Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Chasing the sun: Kunming's Daguan Park 大观公园


Recommended Posts

December is here and a bright sunny day is a gift not to be wasted. Rode out a couple days ago to Kunming's Daguan Park 大观公园, which is built on a branch of Lake Dian 滇池 in the west edge of the city. This park is famed for a long rhyming couplet engraved on the doorposts of a three-story pavilion where the Kangxi Emperor 康熙 used to visit to enjoy the "grand view" 大观 of West Hills 西山 mountains as seen over the water. 


The poem is still there, but most visitors today find it underwhelming. Instead the main draw is the willows, the lotus flowers in season, and the blue water. It's a traditional gathering place for men of letters and is supposed to be good place to compose a poem. Being there put me in a pensive frame of mind.





The main buildings were erected in the 1600's, but most were partially destroyed and rebuilt in the 1800's. Currently the main seasonal draw is the Siberian seagulls which migrate here to spend most of the winter. They aren't exactly tame, but you can feed them pieces of stale bread if you're bold. You can also chase them and laugh if you're six years old.





I found a cluster of elderly men playing Chinese chess 象棋 xiang qi. In China, chess is a group sport, with very active participation by kibitzers. I met a family  blowing soap bubbles for their child in the shadow of one of the pavilions.





I followed the sound of instrumental music and discovered some people playing at the edge of the water. The sound seemed to attract seagulls, which perched on the roof for a while.




I walked in a leisurely loop for a couple hours, with two stops along the way to read my book. Pretty sure the park is now being promoted by the tourism authorities.  Didn't find any significant crowds, though I did see one tour group being led by a guide. Also saw preparations in progress for some kind of a trade show set to take place in a few days.






An amusement park is connected at one end of the park. I've visited that before with friends to ride the Ferris Wheel, but this time I was solo and gave it a miss. This park has had more economic development than some, and now even sports a brand new McDonalds's, which looked like it would be opening soon. I exited to find a bus loading a couple dozen orderly Korean tourists.





This park is less obscure and hidden away than some I visit, but is still a good place to enjoy the winter sun. Admission was 26 Yuan. In February they usually have a colorful display of tulips. In summer the star performer is lotus; in October it's chrysanthemum season. I took local bus number 100 back to the 梁家河车场 stop on line 3 of the metro, ready to return to my labors.


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Used to go there for walks years ago and sometimes indulge in a 10 kuai boat ride. McDonalds!? I believe back then there were just costumed 白族 women outside peddling 大理凉粉 or some such :) A really nice park and I think admission was free or just 2 kuai back then, maybe had to pay a bit more to go in the tower.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Xiao Kui -- They still have the boats for hire, but I don't know the cost. The maintenance and improvements have come at a price. When I first visited in 2007 I think admission was 5 or 10 kuai. Quite a few of the structures have been recently painted and the landscaping is first rate. 





Walkways are now all wide, clean and "improved." Railings are intact and pagoda roofs are not missing any tiles. Wasn't always this way, as far as I can recall. 






  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes I remember the park. And the rhyming couplet. The tour guide was duly surprised that I could recite it from memory lol.

And it's a good place to watch seagulls. These creatures make the grand lake (locally called 海子 I believe) look even more grandiose.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Publius said:

The tour guide was duly surprised that I could recite it from memory lol


Well, I would hope so! I'm impressed too! How did you happen to memorize it? Over 120 characters, wasn't it? Long piece of work.


You remembered right -- big lakes, and even medium sized ones, get called "sea" 海子 here in Yunnan.


I got a big kick out of watching this child study the seagulls carefully several minutes, then stalk them like a cat. Finally he laughed and charged wide open, swinging his arms.





  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I was younger. My brain cells hadn't been whittled away by 歲月的飛刀 yet. I was quite into these kind of things back in high school -- couplets, poems. 大觀樓長聯 claims to be the longest in China. I couldn't resist.


That kid looks so adorable by the way :)


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...