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Commonly known as “People’s Park” this lively open green space in southwest Chengdu is full of exactly that: people playing cards, people doing tai chi, people dancing and people squawking karaoke into microphones. Simply put, People’s Park is a people watcher’s dream.

Famous for its popular teahouse where locals will often linger all day, the park also boasts a long lakeshore where visitors can hire a pedal boat to observe the action from a different vantage point. Open from dawn to the wee hours of the morning, the admission is free and the atmosphere is unique. On one visit you may be swept up by the energy of an impromptu dance session whereas on a separate day you could be sitting in bamboo chair drinking tea and be offered to have your ears cleaned by an elderly ear-cleaning vendor.

The bonsai garden is where you’ll find most of the children playing in the park, most likely smitten with trees their own size. Much larger in size is Martyr’s Monument, a large structure which pays homage to the rail workers who led an opposition in 1911 which led to the eventual fall of the Qing Dynasty. On a measurably lighter note, those needing a break from the dancing and music can head to the main performance hall on weekend evenings to catch a spirited weekly shadow-puppet show, just another one of the curious and enjoyable activities to be found in Renmin Park.

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