The best things to do in Shanghai's suburbs: South

Explore the outer reaches of southern Shanghai in Minhang and Songjiang

Chenshan Botanical Gardens

As part of Time Out's guide to exploring the outer reaches of Shanghai we take a look at the best things to do in the south of the city, from Minhang to Songjiang, including huge botanical gardens, the Shanghai Film park and the city's best bowling alley. 


Click through the links below for our guide to Shanghai's suburbs

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"Chenshan-Botanical-Gardens"Go green at Shanghai’s two expansive botanical gardens

The north may have one of our favourite forest parks (Gongqing, a short taxi ride from Shiguang Lu station on Line 8), but the south still has two of the best green spaces in the city. The original Shanghai Botanical Gardens, east of the South Railway Station, serve up 240 acres of bonsai gardens, medicinal plants, rare trees and flowers. We suggest skipping the mini-train that ferries the lazier horticulturalists around the site in favour of taking it all in on foot, but either way, be sure to visit the tropical house with its five-storey walkway.


If the Shanghai Botanical Gardens feel vast, they’re a mere scrap of lawn compared to the city’s enormous new botanical gardens at Chenshan (pictured inset). The site features an incredible 9,000 species of plants threaded throughout its collection of different themed gardens and around the huge lake at its centre. For a breathtaking view over it all (and the outerlying areas of the city), climb Chenshan Hill to a viewing platform on a faux pagoda at its peak.


Get there Shanghai Botanical Gardens 1111 Longwu Lu, near Baise Lu. See full address details.

 

Chenshan Botanical Gardens 3888 Chenhua Lu, near Jiasong Lu. See full address details.




Jinjiang Amuseument ParkGet cheap thrills at an old-school theme park

While we wait for Disneyland Shanghai to open, Happy Valley in Songjiang remains the city’s only proper theme park. And while it’s worth a visit, we still have a soft spot for the charming Jinjiang Amusement Park.


More retro fairground than theme park, Jinjiang features some delightfully tacky rides including a log flume, Ferris wheel and a rollercoaster. Come with suitably-adjusted expectations and the 60RMB entrance fee will seem like a bargain.


Get there Jinjiang Amusement Park 201 Hongmei Lu, near Meilong Lu. See full address details.



 

"Shanghai-Film-Park"Relive Shanghai’s glory days at Shanghai Film Park

Chedun may not be the easiest place to get to, but where else can you step out of an ancient Chinese temple and onto the tramlines of 1930s Nanking Lu? The Shanghai Film Park (entry 50RMB) has featured in films such as Lust, Caution and Kung Fu Hustle, though these days is largely the domain of young couples shooting their wedding photos. Amateurish stunt shows are scheduled daily at 10.30am and 1.30pm, but otherwise the sets are a ghost town, allowing you to wander around the period replicas of Nanking Lu, Waibaidu Bridge and Hengshan Moller Villa in peace.


Occasionally you’ll happen across a photo shoot or TV crew, but the studios have been overshadowed in recent years by Zhejiang’s massive Hengdian Studios and it’s clear that the park’s best days are behind it. It’s a unique way to spend a few hours nonetheless and makes for some great photo opportunities.


Get there Shanghai Film Park is around a 50RMB taxi journey from Songjiang Xincheng station on Line 9. 4915 Beisong Gong Lu, near Yingcheng Lu, Chedun. See full address details.



 

Xuhui rock climbing wallScale the free public climbing wall at Xuhui Riverside

It’s hard not to like Xuhui Riverside. Marked by two large red cranes beside the Huangpu, the large public area is well used by the local community, with dancers, runners, dog walkers and rollerskaters gathering on a nightly basis. One of our favourite aspects is the free climbing wall beneath the raised walkway. Admittedly not the most challenging of climbs, it’s nevertheless a fun place to hang out with amateur climbers and occasional parkour practioners.


Get there Xuhui Riverside Dongan Lu, near Longteng Avenue. See full address details.




Longmarch bowlingBowl with the best at Longmarch in Minhang

While we love the cheap bustle of Oden on Hengshan Lu and the numerous High Point branches around town, when it comes to getting serious about bowling there’s no better option in the city than Longmarch on the ground floor of the Minhang Gymnasium, next door to Dino Beach


It’s easily the most professional set of lanes in town (the company that owns Longmarch also produces all manner of bowling equipment) and has a number of features unavailable at Shanghai’s other bowling centres such as specially weighted balls for hooking. The standard of the set-up is matched by that of the players and you’ll see some intimidatingly high scores flashing up on the screens around you (last month 23-year-old Jiang Litian became the latest player to score a perfect game), but if you’re after a top quality bowling experience, this is it.


Get there Longmarch First Floor, Minhang Gymnasium, 288 Xinzhen Lu, near Baoming Lu. See full address details.


Click through the links below for our guide to Shanghai's suburbs

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