A bit of a tourist trap it may be, but Shanghai’s classical Chinese garden Yuyuan pulls in the crowds for a reason: it’s the only Ming dynasty garden in the city today and (although restored), it’s maintained its Ming style with pavilions, ponds, halls and bridges from a bygone era. Also, like a lot of old things, it’s also got a few skeletons in its closet.
Newman Tours cover the good and the bad in their new downloadable audio guide (45RMB) of the area and are donating all the money from sales in 2020 to Heart to Heart Shanghai. A locally based charity run fully by volunteers, Heart to Heart offers support for children with congenital heart defects by raising money for families who are unable to afford surgery.
Written by Newman Tour’s founder Daniel Newman, who's been leading trips around the area and beyond for almost a decade, the tour takes visitors through everything from the garden’s main attractions to the ‘truth’ about the man who spent his family fortune building it, and what happened after he died. It also dives into key moments of Chinese history along the way, teaching about the Opium Wars, the Small Sword rebellion and more.
Got a trip to Beijing coming up? Newman has also created a charity audio guide for the hutongs that share the history and stories behind the capital’s winding alleyways.
Click here to download the Yu Garden Audio Guide.