No train, so Tan
I had a day off recently and headed to the North Train Station. It only has 3-4 trains a day, serving the suburbs, but I'd been told it was quite fun watching the city traffic come to a standstill as your train passes through the railway crossing, and then seeing city gradually turn to countryside, all for a 2RMB (20p) ticket. In any case, the journey only lasts 40mins and, after shunting the engine round for 20mins, heads back. However, on arrival I found my chosen train had been cancelled and the next one was due 3 hours later.
So instead, I pulled out my map and decided to walk for an hour to TanHua Park. I'd spotted it on the map before, but never made it. The 5RMB (50p) entrance fee was a bargain - a surprisingly nice find. Old folk were sitting in the many nooks and crannies, playing cards or mahjong [see photo above], but otherwise the park was quiet and pleasantly uncrowded. At the top of the hill was an impressive pagoda tower, sadly locked [see photo right]. The grounds were well kept, though the rusting funfair rides had seen better days! Another hour's walk and I returned home trainless, tired but tanned.
I love Tanhua park! Such a peaceful place, and they have some of the best examples of Chinglish signs too :) Climbing up the pagoda is not that worth is though, as the view is mostly of constructions sites, abandonned buildings and so on. So see, you didn't miss much!
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Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
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