SOCIAL MEDIA

07 November 2014

Fairy Lake Botanical Garden

What I've found most difficult about our move is that it's a little challenging to figure out how to get to new places in our city. In the USA, Angel and I navigated by GPS. I'd look up an address online, plug it in when we left the house, and we'd go forth with confidence, even in states we'd never been to previously. Here, we don't have a GPS (my research indicates that it's illegal for foreigners to have a GPS in China and I like to be legal). I can still look up addresses online, but they aren't always that helpful in figuring out which buses and subways to take where and what stops to get off at.

All that to say...I'm really glad that I'm decently good at Mandarin because I don't know how else I'd have the confidence to travel around the city. (Can you tell I've never really traveled in countries where none of the language I speak are used?

Last week, we took a subway and a bus to Fairy Lake Botanical Garden in the LuoHu District of ShenZhen.

It's gigantic. And beautiful. We didn't really know what to expect, or how to find out way around once we got inside the gardens, but we alternated between "following the crowd" (Angel's preferred navigation strategy) and "reading the map" (mine, but it requires looking up the meanings of characters).

This Botanical Gardens has a 20 RMB entry fee ($3.30), and inside are quite a variety of attractions, including temples and hiking trails, but most interesting to us was the lake and the variety of themed gardens. The garden I really wanted to see was the "Petrified Forest", made up of pieces of petrified tree trunks that were dug up in archeological digs, mostly in northwest China, and brought to this garden to be displayed.

Petrified Forest, Fairy Lake Botanical Garden, ShenZhen
Fairy Lake Botanical Garden, ShenZhen, China

Petrified Forest, Fairy Lake Botanical Garden, ShenZhen

Part of the petrified forest. It was the area we had the highest expectations for in visiting the garden, and we enjoyed it the most! The petrified tree trunks looked pretty surreal. There was a Paleontological Museum next door, but it was closed, otherwise I would have liked to see what they had.

Fairy Lake Botanical Garden, ShenZhen

You can see the lake behind me. Air quality (due to pollution) wasn't too great the day we went, which is why the background looks a bit hazy.

Fairy Lake Botanical Garden, ShenZhen

Angel's best discovery: A bubblegum-flavored popsicle.



 I've long been a fan of the look of road signs bearing languages other than English.

Fairy Lake Botanical Garden, ShenZhen

One themed garden was full of statues of all the animals from the China calendar. Angel decided the rooster was his favorite.

Fairy Lake Botanical Garden, ShenZhen

Another themed garden had busts of famous Chinese botanists and scientists who had played a big role in discovering and naming plant species in this country. I was very intrigued by this garden, it was educational!

Do you have any good strategies for finding your way around a new city when you don't have a GPS?

26 comments :

  1. The petrified forrest looks pretty neat! Beautiful shot of you with the lake behind you! We don't have GPS so we always use either an old-fashioned road map or directions from Google maps.

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  2. As someone who is directionally challenged, I think I would freak the freak out not having a GPS if we moved to another country. I certainly don't have any advice, but I'm sure knowing the language for you both is so critical!!
    PS Those pics are just gorgeous!!!

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  3. I must admit that finding your way around on public transit when you don't speak the language is one of my pet peeves. I cannot tell you how many times I've been lost for an entire day because I got on the wrong bus or train. Sometimes I have wound up in some pretty cool places though...so there is that. Other times though I needed to get to work and it wasn't fun.

    Looks like an interesting place.

    Bubblegum popsicle? Ick.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  4. wow, that sounds scary to travel around like that! but amazing. you guys are so brave!

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  5. Oh my, I'd be in my element exploring that botanical garden and I have made a mental note to visit JUST to see the petrified trees (wow!!!).....tips for exploring unknown cities? I really just like to get lost, to be honest (in places where I more or less understand the language!)...

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  6. What an awesome looking garden!!!

    I'm dying to know why GPS is illegal in China...is it JUST for foreigners? And why?

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  7. I seriously want to know why GPS would be illegal! Especially if it is only for foreigners! I would probably end up in a different city and not know how to leave... I use GPS all the time!

