We all need to get out of the house or office sometimes, but don’t have a whole week or even a weekend to do it. So if you’re looking for somewhere to take a nice walk and be back in your own bed that evening, we’ve got some great suggestions!
The extensive network of public trails connected to Xishan Scenic Area (西山景区) are the most “hiking” of the hiking spots on this list. Located on the large island in Taihu Lake beside Suzhou, this area truly feels like you’ve left the city and gone somewhere else.
After taking a look at the beautiful sixth-century Baoshan Temple (包山禅寺), skirt along its right side and follow the path into the valley between terraced tea farms until you reach a Y in the road with yellow vehicle barriers in both directions. Follow the road left to enter the trail network and follow the scattered indicator signs to the various peaks and locations. Some trails connect to the tea farms' own trails so be prepared to backtrack if you get over-exploratory or leave the main path.
While the area seems to have multiple entry and exit points in the end, I left by the way I came. Once you have left the main road from the bus station, there are no shops or stalls so be sure to bring food and water (and a camera!).
How to get there?Take the high-speed train to Suzhou Station and then transfer to the metro. Take metro Line 3 and transfer to Line 5, following it to the final station, Taihu Xiangshan Station (太湖香山站). From here, hop on the No. 11 bus to the island, Baoshansi (包山寺) bus station. Turn right onto Baoshan Lu and walk in towards the temple. Takes about 4 hours.
If you’re looking for a nearby mountain hike, Sheshan (佘山) is the closest and best bet for getting a little height in your life. Divided into Sheshan West and Sheshan East, these twin peaks are across the street from each other and have separate entrances to the two parks.
Between the two you can find winding forest boardwalks, steep stairways, rocky paths, towering bamboo, the Sheshan Basilica, the Shanghai Astronomical Museum, and many sightseeing platforms overlooking different parts of the city. The nearest option on the list, both parks are easy to do in a few hours and makes for the most accessible of all the locations. Both parks require you to scan a code at the gate and make a reservation, but the reservation is free!
How to get there? Take metro Line 9 to Sheshan Station (佘山站), then grab the 92 or 94 bus to Sheshan bus stop. Should take less than 90 minutes from downtown.
Boasting beautiful farmland, a massive lake, a fishing village, as well as a stunning water forest, Qingxi Country Park (青西郊野公园) is an ecological conservation zone within reach of Shanghai public transit. With tons of paths and trails and a beautiful environment to discover, you could easily spend 3 or 4 hours here.
At the time I went, there was an old woman selling fried foods from a cart near the entrance to the ecological conservation area and a restaurant in the village which was closed at the time, but I would recommend planning in advance and bringing your own food and water. There are several junctions where people will ask you to register, but the only place they really check is before going into the area with the water forest. Also, reservations are free!
How to get there?Take metro Line 17 west to the second last stop, Zhujiajiao Station (朱家角站). From there, ride bus Line 28 south to the parking area near the south gate. From there, you can backtrack a couple hundred meters and walk in along Zilian Lu (紫莲路). Alternatively, near the entrance are carts that do the circuit around the park. You can get a hop-on, hop-off ticket for 30RMB (but we’re here to walk, right?). Expect to take 2 hours each direction.
Way out in the far reaches of Pudong at the end of Line 16 well beyond the reaches of the airport, is the perplexing perfect circle you may have noticed on your map of Shanghai.
10km in circumference, Dishuihu (滴水湖) is a man-made lake ringed with boardwalks, stone tile trails, soft-impact jogging paths, ducks, sculptures, and brisk lake winds (as well as quite a few construction cranes, to be honest). Still well within the limits of a day trip from downtown, you could spend a long time walking around and checking out the sites.
How to get there? Take Line 2, 7 or 18 to Longyang Lu (龙阳路) metro station and transfer to Line 16, riding it to the very end. Takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes from downtown.
Ringed at the bottom with low buildings, a small craft market, a restaurant, and a petting zoo, Tianping Hill (天平山) is a steep climb to a beautiful view of much of the city of Suzhou. Far enough to feel like a trip but close enough to home to sleep in your own bed at night, it is a great little hike to scratch that travel itch. You can register at the gate. Admission is normally 30RMB, and is free on most holidays.
How to get there? Grab the high-speed train from Shanghai Station to Suzhou Station and then hop on the metro Line 2. Transfer at Line 1 and continue to Mudu Station (木渎站) where you can walk, bike, or bus the last 2km to the mountain. Takes about 3 hours from downtown Shanghai.