April 1, 2016

GuangZhou - China: Challenging and Thrilling Run of Yue Xiu Park (越秀公园)

The last time I visited GuangZhou was during 2013 and I took a 10 km run from the wholesale market district of Hai Zhu to the glimming modern Canton Tower. It is still one of the best foreign country run in my personal opinion and this time around, I am determined to try out a new running spot in Guangzhou... despite warnings of a haze alert (pollution) at a yellow (bad) level. Making the trip again with Bad Bear again, we came to check out the famous wholesale markets of GuangZhou and we were so tired everyday due to endless amount of walking touring the countless huge malls all around GZ. Base on my IPhone health app, we walked at least 10km each day and it takes special determination (especially for the lazy Bear) to drag our ass out for a run. I gave Bear Bear the choice of location to run since he gamely took up my challenge of running in this polluted city. He picked the biggest and most badass park in GZ.

The most famous tourist park of GZ, Yue Xiu Park (越秀公园)

The Yue Xiu Park of Guang Zhou, China is similar to the Botanical Gardens of Singapore. Full of places of interests, lakes and well maintained flora. Within the park, lies the symbol of GZ, the Five Ram Sculpture which is, as usual, perched on top of a hill which you will need to climb a long flight of steps just to get to it. 

The 5 Ram Statue
As we set off from the hotel, Bad Bear brought along a N95 mask with him, intending to keep fit while keeping out the chemical toxin of China out of his lungs.

He nearly died of suffocation after the first 100m.

You need more training to run with a filtered mask bro.. You cannot be a robber who is trying to out run the police while running with a mask on.

China's Tourism Rating has up to 5 Stars

Map of Yue Xiu Park
Yue Xiu park is huge and I tried to the best of my abilities to trace the greater loop around the park. With the exception of a long narrow flight of staircase which leads to one of the peak of the 5 hills that is part of the northern range of the park, I pretty much covered most of the lower laying areas. That is also by no means an easy task. The northern hilly range of the park sapped most of our running stamina and we have worked on conquering the up slope for at least 10 to 15 mins with no let up in the graduation. However, once that treacherous stretch has been conquered, it is down slope all the way, until you get to the eastern part of the park where most of the major highlights of the park are situated and they are mostly built on top of a knoll.
Long flight of steps
More Steps
GZ Museum.  On a Hill!

Other than the historical landmarks, the park has so many facilities that I wonder sometimes if this is more of an entertainment complex rather than a park.

There are numerous playgrounds and fitness corners where we can see the young and old showing off their strength and agility. A huge stadium, an aquarium, a couple of lakes with boat rental services for couples and families to enjoy spending time together in the middle of a pool of water, an amusement park with rides and many other facilities which I probably did not come across.

Bad Bear whom along the way, wandered off like any other cat would have done (probably taking the shorter route) reported seeing Korean gardens, Cherry Blossom parks and food kiosks.

Toilets are abundant along the way, though I cannot vouch for their cleanliness by Singaporean standards.... 
Yes Sir! You look fit!

Amusement Park
A Stadium in the middle of the park!

The park has its tranquil spots

Overall, I feel that Yue Xiu Park is not a great place to run for any serious runners. The greatest downside to this area? Too touristy. Too touristy in China means hordes of people (and tour groups) blocking your way while you attempt to part the wave of people using your sweat bullets, in return for disgusted dirty looks from the locals. However, it is a totally engrossing place to run with something new to see at every corner, turn and top of a flight of stairs. There are so many photo moments and I could only include only a few choice pieces here rather than unload the entire album and deplete the data usage of my poor readers.

So if you are looking for a decent run: Avoid

However, if you are looking to tour Yue Xiu Park in the most efficient and fastest manner, a running tour around the park will be a fantastic idea!

Oh yes, there is another shortfall to this place. There are very few good food outlet around the area as Yue Xiu Park area is known to be the bureaucratic and history hub of GZ lined with government offices and expensive hotels and cafes. Take a train out after your run for a more decent breakfast in this food paradise call Guang Zhou.


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