Nanxiang is a small town located in Shanghai’s north-western Jiading District that has a fabulous history of over 1,400 years waiting to be soaked up. This old ancient town is the birthplace of the famous xiaolongbao steamed bun, which are well liked throughout the world. It’s definitely worth trying a few of these delicious buns. The town houses the oldest and original shop selling the famous xiaolong mantou, which was established in 1900.
The town is also the home to one of Shanghai’s five most important classical gardens, the Guyi Garden of Nanxiang which is designed in the typical style of a Jiangnan classical garden.
The lush greenery and the sleepy willows may provide a respite for escaping from the hustle and bustle of the noisy narrow lanes of Nanxiang. Nevertheless, despite the garden’s external and internal features not making it appear it to be as outstanding as one would hope for, it’s the garden’s historical connection to the city that is more to be cherished. There are plenty of relics on display that have stayed untouched since the Ming Dynasty days, and that’s the part that really makes this place sell like hot cakes.
To make the most of the visit to the garden, visitors can rent a small rowboat to take a ride along the bright green algae ridden lake inside for 20RMB (approx. $2.5USD). Just make sure you known how to ride the boat as no one will be there to teach you.
The old street in Nanxiang (pronounced ‘Nanxiang lao jie’) is another wonderful sight to experience, and is somewhat similar to what you may come across in other water towns in Jiangsu province such as Mudu, Tongli, and Xitang. Narrow, crowded, the air filled with the rich smell of oily & spicy Chinese cuisine, and the much expected souvenir shops selling everything under the sun from Mao’s portraits to a matchstick box.
The highlight of the town is the enormous yet remarkably beautiful Yun Xiang Temple (pronounced Yun Xiang Si). Allow at least half a day to fully experience the sights and smells of this beautiful historical town.
The entrance fee for the garden is 12RMB (approx $2USD).
How I got there?
I took Metro Line 11 from Jiangsu Lu to Nanxiang directly (takes around 40 minutes). Then take a 15 minute walk along Huyi Gong Lu (沪宜公路) to reach Guyi Garden or you can carry on walking straight down Minzhu Jie (民主街) and the garden is located on the left hand of the road. The Nanxiang Yunxiang Temple and Old Street are also on Minzhu Jie around a 5-10 minute walking distance from Guyi Garden.
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