Jodie Frain escaped inner-city life for a well-known wild spot well within the realm of Dongguan…
Do you like to see butterflies flutter by? How about having budgies perch on your arms and nibble at your ankles? If so, Shuilianshan Forest Butterfly Home is a place for you to explore. Dongguan’s hidden gem known as Shuilianshan Forest is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of work and the commute, away from reason and responsibility, away from pressure and problems.
The vast forest encompasses a whole wealth of walking routes, greenery, sights and mystery, with a stunning lake where you can go boating in the summer. One part of the forest leads to several pavilions situated between paths that lead to a tranquil river with beautiful black swans, a picturesque vision perfect for you and your thoughts.
Moving toward the other side of the forest is where the butterflies and birds are located. For only RMB 10 entry, a whole plethora of wonder and beauty came alive in front of my very eyes. After walking through a quaint pathway of windmills, stepping inside the butterfly enclosure we were greeted with a number of elegant little members flying past our faces and leaving their enigmatic trail behind them.
The angelic creatures land on your hair, your hands, your clothes, and you can gently encourage them to cling onto your fingers if you wish to see one up close or have a photo taken with your new miniature companion.
Next to the butterflies is the wonderful home of the birds, colourful and vivacious with chirpy red, blue, green and yellow residents, automatically bringing smiles to the faces of those who step inside. Here Lee-Anne and I purchased some bird seed and before we knew it, birds were perched on our hands and arms, sat by our feet and nibbling away! Perfect for both kids and adults, it was an incredible and playful experience and one that I will definitely be returning to have again.
Freeing a turtle that was imprisoned in a tiny plastic box with an inch of water was also a highlight of the day. Little Raphael was sold to me for RMB 25, and we took him to the large lake upon exiting the butterfly sanctuary, to release him into the open water where he could swim freely. Hopefully the little guy is enjoying his freedom!
If you feel like being inspired, take a step away from your usual routine of eating at the same restaurant or drinking at the same bar, and head on over to Shuilianshan Forest. Absorb the good energy and restore your balance with nature and fresh air. Take photos, go with friends, take your children, or even go to write or paint – it’s the ideal place for bringing out creativity – or just relax and embrace the loveliness that sits so very close to us in Dongguan.
Address: Water Poon Community, Nancheng District, Dongguan 511700, China / 水濂山森林公园 [511700南城区水濂社区]
Park telephone number: +86 769 2267 8983
Buses: 25 minute bus journey from Houjie town centre on the number 5 bus (costing 2RMB)/Number 10 or 42 service from Nancheng Bus Station.
Or, click to read a TripAdvisor review added by John Acton in April 2014.
Funfair website: LeMin Park ( 东莞市南城区水濂山森林公园)