The International Student Centre organised a trip for the language program students to visit this botanical garden in Harbin. The gardens cost only 15RMB to enter and contained some surprisingly good flower displays. As with the Sun Island Park, there are also some great grass areas to sit with a picnic and it makes a great break from the rather grey monotony of the city, although the botanical garden was considerably less crowded.
Within the park, there are plenty of beautiful flower displays and monuments to admire, and we also spent some time walking around the ponds and trails. There were a few slightly tacky things such as a rather strange castle structure (apparently for wedding photographs) and the usual bikes for rent, but other than these it was actually a rather lovely park to hang out with friends.
One slightly odd sight we did come across a few times was several people picking the beautiful flowers and stuffing them into their pockets/ handbags – this is presumably where the cactus I bought off a street seller for my room came from!!! It did look slightly as if the approach to managing the botanical garden was to plant the flowers then not bother quite so much about maintaining the gardens afterwards or preventing people from trampling all over the displays, which was a bit of a shame – although it is autumn now so I guess the main show is over anyway.
Overall, not a bad school trip and a nice break from studying!