Concealed by bustling shopping malls and grinding factories is a panoply of nature. Here, residents find solace from the noise of the city streets. Friends take a walk, families picnic and dogs are let loose in scented paradise.
Parks continue to be one of the crucial factors needed for a livable city. Only they can maintain the fragile balance between urbanization and nature, serving as a hub for community, fitness and leisure.
Central Dongguan plays host to at least a dozen outdoor gems like Qifeng and Huying Mage Park, Tongsha Ecological Park, Shuilian Mountain Park and People’s Park. The residents with access to city-centric amenities and nature are best served. But it’s not just central Dongguan that holds are the cards. In fact, it’s really just a minor player.
Though the remainder of city is covered by endless factory complexes and industrial zones, Dongguan surprisingly topped a recent chart for number of parks in Chinese cities, boasting 1,223 parks in a total area of nearly 145 sq. kilometers. That number is more than Shenzhen—ranking second—by a quarter and almost triple area of Kunming, which took third.
Dongguan has over 500 villages and each one has built at least one park. Whether it’s a few tables and chairs surrounding a village’s hundred-year-old ficus tree or a vast pavilion overlooking a web of streams, these spaces provide greenery, seating, water views and perhaps some fitness facilities.
Dongguan also features one of the earliest formally established parks in China.
Built in 1912, People’s Park in Guancheng has witnessed the city’s ups and downs—both in times of prosperity and occupation. It also holds the city’s first museum and public library, which later became something of a command center for the Japanese resistance; the well-known civilian force—the Dongjiang Column—chose the park as their headquarters in 1938.
With a plethora of meditative and adventure filled locales throughout Dongguan, skip the endless screens and call your friends, parents, kids, pets and anyone else to join you for a stroll through the jungle. These are eight of our favorites to get you started.
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