For a long time, there was no bridge or road across the lake. Locals had to take a ferry or long-distance bus to travel between the two places. Now, it's easy to reach the other side by this footbridge and explore the different cultures on both sides.
Around the lake, it's pretty well-manicured with lots of different ecological areas, gardens and wetlands, with a continuous walkway along the lake. Now there is a 3.1-kilometer waterfront walkway open to the public, and it'll eventually encircle the whole lake in the near future.
Clear water for sailing, fine landscaping, vibrant flowers, chattering birds and tons of green spaces to lie down in, maybe it's one of the best natural wetlands in the city for a weekend escape.
Need a place for a rest? The Yuandang Xiaoguan is located on the Wujiang side of the bridge.
As the tourist center for the lake, it includes an exhibition hall displaying the history of this area, a restaurant and a coffee shop with beautiful lake views.
The highlight in the exhibition hall is an immersive experience to get into the past of Yuandang Lake by "stepping" into a wooden boat on the 3D screen, showing the history of the lake.
Do not miss the pond in front of Yuandang Xiaoguan – a row of stakes stand in it. They are the historic boundary markers between Shanghai and Jiangsu.
Yuandang Lake is on the city's western edge, the boundary of Shanghai and Jiangsu. It used to be part of the adjacent Dianshan Lake, but has become a separate waterway due to silt.
The name of the lake comes from its shape – which looks like a yuan, a giant turtle in ancient Chinese myths and legends.
Three-quarters of the lake belongs to Wujiang District of Suzhou in Jiangsu, the other quarter is in Qingpu District of Shanghai. It's a magical place to explore the views and culture of both.
Looking for a weekend destination to enjoy views of both Shanghai and Jiangsu Province? Here's a new choice: a lake covering both regions, with 23 kilometers of green shorelines, and a unique pedestrian bridge cross it to connect the two areas.
One hot attraction on the lake is the 586-meter Yuandang Pedestrian Bridge connecting Shanghai and Jiangsu. The shape of the bridge resembles a ribbon and echoes the water ripples.
In addition to its unique location, the bridge itself has plenty to explore.
A quarter of the way from the Shanghai side, large letters on the bridge floor spell out "Welcome to Shanghai" and "Welcome to Jiangsu."
The connecting line between the two Os of the word "to" is the boundary between Shanghai and Jiangsu. It's magic to step from Shanghai to Jiangsu in just one second.
In the middle of the bridge, you'll find a pavilion. It looks like an artificial hill, but is built of porous steel walls. Inspired by the Taihu Lake stone, the pavilion features the contemporary mathematics modeling used to create the porous wall that is both sculpture and playground.
It's fun to get into the pavilion to explore the porous world inside. You can crawl around, just like in a playground, or take pictures.
Moreover, trees, flowers and reeds grow out of the 586-meter structure over Yuandang Lake, providing pedestrians with plenty of shade. It's a nice place to cool off from the intense summer heat.
If you go:
To get there, drive to the Aowang Yingdi in Shanghai's Qingpu, or Yuandang Xiaoguan (Wujiang District in Suzhou).
Visitors can take the Bus Qingjin Line at the Oriental Land Station of Metro Line 17 to the lake.