Visited on 3 Dec 2012. It is less crowded on a weekday morning. The place houses interesting shops and a great variety of merchandise. The ponds, buildings and architecture are interesting too.
But the same things sold by the shops in the streets outside the yu yuan area are definitely cheaper. Dont miss the actual garden inside the yu yuan area. Many roam outside the actual garden and got lost with the colourful cafes, shops, restautrants, sights etc.... Pay a fee to enter the garden which is a quieter area and find out more about Chinese history. I asked a security guard at one of the department stores inside the yu yuan gardens for direction to the actual garden and he replied there's no actual garden !!! Luckily I had done my homework earlier and asked the guard at entrance no 7. He was knowledgeable and directed me to the right corner.
The Nanxiang dumplings in Yuyuan Gardens are over rated. The dumpling skin's too thick . Tasted better ones in other parts of Shanghai. Definitely much better ! Better to try other dishes in the restaurant. The staff at the Nanxiang restaurant are also very rude and unprofessional. I will not visit the restaurant a second time.
Be careful of the shops especially those selling Chinese sweets and wu xiang dou （五香豆）... example when you are deciding whether to buy the product, suddenly someone comes in beside you and buy enthusiastically, telling the sales girl he has been searching for this for a long time, giving you the impression itz a good bargain when its not .... he is employed by the shop. Found out this during my visit there. Learnt a lesson from here.
Overall, this place is good to go for a first time visit to Shanghai.
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