Fairy Lake Botanical Garden

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January 27th 2022
Published: February 6th 2022
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The walk from Xianhu Road subway station to the entrance to Fairy Lake Botanical Garden was about ten minutes. There wasn't much to see as it was through a residential area. I had already bought my ticket online through their WeChat account, and it looks like this is the way to go as the ticket offices are closed due to Covid. The ticket was 15 RMB. I made my way through the large gate and scanned my ticket and started my walk to the centre of the park. There are buses that take you around the botanical gardens if you don't want to walk. I followed the path for about ten minutes or so. There were some nice little boardwalks that branched off from the path so you could walk through them. I had spotted a few trails on the map at the entrance and was looking for the first one, which I soon came across.

This trail led all the way to a viewpoint and TV tower. I think they might have been on the adjacent mountain, Wutongshan. I followed the trail for a while. There were a few other people on it, but not too many. It was a lot of stairs, but not too steep. I couldn't really see much because of the trees and cloud coverage. There were some pretty flowers along the route so I spent some time taking photos of them and it also gave me a good opportunity to catch my breath. It was also raining a little. After a while I came to a pavilion, where a few people were resting. I decided to take a break there for a bit. One criticism, I have of the botanical gardens is their half arsed attempts at signposting. For example, at the pavilion there were three different routes you could take, but only one was signposted. This happened a few times on the trail and was pretty annoying as it meant I had to follow some paths blindly not knowing where I would end up. Since I didn't want to go to the observation point, I decided to take the trail next to the pavilion that was heading down and hoped it would get me near to the lake. It only took about 10 minutes or so, and I had re-joined the road at the Mid-Level Pavilion. There were a few different paths. One was leading to the temple, I had read it was closed online so decided to skip that, although plenty of people were heading in that direction.

Instead, I took a walk through the Palm Collection. This collection was started in 1986 and contains around 170 different species of palms, including some Chinese endemic ones. I enjoyed the walk as I really like palms and the tropical feeling they give me. Some of the leaves were huge and stretched over a couple of metres. As I came out of the palm forest, I could spot the lake not too far away, so I headed there. The lake looked quite pretty. There were lots of trees, including palm trees surrounding it. It looked smaller than what I had seen when walking higher, but I later realised that what I had seen then was not Fairy Lake, but the reservoir close by. I decided to take a walk around the edge of the lake and just soak in the views. Once again, there were signposts pointing out stuff to see near the lake, and they just seemed to vanish, but I couldn't tell if that meant you were now in the place that had previously been signposted as it looked no different. I came across bird perched on one of the rocks. I think it was waiting to catch some fish to eat. Also there were some great views of the scenery surrounding the lake. The scenery was reflected in the water and that was pretty. There was also quite a bit of mist, which gave the lake and surrounding area an air of mystery. There were a few pavilions scattered along the bank of the lake and I took some time to relax in one and read and soak in the views. I headed over the eleven arch bridge and continued along by the lake. I passed a café, which had a cute sign/sculpture of a couple sitting at a table drinking coffee. There was also a stone boat further on that had been turned into some kind of shop.

I came to another pavilion that was out in the lake, joined to the land by a walkway. I really liked this pavilion and its position on the lake. Behind it was a small arched bridge, which looked a lot nicer than the 11 arched bridge I'd just seen earlier. The water here was pretty shallow and I spent ages watching a photographing a bird (I think it was a crane) wandering around hunting for some food. I left the lake here and headed up to the cacti and succulent garden. I took a walk through the garden admiring the different cacti and succulents. There were a few greenhouses, but I only went in one of them. I liked the aloe chabaudii the most. As I was leaving the garden, I spotted a cat taking a walk along the path. It then climbed up one of the benches into one of the cactus displays and lay down looking very comfortable. It was a short walk further up the road to the Bonsai Garden. I think that the Bonsai Garden was my favourite part of the botanical garden. It was just so pretty and peaceful. I climbed to the top of the highest pavilion and took a rest on the bench there, just soaking in the view. Afterwards, I took a walk around the Bonsai Garden. Although there wasn't loads to see, it was a relaxing place and well cared for, like the rest of the place.

I made my way back towards the lake and followed a path that took me along a traditional Chinese style corridor and back to the lakeshore. I did pass a sign telling people not to fish and one of the things saying not to use was fireworks. Do people throw the fireworks in the water to scare the fish and either make them jump out or kill them? Strange. I came to the beach bit that I had seen earlier, it was pretty busy with lots of people enjoying themselves. I took a walk down to the water's edge as I could see a couple of birds perched on a tree branch that stretched over the water. I couldn't get any good photos of them due to the lighting and my less than adequate camera skills. I was tired by this point and knew that it was a bit of a walk back to the entrance of the park, so decided to head back. I wanted to check out the tree that had been planted by former leader of China, Deng Xiaoping, when he had visited the botanical garden in the early nineties. There were two similar looking trees in the park and I headed to the one near the back as there were people taking photos by the sign in front of the tree. I think this was the tree, but the people were taking too long for their photos and I couldn't be bothered to wait. As I made my way back to the path that led through the palm collection. I came across some stone animals. I think they were the Chinese zodiac animals. The piglets looked very angry and the monkeys were cute. I headed back through the palm collection and came out on the road near the Mid Level pavilion. I didn't want to trek back through the woods, so followed the path around. It was a nice walk and it took me about 15 minutes or so to get back to the entrance. I enjoyed visiting the botanical garden and look forward to returning in the future to see some of the parts I missed.

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