and came across the Relic Plant Garden. This garden was built in 1959 and contains more than 20 different species of rare and primitive Chinese plants, not that I knew what any of them were.

I wandered around the gardens so more. I really loved the huge tree roots that had broken free from the constrains of the earth and were proudly on show above ground. I passed a small pond filled with lotus leaves, I was hoping to see some flowers, but didn't. There was also a small traditional style Chinese Bridge, which was beautiful but a little drab looking in the rain. What really made it come alive were the little pops of bright colour from the umbrellas of the people crossing the bridge. I took a walk through the sculpture garden. It contained sculptures of what I presume to be famous Chinese people. The information, apart from the name, was all in Chinese and I was too lazy to google who they were. My walk took me deeper into the Botanical Garden, I came across a children's amusement park complete with a small rollercoaster and I wandered down beautiful tree lined paths. There were a few different gardens so I visited some of those. One garden near the back of the park (I think it was the Ginger Garden) was quite eerie as I didn't come across another soul in there, and it also had a few large buildings, which I presumed were for research purposes, that were shuttered up. There was also another large body of water at the back of the botanical gardens and I took a walk around it. I came to another garden, that was filled with old stones, but as I was running out of time, I didn't go for a look around. I continued my circuit around the lake and finally found some lotus flowers blooming on the large lake. I was heading back towards the entrance and I had to cross a couple of bridges to get there. I came to another small lake, Which had a rather unusual feature in it. It kind of looked like a spaceship floating on top of the water. I wasn't really sure what it was a restaurant or some kind of play facility? From there, I headed back to the entrance, I enjoyed the botanical garden and could have easily spent more time there. I wish it hadn't been raining, but it did make the plants look more lush.

I made my way back to the subway station and headed to the airport. The self check in machines here didn't accept foreign ID, so I ended up having to queue to check in and get my ticket. Then it was the queue for security and then I made my way to the depature lounge. Guangzhou airport, generally, get a bad rap. Judging by the section of the domestic terminal I was in, I can kind of see why. It's just a bit crappy. The food options were all ridiculously expensive, so I after walking the length of the area my departure gate was in, I headed to the Subway to purchase a sandwich and cookie as the prices weren't too bad. My flight departed on time and I had hoped it would be uneventful. However, we hit some of the worst turbulence I've ever been in. It was pretty scary and not helped by other passengers screaming. The flight attendants were trying to do the food and drink service, but the turbulence was so bad, they spent a lot of time crouching in the aisles holding the trolleys steady. It was not a pleasant flight and I was relieved not only to land in Beijing, but also to know that I no air travel in my forseeable future.

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