1 hr 30 mins from downtown Shanghai
Chongming Island is like the farm your parents took your old dog to, except for humans and not a euphemism for dying. On Chongming Island, there’s lots of space to run and jump and chase birds (there’s birds!), to the point where marathons and other athletic races are held on its impressively flat landscape. But also if you’re an older dog wanting to take it easy and fish for 12 hours straight, you can do that too. Shanghai’s government has its sights set on turning Chongming into the city’s largest natural retreat, with a metro stop coming by 2020. For now, a one-hour bus ride from the Science and Technology Museum metro station – and many other bus and ferry routes – gets you to the island and its bevy of wetland, forest and wildlife parks.
As a ribbon of green belt, Chongming lends itself to earthy farmstay escapes. Mahota Farms offers fancy (and pricey) yurts, while other farmstays are modern-yet-humble and low-cost facilities in farming villages. Mahota Farms, Chongming Town, Beiqiyao Modern Agriculture Park (3966 6041). From 700RMB per night.
If you’re after a more premium getaway, you could do worse than the Hyatt Regency. The pro-dog resort on the east side of the island has extensive gardens (even dog parks) and all the good hotel stuff to help you unwind. Lane 799, Lanhai Lu (6703 1235; chongming.regency.hyatt.com). From 540RMB per night.
The largest wetland park and wildlife reserve on the island is Dongtan Wetland Park. Bikes are easy to rent and are a great way to get around. Scenic trails go through peaceful glades and along boardwalks that go out right over the water and deep into quiet wetlands where you can see flocks of migratory birds swooping into fields of reeds. Dongwang Zhong Lu, near Dongtan Bei Lu (3936 7000). 50RMB; 80RMB (weekends).
By Kenny Ong