The delicate jingle-jangle sounds of small bells ringing in the air harkens back to the days of a Shanghai Bund depicted in television historical dramas. But as your eyes open, you discover it’s not the past you’ve been standing in, but rather a present-day Huai’an in the middle of what is arguably the city’s finest outdoor setting, the Liyun River Park.
Beside the park, visitors can ride in a tramcar that runs alongside the Liyun River (its Chinese name “里运河” means “Inner Great Canal” literally), a sight similar to Shanghai’s Huangpu River.
The Liyun River Park was established in 2012 and is a narrow stretch of land that runs into the river. One has to remind themselves that they’re actually in a park.
There’s a sculpture on display and a small plaza complete with a lawn ideal for small children who enjoy running on grass. Wooden benches and pavilions are available for those who have food and desire a place to enjoy a meal with friends and family. Maidenhair trees, willows, and a wooden trestle run along the riverbank’s edge.
Elderly men and women with fishing poles sit on the alongside the river watching boats sail pass on the jade-colored water.
Liyun River Park is one of 75 outdoor areas available for those who like to spend the day outdoors. The park came to fruition with a 1.65 billion yuan investment that was part of Huai’an’s beautification initiative launched in 2010.
The park and river function as an open area for small wildlife and freshwater aquatic species to take advantage of the healthy environment. Even shrimp enjoy the sanctuary of the shallow trestle area. Small net fishing is permitted, and cyclists can leave their bikes secured at the park.
More importantly, these open-air freedoms have not invited chaos, except the small electro-mobiles occasionally riding on the trestle, rather than the street.
Cleanliness is not only an attribute, but also a priority at Liyun River Park. Everyday sanitation workers remove waste and old water weeds along the riverbank. And unlike the other public parks in Huai’an with amusement facilities, Liyun remains a quiet destination.