We’ve covered Chongming Island several times, mostly surrounding its new tunnel, and odd property development, but here’s breaking news: you should go. Given the right day (when you have time), and the right weather (NOT raining), Chongming is pretty much a win situation. It’s a relatively short ride over, has trees as far as the eye can see, and is a chance to reverse some of the lung damage that you may have accrued since arriving. You might even forgive its current lack of hairy crabs (only in the Fall, folks).
What especially floored us when we first arrived was how big it was; we ended up on the eastern tip of the island, and it took us an hour to drive to the middle. The money places, however, are the Protected Zones — the Xisha Wetlands, and Dongping National Forest Park, among a few others. It seems that the initial rush into the island has somewhat diminished, and seemed nowhere close to the 100,000 visitors the island saw in November. If daytripping, though, count on visiting just one park; rushing from one to another undermines the whole point of traveling out to Chongming in the first place.
We spent the most time at Dongping. Spanning 358 hectares, it’s the largest man-made forest (!) in Eastern China, with twisting walkways and pretty ponds scattered throughout, with grassy spots around their edges. It’s about as perfect as we can get to a picnic destination. Bring your own blanket and sandwiches, and supplement with popsicles from the ubiquitous snack shops. And by all means, take advantage of the fresh air and run around.
Thank goodness for the Expo: combined with the new tunnel to the island, it’s relatively easy to get there. Expo Bus 37 from Zhongshan Bei Lu/Chengdu Rd (south of Zhongshan North Rd. station on Line 1) takes you directly to the Nanmen Wharf area (20rmb), where it’s a quick cab ride over to Dongping Park (admission: 80rmb). Transport around the park is taken care of by the endless supplies of taxi drivers eagerly waiting around the bus station, and ranges from 10rmb-20rmb per person.
It smells like summer already!