    That garden is so beautiful, I wish I could see it in person! I love seeing gardens in different countries because they always have such different vegetation and the often have crazy, unique things like the petrified forest!

    http://howtomakehome.blogspot.com

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  8. ack. that was one of the top things we were looking forward to (consultation prize?) when moving back to the states - understand where we're going...at all times, and if not, easily ask someone. hah I'm so glad you found it though - this place is beautiful!

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  9. The petrified forest is beautiful! And how interesting that foreigners aren't permitted to have gps...
    Debbie
    www.fashionfairydust.blogspot.com

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  10. NO GPS???? What ? I had no idea. I don't think I would have the confidence to drive anyway in China, but without GPS I would never even attempt it. What about GPS on a phone?

    And that petrified forest is INCREDIBLE. I would have been in complete awe.

    Angie from reasons to dress

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  11. How beautiful! I have been to a petrified forest here in Washington, and it's really cool. I'm hopeless with directions and get lost in my local area - so I'm no help :)!

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  12. Looks beautiful! I have lived in a couple of countries where I don't speak the language now (although much easier to figure out than Mandarin thankfully!) but I do have that to thank for a couple of places that I managed to end up in by accident! :D

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  13. Is it weird that I'm most intrigued by the bubblegum flavored Popsicle?

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  14. Ending up in a place like this without GPS - SCORE! And with an educational aspect. Double score!!

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  15. China is so difficult to navigate! I'm not sure I would have made it without our guides. But it looks like you guys are doing okay--that place is gorgeous! :)

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  16. this post is a great conversation piece - i mean, 1) why can't foreigners use gps in china? 2) what is the better navigation strategy - map or crowd following? (i personally always follow the crowd) and 3) how awesome is the petrified forest? worth it at any cost (including getting lost).

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  17. Sooooo gorgeous!! I love Smart Shanghai-- it's an app I use and there actually is a maps part to it (but it tells you what subway station to get off at and how far the walk is there). I could not live in Shanghai without this app!

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  18. This sounds like such a marvelous day trip! Were you able to touch the petrified trees? I spent a summer in China and never heard of the ban on GPS for foreigners but we didn't use it, so my rule-loving psyche is okay. :)

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  19. What a beautiful place!! Love those trees! I'd be so lost without my GPS!

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  20. What a cool place to spend an afternoon at-- wow! I've never used a GPS before so I typically bring or draw a map by hand with important places (bus stop, entrance, roads of note) that I will need to know and usually it works! Unless I forget the map... but then it still works because I have the memory of it from drawing it :)

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  21. [Stopping over via TT]

    We kind of do what cynthia mentioned and it works!
    Love the pictures!

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  22. It blows my mind that you aren't allowed to use GPS in China!! I honestly wouldn't have the slightest idea as to how to get around. I live by Google Maps in Spain! Thank goodness you speak Mandarin! The petrified forest sounds really cool - and overall the garden seems incredible!

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  23. Beautiful forest! I like how educational it was as well! My game plan when traveling in new cities is usually to just rely on someone who has better navigation skills than me, and when I do go by myself, I just take good mental notes so I can at least remember how to get back if I get lost. haha

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  24. What a gorgeous garden/forest! It's interesting to hear that you can't use a GPS as a foreigner in China. Right now, I'm far too reliant on my iPhone as a GPS and I think it's hampered my acquisition of knowledge about my own city. I'm trying to spend time visualizing a local route before setting out, then giving myself some extra time to try it out, instead of automatically heading to Google Maps!

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  25. Rachel, what a beautiful photograph of the garden, I am most shocked that it's considered illegal for foreigners to have a GPS in China.https://workingfromhomewithstacey.wordpress.com

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  26. Situated in the east suburbs of Shenzhen, Fairy Lake Botanical Garden leans against Phoenix Tree Mountain which is the highest peak of Shenzhen. It covers an area of 588 ha (2.27 sq mi). Established in 1983, this is a multifunctional botanical garden integrating scientific research, plant species collection and display as well as tourism. In order to better develop the botanical garden, a plant sample exhibition hall, where over 70,000 samples are displayed, has been established.

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